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I have updated with some pictures that have been sitting on my phone for a long time, showing the flower and the fruit. quinceThere's a somewhat neglected and overgrown quince at my workplace which still manages to put out a few fruit. Taking cuttings is permissible (and the thing really needs some help, pruning-wise.) If I want to root cuttings from it (or otherwise propagate it) what is the best timing for taking them and method from that point forward?

Hmmm. I guess it's probably a "flowering quince" chaneomeles; though that's somewhat unclear. Definitely fits the "only conceivably useful for jam" but I don't have a fruit handy to examine - it didn't make many and the ones it did were removed by someone or something else. Smells good, tastes horribly astringent, but that seems to fit most of the "quinces." I had hopes to trying a small batch of jam from it, but I'm now leaning to trying a new bush in my own spot for that. Flower and leaves

Fruit is definitely apple sized - looks somewhat like a granny smith with a bit of red blush (but more texture/less gloss to skin) most of the time it's on there, though in some years it has actually started to yellow at the end of the season Quince Fruit and leaf

  • japanese quince or the relative of the pear, cydonia? – kevinsky Dec 18 '14 at 14:15
  • <bleeped> if I know. I can get a picture of the bush in a bit, but don't know that it will be helpful given that it's winter. Makes a somewhat apple-sized/shaped fruit. – Ecnerwal Dec 18 '14 at 14:37
  • japanese quince, more shrub like, fruit smaller than a golfball or cydonia the true quince, a tree like plant often grafted onto pear stock with an apple sized fruit – kevinsky Dec 18 '14 at 15:32
  • Also, maybe tell us where you are. Depending on ground frost etc., it might be too late for this winter. More or less, getting cuttings into the ground late Fall is advised, so that the cuttings root over winter. If you have a greenhouse though, all that goes out of the window. – Srihari Yamanoor Dec 18 '14 at 19:32
  • Whatever you do, use sterilized or otherwise disease-free soil for your cuttings. I don't know about tree cuttings, but with tomatoes, cuttings seem even more vulnerable to damping off than seedlings. If you use a smaller container to start, it should dry out faster, too, which may be advantageous for a while. Avoid having the soil surface far below the container rim, as that invites such as damping off, it seems. Diatomaceous earth on the soil surface might be helpful to help keep it dry. – Shule Dec 19 '14 at 22:59
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Inspect the branches - if there are thorns, it will be Chaenomeles rather than Cydonia oblonga,in which case, propagation isn't that easy. In theory, you can take cuttings of the previous year's growth in summer and root these in a sandy potting mix, but they often don't work out, so the next, simplest but rather longer method is layering. Peg down some shoots into the soil or into pots and wait a year or so and check for roots.

Assuming there are no thorns, you're left with Cydonia oblonga (hardwood cuttings done in winter are usually very successful) or Pseudocydonia, which you might not want to bother with at all - the quinces it produces aren't that great. The way to tell the difference is to examine the leaf edges - Cydonia leaves are entirely smooth, whilst Pseudocydonia leaves are very finely serrated. Pseudocydonia isn't terribly hardy, so if you live somewhere it gets pretty cold, it's not likely to be that particular plant.

The fruits of both Cydonia and Chaenomeles are used to make quince jelly.

  • Fairly Cold - USDA zone 4, -20F, and we've been there multiple times over the life of this bush. – Ecnerwal Dec 21 '14 at 17:16
  • Hmm. No thorns, the few leaves that are left are serrated. Yet cold-hardy...? Let me see if this plant shows up on the old maps. – Ecnerwal Dec 21 '14 at 18:17
  • @Ecnerwal - I can't see serration in the photo, and the leaves look a little long for either Chaenomeles or Pseudocydonia - can you recall what colour the flowers are? – Bamboo Dec 22 '14 at 16:10
  • Reddish. Need to use a better camera for close-ups - cell phone does not grok macro, so I got blur when I went in close, but there are fine serrations and they are attached to the bush of interest. Went back up and had a look (my first thought was that the leaves were from an intergrowing weed-bush, but they do actually seem to be leftovers from what I think is a quince) I think I'll just try it, as the fruit do seem both large and of attractive smell. – Ecnerwal Dec 22 '14 at 16:23
  • @Ecnerwal yea, think its worth trying hardwood cuttings anyway. Flowers on Cydonia are usually pale pink - its Chaenomeles that has orangey/red flowers. – Bamboo Dec 23 '14 at 20:44

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