QUINCE – Various shrubs grown for fruit or ornament or both. The common quince (Cydonia oblonga, but formerly in-cluded with apples and pears as Pyrus cyclonic’) is a wide-spreading shrub or small crooked tree of slow growth. It thrives best in deep, heavy, moist, not over-rich soil, where, however, the fruit produced is dull greenish-yellow instead of the rich golden-yellow characteristic of lighter soils.
For home use one or two specimens should yield an ample supply, for a mature bush should bear 2 to 4 pecks of fruit annually. Because of the beauty of the flowers and of the ripe fruit, too, quinces deserve a place as ornamental subjects, provided a circular space 15 ft. or more in diameter is allowed for each plant.
As they are shallow rooted plants they do better under mulch than if the soil is cultivated. So treated, they are also less liable to fire blight because the growths are less sappy and therefore more resistant to attack. The aim should always be moderate, not luxuriant, growth and this may be gained partly by the sparing use of nitrogenous fertilizers and manures and liberal dressings of potash and phosphoric acid.
As the quince blossoms rather late in spring and bears its flowers on green shoots of the current season, it is a regular, annual cropper. However, it is prone to set more fruit than it can develop to full size, so all defective and crowded ones (and often others) should be removed while small. This is easily done a week or two after the flowers fade while the stems are still soft enough to permit pinching them off.
One-year or two-year bushes are better to plant than older ones. They can then be trained in either tree or bush form. The advantage of the tree form is that in it borers are more easily controlled; that of the bush form is that fire blight can more easily be kept in check and new stems can be induced and encouraged when necessary. See control of these and other quince enemies under APPLE.
Pruning consists merely of removing dead, dying and superfluous branches while the plants are dormant.
ENEMIES – Fire blight is a common disease of both common and flowering quinces. Infected wood must be removed with great care. The quince rust has juniper as its alternate host. It produces deep orange spores in white cluster cups on the backs of the leaves and on the fruit. A leaf and fruit blight common on pear may seriously injure quince trees and the black rot of apple may occur.
Until the advent of the Oriental fruit moth the quince curculio was the most destructive pest of this tree. These small gray snout beetles appear in midsummer and the flesh-colored grubs tunnel through the fruit. Two thorough applications of arsenate of lead, when the beetles appear and begin to lay eggs, give some control. Several aphids, the codling moth and the San Jose scale commonly infest quince. See control measures under those subjects.
The Flowering or Japanese Quince (Chaenomeles lagenaria, but often listed in catalogs as Chaenomeles japonica) has long been a favorite ornamental in home gardens because of its pink to scarlet flowers. These, appearing before the leaves or with the earlier ones, suggest one of its popular names, Burning-bush, though this properly belongs to species of Euonymus (which see). The Flowering Quince sometimes attains a height of 10 ft. and a spread of 20 ft. The hard, greenish-yellow, highly fragrant fruit is often placed in bureaus and chests to perfume bedding and cloth-ing. It is not palatable raw but is some-times used to make jelly. Nurseries offer several varieties which differ mainly in the colors of their flowers, which range from white through blush, pink and also double forms.
The Dwarf Japanese Quince (Chaenomeles japonica) grows only 3 ft. high and bears orange-scarlet flowers. It has a prostrate variety (var. alpina, or Chaenomeles sargenti) which is useful for planting on slopes.
The Chinese Quince (Chaenomeles sinensis), a large shrub or small tree to 20 ft. high, bears light pink flowers in spring and yellow, woody, fragrant fruits often 7 in. long in autumn. Though hardy along the Atlantic Coast to Long Island, N. Y., it is tender inland North of Philadelphia.