Quince rootstock experiences

I am curious to hear of others experiences with quince rootstock for pears. I am especially interested in hearing southern growers experiences but really anyones.

To start with here are my own experiences. My first experince with q was when I ordered a Magness pear on q-ba29-c from cummins. This was in Austin, Texas I ordered the largest size and it made a perfect sized tree. It produced nice new growth annually but not too much. In its third leaf the tree bloomed and set a heck of a crop (it was surrounded by lots of pollinators). Unfortunatley a very late massive hail storm destroyed the crop and gave the tree fb. It recovered quickly however. Sadly the next season I moved and I have no idea what happened to that tree. At the same time I ordered and grafted 50 other quince ba29c to diffrent varieties. Most of them failed. But even the ones that did take produced almost no new growth after several years. I mean nothing. They in effect became bonzai trees. The one exeption may have been Abate Fetel. It too produced very little positive growth in the three years I had it but the branches thikened nicley and it bloomed and produced a few pears in its third leaf. Again I moved and have no clue what became of it.

On to Dallas, Texas. When first arriving here I ordered another Magness, this time on quince a as well as Blakes Pride also on q-a. The Magness was agian the largest size I could get and the Blakes Pride was a much smaller size. Even though ordered and planted at the same time to no suprise Once again the Magness has made a perfect size tree and fruited this in it’s 4th leaf(without alot of pollinators) and Blakes Pride has pretty much made a bonzai tree. Almost no new growth.

It seems that quince may be really usefull as a dwarfing rootstock to Southern growers on known compatible scions but we may have to outsource the adolecent period to growers with a more suitable climate then plant our trees. Just a theory. I would love to hear others ideas and experiences.


Drew, I have a small stand of pears on quince (from Cummins). I think they are heading into 4th year. Only a few have fruited (Harrow Delight and White Doyenne) but all are growing well except Blakes Pride which is OK but half the size of the others. I have not gotten any fruit on the Magness yet but hope I will - I had Magness on seedling root but gave up on it after 12 years. The Magness is about 50% more vigorous than the others - its hard to control. It acts like a triploid apple (hmm, Google just found some book that lists Magness as a triploid - makes sense!).

Anyway my experience sounds similar and Blakes Pride is clearly a runty pear on quince - its just the variety. I hope to finally get some Magness next spring, its one of my favorite pears but I have yet to eat one from my own tree. I never grafted any pears on small quince stocks; there are many reasons why young plants could fail so I wouldn’t put a whole lot in that. I have topworked mature quince and they did well. I am growing some seedling quince (similar to small rootstocks in size) and they are doing fine for me.

1 Like

Why do/did people use quince rootstock in the first place? Pears are so much more common and easy to get a hold of, and should have fewer compatibility issues. What advantage does quince have?

For little height. Quince is a dwarfing rootstock, excellent for keeping trees small and creating cordons.

Even more important to me is precocity - you get fruit in half as many years on quince.

Scott I wish mine was precocious. I’ve had the pear tree (grafted) four varieities on quince for over seven years now, not one euro pear yet! I’ve ordered three new pear trees for pollination this spring. The tree is healthy, however, and the perfect size. I don’t let it get over seven feet tall.

Scott I feel lucky to have fruited Magness at such a young age twice now. I think our blast furnace hot summers and droughty summers greatly limit the vigor on a lot of things. That combined with the dwarf stock seems to be a good fit for Magness down here. I am hopefull I will get a nice crop this year but winter needs to catch us up on chill hours down here. I did not know Cummins was growing White Doyenne. What was your impression of that one? I have always heard it was a really good one.

Tjasko - size control and precocity are exactly why I wanted to try quince rootstock. I tried some trees on ohf 333 for the same reason but my trees seemed to struggle a bit. For one the fruit size was definatley smaller and the trees seemed to lack vigor. I have read that for others in Texas there trees on 333 stoped fruiting at all after several years in the ground. If I had more room I would try more trees on 333 again here in Dallas as I suspect with a longer rest period and more chill that stock would perform better.

Its a classic pear, no more no less. It is a bit more squat in shape than average but other than that is pretty much right down the middle. I think its the classic flavor because its the primordial Euro pear - 500 or more years old supposedly. I found it an easy grower. It doesn’t store super long but on the plus side the pears were relatively unblemished.

1 Like

I had an Anjou on Provence Quince that was runted and had iron chlorosis issues. Every spring it leafed out with lush, dark green leaves which gradually faded to yellowish green by the end of summer. It blossomed after a couple years, but I never got fruit off it.

