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Formative Pruning a Quince tree.

The details to follow are appicable to all tree fruit, with slight modifications. Quince are covered separately below

Quince Cydonia oblonga, the tree quince are grown as an open centred or vase shaped trees, with a minimum of 0.6-1m / 2-3ft of clear trunk. If the tree is not large enough to produce a clear trunk of the desired length, allow the tree to grow for one year and then prune as if year 1. Quince may also be grown against a south facing wall and trained as a fan; this is particularly useful in colder areas, as the wall offers the tree some protection from the weather. Once the framework has been established it is important prune regularly otherwise the centre will become congested and choked with excessive growth. Pruning sounds drastic, in fact it is of benefit to the tree, so do not avoid doing it.

Winter Pruning, Year 1.

Winter pruning is generally conducted between January and the end of February, whilst the tree is dormant.
First, identify where the graft is on the tree. Do not cut below the graft otherwise you will be growing rootstock rather than the variety you have purchased.
Cut the main central stem approx 30cm /1ft above the desired trunk height. Any side branches that are growing in the area which should be clear trunk should be cut off flush to the central stem.

Winter Pruning, Year 2.

The effect of cutting the central stem last winter was to cause the tree to produce side branches during the summer. If the central stem has produced a vertical shoot, cut it back to a side branch. Side branches should be pruned by one third, to an outward facing bud. Again, side branches that are growing in the area which should be clear trunk should be cut off flush to the central stem.

Winter Pruning, Year 3.

Follow general pruning advice of removing any branches that cross. Any branches growing downwards should be removed. You should now have the basic framework of your tree. Fruit spurs are likely to have formed. Be patient, only allow one fruit to develop, whilst the tree may try to produce more, allowing it to do so will reduce future crops.

Winter Pruning in following years.

The tree may start to become congested. Any vertical shoots growing in the heart of the tree should be pruned to three buds. If the fruiting spurs are congested thin them out, removing older spurs, giving a spacing of around 15cm /6 inches. The tips of the branches should be tip pruned, that is to say just remove a few inches form the ends to promote branching and formation of fruiting spurs.