Quince Bush Maintenance

We have these crazy beautiful bushes that I initially found to be crazy ugly.

The problem with flowering plants is that if they aren’t tended at least semi-regularly, they get a bit out of hand.

That’s what happened to these quince bushes.

When we first moved in, they were scraggly overgrown shrubbery that I intended to dig out and replace with some blueberry bushes. I’m still not completely over that idea, but when I saw the beautiful blooms on these bushes last spring, I had a change of heart.

Quince blossom, star of Bethlehem, and Iris arrangement

As I continued to watch them, I noticed they were actually fruiting! I hadn’t expected that, as I thought they were just a flowering bush, something pretty but not wholly useful like the Bradford pear trees (which I don’t really care for either)

This piqued my interest in them as productive fruit sources. I did a little research and referenced our go-to fruit book, Grow Fruit by Alan Buckingham (2010-03-01) and learned about the quince fruit, and pitfalls of the plant. After having seen improvement after each pruning, I decided to keep them. If after another year or two (because that’s how long it will take me to consistently remove diseased branches and keep the area around them maintained) they’re still not producing healthy fruit, we’ll probably dig them out and put in some blueberry bushes.

The other problem is that being where we are in the southern United States, our winters are pretty mild. As such, it’s really proven challenging to catch our fruit trees in dormancy because they never seem to fully “shut down.” The silly bushes are already budding out!

It’s not even February yet! For all I know, we could have another round of snow and ice before spring comes.

I went ahead with pruning though, in hopes that I’ll see another year of improvement in the overall health of the plants.

The babies woke from nap before I got completely finished, but I did get one bush completely pruned and thinned out. In theory, greater air circulation should prevent most of the fungal diseases to which they’re vulnerable.

I suppose we’ll see come spring!

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