Chinese Quince update

I bought this tree on eBay in 2006, and it is spent some time in the ground, had a few chops, and a few different fronts. But it is finally started to settle into its shape, and I decided to put it in our club’s annual show this year.

I have been bored with some of the trees lately, and less than inspired, so I thought it would be good to try to put a tree or two in the show that have never been shown before. A couple reasons, first, it adds some variety to the show. Second, it pushes me to advance different trees to a higher level. This year, the quince and the Stewartia will be making their debut appearances in a show.

I had already pruned it back a month ago, and sprayed it heavily several times with Mancozeb to stave off the rust. So far, knock on wood, it hasn’t been a problem this year.

The challenge is to balance the foliage so the viewer can see into the tree a little…appreciate the branching structure and exfoliating bark. But not so much that it looks plucked.

I started in the middle of the tree on the front and just started removing large leaves, and those growing downward. Hey, it works on junipers, so why not? Starting in the middle allows me to set a midpoint, where I can get more aggressive in higher, more dense areas, and go heavy on the lower, interior, weaker areas.

I also did just a little light pruning, shortening a few branches, and removing one on the lower right that was kind of bugging me, and distracted my eye from the first bend in the trunk.

After light pruning and some leaf removal.

Notice I shortened the lowest right branch too. The way it was hanging down before made the tree look a bit droopy, while the branching structure is decidedly perky. removing it made a big improvement in my eye. I actually appreciate the negative space, and can take in the lower trunk line better now.

I know the goal of bonsai is to produce the appearance of age, but some trees can look young and vigorous without being sticks in pots.

The final display, Heian Kouso pot, David Knittle stand, and erodium in an accent pot by Ron Heinen.

A close up shot of the nebari and exfoliating trunk:

One parting shot looking up into the tree. Branches have decent movement and taper for how this type of tree grows. Imagine with the next 15 years will bring…

Chinese Quince early start

I’ve observed this tree will start to grow anytime it’s above 45f. We had a very mild December, and so this tree went from this on December 1:

To ready for quick trim a week later:

To budding out 6 weeks later:

Unfortunately we are now having below-freezing weather, so the tree is coming inside at night when temps drop below about 28f. I’m keeping it in shade outside, and as cool as possible without allowing the opening buds to freeze. It needs to be repotted in the spring, but it is 6 weeks until repotting season. Wish me luck.

Spring Pruning of a Chinese Quince

This quince is plagued with Cedar Apple rust, and I have found that pruning it in the spring usually results in summer growth without the fungus. However, it is a bit disappointing to have to remove almost all growth this early.

Here is the tree before any pruning. It have been treated with lime-sulfur as buds were opening, followed by Cleary’s 3336, as well as Mankozeb as shoots were extending, and yet somehow this fungus has escaped treatment.

Here is a healthy shoot; close-ups still show Mankozeb residue on the leaves from a couple weeks ago.

And here is an infected shoot, swelling and deformed:

What I have started doing is pruning it past the swelling, and leaving one or two leaves at the base.

Here is the removed shoot.

After, not as bad this year as in prior years.

The bark is beginning to exfoliate, which is one of many delightful charms of this tree.

Cleaned up for a glamour shot.