I am looking for an exceptionally good quince cultivar.
I am on the East coast.
Does anyone have any suggestions?
OneGreenWorld has most of the Russian ones you can at least eat fresh (first 5 on this page): http://www.onegreenworld.com//index.php?cPath=1_56
RainTree has a few quinces too and they adding more varieties it seems this year (didn't see Sekergevrek Quince or Limon last week). Aromatnaya they claim is more disease resistant.
Just remember in humid East coast, it prob will get disease on a branch sooner or later. Quince Rust, and FireBlight.
I had horrible problems with quince rust and fireblight, three varieties and none worked out. Under a commercial spray program they would do OK but they are no low-care fruit in the mid-Atlantic.
just curious... which varieties did you try? TreesofJoy (Bass) in Bethlehem, PA gets fruit off his and he told me in some emails this info btw:
"I like my Aromatnaya quince... it makes both delicious and very large fruits. It gets diseases specially when it rains a lot in summer. A couple applications of spray usually keeps it under control...
I usually spray a dormant spray in winter and then again a couple times during the growing season. but this year I haven't got a chance to spray anything."
P.S. out of the 5 varieties I am trying out, Aromatnaya was first to get disease so far ... it got Rust this summer on 2 branches so I cut them off and burned them. (usu Quinces I think you read you want to prune in winter as to not leave open wounds for diseases in summer, but had to for getting rid of rust). Hoping next year they fruit.
I grew Smyrna, Pineapple, Aromatnaya, and Karp's. Aromatnaya quickly died of fireblight. Pineapple did the best by far, Smyrna was more disease-prone and the fruits were smaller. Karp's got knots all over the wood that was some expression of quince rust.
Once you get rust if you are growing organically it is hard to get rid of. It soon is covering the whole tree. I expect Bass was using synthetic sprays.
This doesn't sound promising, overall.
However, I have a neighbor with a gorgeous tree, fruiting beautifully without signs of problems (and he doesn't spray).
The funny thing is that he didn't even know it was a quince until it started to bear, and he has no idea where he bought the tree.
I guess it's time to graft.
My experience with Aromatnaya here in Maryland is the same as Scott's: it is a total disease magnet.
What do a lot better in this humid part of the country are the oriental quinces. These belong to a different genus (chaenomeles) than the European quinces (cydonia). Mine get occasional fireblight strikes but shrug them off. The fruit, which is smaller than a Euro quince, can be used in a similar way and is very fragrant.
Is it possible the tree the original poster mentioned was a large oriental quince bush?
I know next to nothing about quince but I do know that Vintage Virginia Apples has them:
Here is a link that might be useful: Quince Varieties
I love your user name.
My experience matches Scott's in that Pineapple seems to be the most disease resistant.
I have been growing Crimea quince, available from GRIN NCGR in Corvallis, OR as Krimskaya Crimea, as opposed to Krimskaya Aromatnaya. I know, it's confusing.
Crimea gets rust here, but I get rid of the rust with fungal compost tea. It is a very delicious, extremely productive tree. The compost tea cures the tree each time. I do it twice a year, late June and September.
One Green World has a few varieties. I just grafted "Kaunching" which is another fresh eating variety. Others are Aromatnaya and Kuganskaya. It and I are in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, which is much less humid and rainy in the summer than the East Coast. I think our rainy springs are rougher on the quince than your springs, but your summers would be rougher on them than our dry ones.
I am completely organic. Without the fungal compost tea, growing quinces would be rough out here. I highly recommend aggressively pruning quince trees during very dry weather.