Quince - a beautiful tree, tasty and healthy fruits
It is very interesting for me to analyze how the tastes and addictions of people to certain foods have changed over the centuries. What was once considered tasty and was a commodity of trade lost its value over time and, conversely, new fruit crops conquered their markets. Quince has been cultivated for more than 4 thousand years! And even in the 1st century BC e. about 6 varieties of quince were known and even then methods of its propagation and cultivation were described.
Why do I grow quince
Why do I love quince? For an interesting silhouette with proper molding. For beautiful flowers - large, with a delicate pink tinge (they remind me a little of another “southerner” - magnolia).
Quince flowers in our conditions bloom at the end of May on the shoots of this year, therefore they do not suffer from spring frosts, which guarantees good harvests.
And, of course, I love quince for the peculiar, incomparable fruits - round, oval, like apples or pears. They have a strong and pleasant smell, so they are often added to meat dishes, boil amazing jam (during cooking, all wasps are yours), make jelly and stewed fruit. It’s very tasty to put a slice of quince in freshly brewed tea or ....
But enough lyrics, let's get to know more closely with this plant and its fruits.
What conditions are necessary for quince for growth and fruiting?
It is believed that quince came to us from the Caucasus, from Central, Central and Asia Minor. And although quince is considered a heat-loving plant, it can be successfully grown in many regions. If you have doubts about whether the quince will take root in your area, look around, if the "southern" apricot or peach also grow here, then the quince will grow.
At home, quince grows to 8 meters. In the more northern regions, this is a small tree 3-5 meters high with a beautiful crown. Quince has a shallow root system, it is both a plus and a minus at the same time. On the one hand, this allows it to be grown in places with high standing groundwater, but on the other hand, an unprotected, shallow root system can suffer from severe frosts.
The most interesting thing is that quince, despite its shallowly located roots, does not suffer from drought at all, although it loves watering. Also loves quince and sunshine. These factors should be taken into account when planting quince seedlings in their area. The place should be warm, protected from cold winds and at the same time open to the sun.
But the composition of the soil for growing quince is not important, it will grow on almost anyone. But there is one important nuance. Quince will be able to grow in the worst conditions and even give some kind of no crop, but it will not live long. She is already not a long-liver, a maximum of 60 years, but in poor conditions, in the "backyard" of the garden - even less. So, if you want to admire this tree, if you want to get a large and tasty crop, do not regret for the quince a good place in the garden and good care.
What care does quince need in the garden?
And care consists in the correct watering, top dressing and pruning. Quince, as I said, the culture is drought tolerant, but to get high-quality fruits, it needs to be watered. During the growing season, it costs about six times (in arid regions - more). Frequent, but not plentiful watering will only make it worse.
The already shallow (in young trees, the depth of the root system is 50-80 cm, in adults - up to 1 m), the root system will not develop well down and remain in the upper wetted soil layer, and therefore will be vulnerable. When watering, it is necessary to wet the ground to the full depth of the root system. Therefore, they rarely water it, but abundantly.
About feeding is not worth a long story. Here everything, like ordinary fruit, is the same apple trees. With timely and correctly selected fertilizer, the crop will be good. Someone prefer organics, someone mineral fertilizers, you choose.
During the first years after planting, quince must be properly formed. For this, all branches left as skeletal branches in early spring are shortened by 1/3. If the crop is cut harder, this can cause too much growth of new shoots and, as a result, thickening of the crown, then it will be difficult to correct it later.
In summer, it is possible to pinch and break out individual branches to carry out additional molding. At the end of summer, too actively growing shoots should be nipped so that they stop growing and have time to mature and prepare for winter.
Quince is formed easily. Do you know why? The annual plentiful harvest of heavy fruits bends the branches and translates them horizontally. And, as you know, the more horizontally a branch is located, the slower it grows. This is how the tree supports itself in an optimal form.
True, sometimes he should help. Remove excess, damaged and, most importantly, substitute supports, because from a large number of heavy fruits, branches can break.
Perhaps it is worth carrying out with quince and another important operation. The problem can happen in the northern regions at the end of winter – beginning of spring, when night frost is replaced by already bright sun during the day. Quince has a dark gray bark and, accordingly, is very heated by the rays of the sun. Daily fluctuations in the temperature of the crust can be 20 degrees, and this will inevitably lead to the appearance of wounds - frost holes.
The only thing we can do for gardeners is to reduce the daily heating of the bark. For this, all methods are good: timely whitewashing, wrapping with garden bandages or installing shading shields.
At my site I did not encounter any diseases or pests of quince, except for the codling moth. This pest is able to destroy the entire crop. But if you spray with a suitable insecticide in early summer, you can get rid of this problem.
Quince planting rules
I will not write much about the planting process of the purchased seedling, it is standard, as is the case for many fruit crops in our gardens. In advance, at least a month before planting, we dig a hole 60X60X60 cm and fill it with fertile and loose soil.
If the soil in your garden is poor, then we add the necessary components: peat or sand, as a baking powder, compost, humus, vermicompost - for fertility. When the earth settles in the pit, the seedling is planted without deepening the root neck, it should be at ground level. Naturally, immediately abundantly watered to ensure tight contact of the earth and roots, and mulch.
A special case is autumn planting in regions with frosty winters. Then the vaccination site should be covered for the winter with a mound of land.
About the fruiting and fruits of quince
Usually grafted quince seedlings are fruiting in 2-3 years. And then they quickly increase the yield. I repeat, there are many fruits, they are large and heavy. A thin tree can still not stand it. In the best case, it bends, and in the worst, it breaks. Help him with props.
These most fragrant and picturesque fruits appear in the fall, from about September. To get the maximum taste and aroma, they should be held on a tree for as long as possible, sometimes until the New Year. But often they reach their maximum qualities by lying for a while in the basement. By the way, under the right conditions, healthy fruits are stored until spring.
Now about the benefits to our health. Quinces are useful and used as medicinal raw materials seeds, leaves and fruits themselves. Leaves are harvested young in early summer, fruits and seeds in autumn and winter. Without dwelling on specific recipes, since I am not a doctor, I will say that quince preparations have an astringent, diuretic (diuretic), antiulcer and antibacterial effect. Effective for problems with the intestines and stomach (constipation), flatulence, as well as for cough, asthma and tuberculosis.
Reproduction of quince is not difficult. You can sow seeds, but after stratification (treatment with moisture and cold). As a result, you get strong seedlings - wild game. This is an unsuitable option for harvesting. But this is a great stock for varietal quince, pear and medlar.
By the way, once the loquat was also sold with might and main, and now it is cultivated as a fruit crop in only a few countries, and, basically, it is grown as an unpretentious evergreen decorative tree.
Quince cuttings are well rooted, with the preservation of all the properties of the mother plant. You can use root offspring as rootstock.
Quince in landscape design
I have already mentioned that it’s not only for the sake of fruits that it is worth growing quince in your area. I believe quince is a great tree for landscape design. Moreover, importantly, it is small in size and ideal for small areas.
Slightly curved branches, decorated with beautiful flowers and large bright fruits, with dark green, slightly pubescent, felt leaves, are an excellent plant as a single tapeworm somewhere on the lawn.
You can plant a small group, pieces 3-4, covering the quince bottom of other tall trees. And you can arrange a whole hedge, because quince tolerates a haircut perfectly.
In addition, quince is also an excellent honey plant, and late, and from its hard wood, which is well polished, you can make small Hand Made (hand-made).
To summarize. Quince is beautiful, tasty and healthy. Three in one. Recommend!