Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 23 >> Puvis De Chavannes to Radium Therapy >> Quince


fruits, soil, pear, tree and apple

QUINCE, a shrub or small tree (Cydonia saris) of the rose family; a native of central and eastern Asia, where it was cultivated more than 2,000 years ago and whence it has been introduecd into all cool temperate countries of the civilized world. It is a close relative of the apple and pear, with which trees some botanists it, but from which it is distinguished by having its flowers solitary upon the ends of twigs of the present season's growth. The pop ularity of the quince is limited because it is inedible in the fresh state, but it is highly prized for making preserves, jellies, etc., and as a flavoring for mixing with other fruits.

The plant is propagated mainly by stool layering, the rooted layers being grown in nur sery rows usually two years after their removal from the parent bush. They are then planted from 10 to 15 or more feet apart, the distance depending upon the soil. On light soils the shrubs make rapid growth but are shorter lived and less productive than upon heavy. They should commence to bear when about three years old and reach full bearing when 10. Con trary to popular opinion the quince will do best when cultivated, but the stirring of the soil must not be deep because the feeding roots are rather close to the surface, especially if the soil be very moist. To obviate this danger, growers often set the plants rather deeply and for the first few years work the soil away from them so as to induce deep rooting. They always use shallow rooting cover crops. It is another popular misconception that the plants do best in unchained soil. The best orchards of western New York, where the quince is an important crop, are upon well-drained land.

The tree seldom grows more than 15 feet tall. It should be trained in bush form; that is, with several stems, though some growers prefer the tree form with only one stem. The latter seems more likely to be injured by borers. Be yond the removal of interfering, dead or un necessary limbs the pruning consists of Mead ing-ie the twigs, a process which reduces the number of fruits. Being fairly hardy and a rather late bloomer the quince is a very regular annual bearer, but unless the tops be kept open and the quantity of fruits reduced the specimens will be inferior. Though the fruits ripen late and when gathered are generally very hard they should be handled very carefully and not be allowed to freeze. Except as indicated the man agement of a quince orchard is much the same as for pear orchard.

Among the insects which feed upon the quince are several borers, scale insects, cater pillars, plant-lice, etc., which are found on other fruit trees, especially apples and pears. These may be controlled in the same way. (See APPLE; PEAR; INSECTICIDE.) The quince curculio (Conotrachelus cratrgi), a broad-shouldered snout-beetle of American nativity, lays its eggs in the fruit in early summer. It may be con trolled like its relative the plum curculio. (See PLUM). Several so-called plant diseases com mon to the pear and apple are sometimes re ported upon the quince. They have been com bated in the same way as on the other fruits. Consult Bailey, 'Cyclopedia of American Horti culture' (New York 1900-02) ; Meech, 'Quince Culture' (New York 1896).