Should they stay or should they go?

JillPJuly 27, 2004

Quince Trees. 2 of them. Lovely in the spring when flowering. Old, so nicely twisted multi-stemed trunk looks great. Provides shade for a perrenial bed, privacy from neighbors. mid July the quince blight has hit big time. By mid August they are totally devoid of leaves. I have an old fruit book (1910) that says quince blight won't kill them, just looks bad. Because there are plants underneath, very hard to pick up the diseased leaves. Nobody wants the quinces. I made quince butter one year. I was the only one that would eat it. I do not want to spray it to control the blight because it has to be done fairly often, they are too big for me to do, too expensive to hire someone, and I try to garden organically. So should I take them out and plant something else? But then there is the uniquenss, at least in my area. Nobody else around has them, they are original to the house (built in '22), I just feel obligated to keep them. Oh yeah, they sucker like crazy. Geeze, just writing it all down makes me feel that they have to go. So, would you keep them or remove them? and if you did remove them, what trere would you reccommend I replace them with? Looking at small ornimental trees, or even larger shrubs. I am open to all suggestions. There is a Douglas fir to the west, Blue Boy and girl holly and japanese maple to east, privat hedge to the north, and lawn to the south. Under plantings are variety of common shade loving perrenials (l-of-v, hostas, etc.).

I was going to post this on trees, but thought I would get a better response here. I am leaning toward large tree like lilacs, but not the tree lilac, different animal. These quinces are along the privit hedge that I am afraid new neighbors are going to remove, so I am thinking about creating a mixed shrub border.

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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

I didn't know quinces could be TREES--mine are just BUSHES. Live an learn...


    Bookmark   July 27, 2004 at 8:47PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

Remove the quinces as you are not enjoying them and replace with a newer variety that is disease resistant(there are several). Add one of the new quince varieties to your mixed shrub border, thereby keeping the unusal plant and a bit of your home's hx intact.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 8:59PM
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oh, thanks, Ginger~ I didn't know they had any new varieties of Quince. I will look into that.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2004 at 4:58PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

They won't come out of the ground very easy. I'd get rid of them though, no matter what it takes. I have removed some with a backhoe and some others with a bulldozer on yard make-overs. They put up quite a fight! I doubt a chain hooked up to a pickup will work unless you do a lot of digging first. I'm not kidding. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2004 at 2:12AM
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Botan you are kidding! They are that tough to remove? I was going to bow saw them by hand down to about 4' then have dh chain saw them off at ground level. None of the multi stems are that big around. I know I will be fighting suckers probably forever. I planned on painting them with brush begone. It would be impossible to get a backhoe or a pickup anywhere near them. I see I have my work cut out for me. I will wait until I am really frustrated by job or family and then go out and attack the quinces to releave the stress.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2004 at 2:19PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

We removed a twenty-some year old quince last fall. We used a hatchet, pruning saw, shovels, and our backs. Had it out in no time. The owner had suggested my pick-up and chain. I researched GW re this idea and decided against it; told her if it did not come out easily I would find someone with a little tractor to pull it out. Luckily, we didn't have to go that route. Didn't need a stump grinder either and no shoots this spring. Maybe you will have as easy a time as we did. Or maybe not!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2004 at 6:03PM
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Well, now I jsut found out the quinces are one of Luther Burbank's. Van Damen. I have a partiality for Burbank from the time we studdied all these great American inventers. I don't think he is talked about at all anymore. He was right up their with Booker T. Washington and Washington Carver and Eli Whitney in my gradeschool days. He did take his plant breeding theories a little too far when he started applying it to people. (I read his autobiography.) But now I feel I should keep Burbank's Quinces, no matter what.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2004 at 1:18PM
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Jill, I admire gnarly old a sense of age and history to a garden not easily replaced, so I think you'll be glad you've decided to keep them. I wonder if a Clematis growing up through the branches may help relieve the leafless look, plus help preserve your privacy. You could research pruning needs and bloom time so it would be compatible with the Quince, maybe one that bloomed late and you might prefer the smaller species blooms to the hybrids. Just a thought. Josh

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 10:34AM
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Josh, I have a clematis trying to struggle through the branches. This is the first year it has grown any because the center trunk of the quince died and I had to take it out, so it finally got enough light. I do think I will take out one of the quinces as the douglas fir has quadrupled in sice our last two wet cool summers and is crowding it. Stay tuned for the never ending angst of the quince. I fret so anytime I have to take out any plant.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 10:42AM
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larry_c(z6 Stl. Mo.)


I (had) an apple tree out back. I planted it 15 years ago. Same kind of problems. Cedar Apple rust killed the leafs evey year. The leafs grow brown spots and drop all summer. Apples drop all summer.

It set about 300 apples this year. In spite of my efforts the squirrels got about 200 of them, birds and bugs got the rest. I hated to cut it down. But I did, 2 weeks ago, and I am so happy to have the space back and the mess gone.

Crazy Larry

    Bookmark   September 11, 2004 at 7:53PM
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They are partially gone. I reduced the one to 3 trunks, and the other to 2. They seemed to be getting the same crud an old apple succumbed to: The branches looked like someone held a blow torch to them. All black and burnt looking. This made it much easier to clean this bed out and spread with compost. I like the open look. I will see if they still get the quince leaf blight next year with more air.

If they do, next summer they are coming out completely. I am leaning toward paper bark maple, amelencher, or lilac.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2004 at 12:44PM
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