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.

Repotting Chinese Quince

While I love the oval Koyo and think it’s a great fit for showtime, it is a bit too small for daily use.

This year, it was reported into a wider, shallower vintage Heian Kouso pot.

Minor root work; simply combed out the very fuzzy roots (which grew up and into the fertilizer cakes used this year), and removed some large downward-facing roots from the bottom.

Fresh soil (akadama and lava 2:1) was worked in, and top-dressed with some small grain akadama.

Since it has started growing already (work done on Feb 10), it will need to be protected from the inevitable sub-freezing nights we will have over the next 3-5 weeks. It is also time to apply lime-sulfur to fight against aphid and cedar-Apple fungus which plagues this tree.

Pairing a pot for this Chinese Quince

First, I really appreciate the current pairing, a Shuho rectangle with cut corners.

But I thought it might be fun to try some new shoes. Chinese Quince is special, as it has 4-season interest: pink flowers in the spring, exfoliating bark in the summer, bright red and orange fall color, and large yellow fruits that persist into winter. This makes pot pairing a lot of fun. They can handle masculine and feminine pots, glazes to compliment or contrast flowers, bark, or fruit. The sky is nearly the limit. So…

What do you like?

Here a few to consider. Pot info and my evaluation are under each photo.

Oribe Koyo rectangle with bamboo accents.

Good color and size. To me the walls are a bit too vertical. Maybe I’m used to a lip. The green glaze will be attractive with the bark all year, and nice with the fall color. If it flowers, pink is a good contrasting color to green, and a complimentary color to the yellow fruit.

Another Oribe Koyo, oval with feet and a lip.

Slightly narrow, but visually, the depth makes up the volume, and a smaller pot makes the trunk look fatter. The shape is a bit more interesting. It has a lip. Glaze color is the same as above, but a bit clearer, with a touch of blue where it built up at the band and feet.

Green Chinese oval cheapo.

I like the color and the shape, but it is too big; the width is almost the same as the canopy, so the tree looks small. The color is pleasing and it’s not too shiny.

Blue Namako Shuho rectangle with cut corners, a lip and carved feet.

This is the current pot, and it’s a good fit, maybe a bit deep. It’s a bold pot, but it’s a bold tree. Good fit.

Blue glazed Yamafusa rectangle with cut corners.

Clearly too big for now. Maybe in 10 years. It’s very muted in this photo, a conservative safe pot. Incidentally it was my first “nice” pot, and the one I showed my maple in at the 3rd US National Bonsai Expo.

Yellow vintage Chinese rectangle with window panes and cloud feet.

Great patina, good shape and the color suggests the fruit color. This pot should be perfect, but to me the pot feels lighter than the tree, creating instability. The tree was in this pot for a year or so around 2015.

Black round Yamato.

Too big, but the red crackles go nicely with the bark. The right size, and it could work.

Tan unglazed rectangle, vintage by Keizan.

Good size, but a tad plain. Very reserved.

Cheapo bag-shaped Chinese.

The size and shape could work, but this is really a cheap, ugly pot. This style of pot glazed in light blue could be a winner.

Formal unglazed rectangle Tokoname by Sankyou or Sanpo…can’t remember which.

This works to my eye. Good size, good shape, solid color. Not sure I’m ready to commit to the look yet, but would be easy to use as the tree grows older. Now, it almost looks like a pairing you’d use when you’re ready to sell the tree and dump off a pot you don’t care about as part of the deal.

Unglazed rectangle with cut corners, 3rd Gen Yamaaki.

The soft shape does work, but the warm red clay color is more for a juniper to me. If I went unglazed, I think I’d stick with a brown clay color like the previous, not red.

………….

So, 11 to choose from, with half being legitimate options for sure, and a few others to demonstrate what does not work and why. A decent exercise when you have time and pots to work with.

Scroll back through and pick one. Which one did you pick?

Ready for my pick?

First, unpotted and combed out:

I didn’t remove many roots, just combed them out and will replace the soil. Interestingly, the akadama soil which has remained in place for 4 years now is still quite in-tact. I read how people complain that it breaks down fast or turns to mush, but I simply have not had that experience.

And the winner is…

I love the pot, a production-grade Koyo with a sexy shape, a Chinese feel, and clear green glaze which beads up in blue at the bands and feet. The root mass stayed rather small, so while it is one of the smaller pots, the roots fit comfortably, and the base shows a bit wider too.

A couple shots with a ruler to show dimensions, the pot is about 11″ wide, and the tree height is 16″.

Leave a comment with your pick, would love to hear your thoughts.