Once you’ve picked all your fruit from your quince trees, it’s time to think about the health of your tree. After about four years of growth onwards, it’s only really necessary to lightly prune your quince, which you can do now. These fabulously fragrant heirloom fruit trees usually stay as medium-sized trees, sometimes grown on dwarfing rootstock to keep them more compact. However, they can put on lots of vigorous top growth during the season if they’re happy and settled and the weather’s good.
For good fruiting, thin out the canopy a little to allow for extra light and air to circulate among the fruiting branches. Crossing, damaged, weak and vigorous top growth can all be trimmed back so that the branch framework is neat and open. Plus extraneous branches that aren’t needed like suckers and trunk growth can be rubbed off – they only divert energy away from the business end of the tree.
If you’re planning on planting a new quince tree, buy from a good quality supplier such as specialist fruit bush and tree grower Keepers Nursery in Kent. They offer 15 varieties of quince, but they recommend a select few such as ‘Meeches Prolific’, a very reliable cropper, and Iranian ‘Isfahan’, a tree with very sweet fruit that can actually be eaten uncooked – the pineapple flavour and rich flesh is a real treat. Visit www.keepers-nursery.co.uk or call 01622 326465 for more details.