Sunday, 15 December 2013

i had a little quince tree, nothing would it bear..

In between all the Christmassy stuff this week, a quince tree that I had ordered turned up. There is already a mature quince in the orchard, but it hardly ever bears any fruit. I looked at it in blossom this year and there was plenty of flower, but the rest of the pears had long finished doing their thing. If you look in the books, quince are supposed to be self fertile, but everybody needs a friend, right?

The tree that I had ordered was bare root, which is by far the cheapest way to buy trees. They are available here between November and March - as the trees slumber gently, they are lifted from the ground, root-washed and posted off to their new homes. They are light as feathers compared to container grown trees so the postage is cheap too.

They're just a little bit more challenging to plant if you're not used to them, and they don't like to hang around. You've either got to plant them straight away, or give them a temporary home in a pot if the ground is frozen or waterlogged. But as it's been mild and dry here for the last couple of weeks, I decided to summon up our two trainees for a quick lesson in bare root fruit planting.

It's important to plant the tree at the same level as it was in the field 
- the soil mark is visible just below the graft union.

We staked it and tied it and mulched it

and pruned the leader back to a nice healthy looking bud 
(in case the tip of the shoot had been damaged in transit).

Then we wrote down what we had planted so we don't forget!

Now all it has to do is grow...


  1. I wish you the best of luck with the quince - and I hope that the old tree perks up now it has a friend! xx

  2. This looks like it is going to be a fantastic tree!!! What a wonderful way to save money on ordering trees for your garden. I have never tried this method but am tempted after reading your post. And I thought it was interesting that you cut back the leader. I wish you lived near and could help me with my odd shaped forest pansy red is in need of something and I haven't quite figured it out yet. All the best this week!!!

    1. Those 'Forest Pansy' redbuds are always a bit of a funny shape. I planted one in my parents' garden - they're so pretty though. Maybe you should post a picture of yours in all its wonky glory and we can all vote on which bits to cut off! ;-) x

  3. Do you know, I have never eaten a quince. They sound wonderfully medieval, I think. Good luck with the new tree, hope it grows well. xxx

    1. I've only ever had that Spanish quince paste with cheese, but apparently they're nice stewed with apple. There is also a 17th Century cooking pear in that orchard - so this could be the year I get my head round using the challengingly rock hard ( long storing) fruits favoured by our ancestors. Nigel Slater would be proud - he very much favours a poached quince!