By the time I put in more pears for pollenizers, it suddenly died the following season after leafing out. I believe the Quince died before the Anjou. I didn’t spot any evidence of disease or pests. I did some research and found that it isn’t very cold hardy. I think it is marginal for my zone. The previous winter was one of the worst we had in long time, so it might have died from cold injury. It probably didn’t have much of chance anyhow with nutrient issue it had. Maybe foliar fertilizer could of helped. It’s the only tree I’ve had that had that sort of issue. I’m kind of glad it died. Else I might have wasted additional time and money trying to nurse a sick little tree. I need to learn to get rid of the weaklings and move on.

1 Like

Hi Drew, good to hear from you! I planted a magness on BA29 quince from Edible Landscaping in March 2010. It’s 4 ft tall now; last year was first year for blooms, but no fruit.

I’m not sure how much irrigation this tree gets. I planted it at a new office building with “green” regulations, instead of a sprinkler system it has an under the sod irrigation system, so I can never see exactly how much water is distributed. Grass seems green. I’ve got it planted with a large mulch area.

I’ve ordered a Harvest Queen on Quince from Cummings, I’m going to plant it with a pop up sprinkler head next to it.

I’d love to duplicate your success with a Magness, maybe I’ll try again

1 Like

Great to hear from you too Bob. Man I must say I hate those underground watering systems. At least the ones I have dealt with seem to have some problems. I really think that when planting on quince starting with as large a tree as possible is the key to success for us down here. I’m telling you on almost all the ones I grafted myself I just got almost no new growth. This is of course supposition and based on my limited experience but I think I’m right on this one. It will be interesting to see how your Magness does moving forward.

I too am interested in trying the Harvest Queen on Quince. That sounds like such a great variety. Do you know if we get enough chill here for it? I am so limited for space but I may be able to squeze in one more tree on quince. Hahaha! Always room for one more right? I would love to come see your trees sometime Sir.

Scott, thank you for the report on White Doyenne. That sounds like a great variety also. I hope your Magness gets going for you this year. Maybe threaten it with a chainsaw and see if that helps!

50 Bonsai trees! Sounds like quince might not work too well here in Texas!

I hope there’s enough chill her in Dallas (750 hours?) for Harvest Queen. I couldn’t find anywhere how much chill was needed, so I decided to just try it. Ditto for Harrow Sweet, I’ll know this year if we have enough chill for it. I would have known this year, but the record daily rain caused massive fire blight. I didn’t get any Pears at all, other than Keiffers.

I recall some discussions amongst the NAFEX southern pear growers about various dwarfing stocks runting out in Texas. Many of the OH stocks were runting, and maybe this is a similar thing. My climate is perhaps different enough to avoid extreme runting.

Bob, I too couldn’t find any chill hour ratings for either of those two varieties and many other varieties as well. I think you are right on the money the only way to find out if they will work or not is to try. So far it seems that we get a good amount of chill here. A good bit more than Austin it seems. It will be really interesting to see how those two trees do for you. Let me know if Harrow Sweet blooms this year. I think quince will work for us as long as we have someone else start them off for us.

Scott that has been my experience with the rootstocks. I think there are a variety of things against us down here that limit the effectiveness of those dwarfing stocks. I do wonder if some of the ohf rootstocks would do better in Dallas than in Austin. I suspect they may but I just don’t have room know to find out. One that I have heard is the best for down here is ohf #51. Unfortunatley I don’t think it exists for sale as a rootstock anymore. A shame for us southern growers.

I have not had great luck with quince c here in Denver. I had two trees Colette and Beierschmitt, both of which are listed as quince compatible.
Colette has done fine, though remains a slow grower at only 8’ after 9 years. It started bearing in its 4th year and has continued producing a good crop for the size tree every year.
Beierschmitt struggled and the scion out grew the rootstock even though it never reached 5’ in 7 years. The graft eventually failed in a micro burst. It never fruited, save one pear that the squirrels got.

I’m currently using OHxF 513 and will prune to control size if need be. Though it is too early to say anything about it.

Several years ago I got four quince C rootstocks that were pre-grafted with a Bartlett interstem. I grafted asian varieties to them. I was a novice grafter. I was amazed that all took and thrived and bore fruit. For various reasons I have only one of those left, chojuro. It is 14 years old and bears a heavy crop reliably every year. It is about 3.5 ft above the snow pack, so maybe 5 ft high. Nice tree.

1 Like

Welcome to the forum, Andy. That was a nice first post.

Glad you’re here! Welcome!

That sounds like a great sized tree and fourteen years is a good among of time for sure. Do you have any plans to add any more trees on quince? Down here in Texas they say chojuro gets very good quality fruit. In other areas people say it is only so so.