What are my options for quince rootstock?

I’ve connected with someone across the state line from me in Tennessee that has a quince tree (maybe more than one) that does very well for him with practically no care, even though fireblight has devastated all his attempts at growing pears. That’s given me hope in growing quince, as well as a source for scion wood. Can I use callery pear seedlings for rootstock? Are there better choices, and if so, why?

you can grow quince from hardwood cuttings

Elaborate on this, please!
I received some very wimpy ‘quince A’ rootstock from Lawyers, and my inclination is to give it a year in the nursery ungrafted and blank to bulk out. Bummer because I ordered in some scion from Corvallis, and have been thinking I’d try to plug it into some OHxF pear for a season or two just as a holding pattern until I can put it on quince roots

I assume that would necessitate a heat mat, rooting hormone…? Is there any advantage to having quince on its own roots over grafting? Grafting seems easier from my perspective, especially if callery pear is a good option for rootstock, but it’s interesting to hear about other options regardless.

I have never heard of anyone attempting to graft quince on pear, but if you are up for an experiment it could be worth a go. Everyone wants the opposite: if you put a pear on quince you get earlier fruiting and more dwarfing.

Along with fireblight I had a big problem with quince rust. It is much worse than cedar apple rust, all the fruits can get ruined.


I remember you mentioning the rust to me on gardenweb. Thank you again. I don’t necessarily expect rust to be any less of a problem for me than it is for you – I can’t grow Amelanchier arborea at all because of rust – but it’s an experiment that won’t really cost me anything but a little time, and I have a little hope based on the experience of my scion wood source, who’s not really that far from me. Perhaps he doesn’t have red cedars in his area (just east of Knoxville), but I would expect he would – I think they’re all over Tennessee.

My only reason for thinking to use callery pear rootstock is that I have already established volunteers scattered all about my property, so it seems like a head start over growing quince stock from seed, and it saves me all the work of getting the rootstock established, especially hauling buckets of water to locations where I won’t be able to reach with hoses. I could probably get some quince seeds this fall to grow some quince rootstock, too, though.

Pear on quince usually is a delayed incompatibility, so if the opposite is also the case you may be able to grow the quince rootstock and move the variety over to that before the graft on callery fails. Either way you win, if the graft never fails you have a big quince tree.


You could graft the quince to callery then bury the graft union below the soil line so the quince will root.

Alternatively you can just bury the quince cutting and you have decent chance it will grow. JohnS will probably chime in, he gave me a couple of own-rooted quince cultivars from cuttings with a few buds below and and a couple above the soil. I’ve had about 50% take (sample of 2) stabbing them into the soil in my raised bed vegetable garden with no other attention other than occasional watering. I don’t know how variety dependent the take is.

With fig and grape I get higher takes with that sophisticated technique :smile:

With black currants I get 100% take (although maybe the cutting quality is better since I am propagating my own).

I would be interested in the type of quince being used. Here the quinces in my experience have been fire blight magnets- FB-Marys. Please let us know how they do if you are successful, I might want some wood.

Thanks for all the advice.

I should remember to report back on my success, and I’ll certainly be glad to share wood any time I have it, but success seems like a long shot.

One more question. This contact I have with the quince trees lives 3-4 hours away, but he lives very close to one of my brothers. If I visit my brother and have an opportunity to visit my quince contact in person, it’s likely to be at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Is there any hope in scion wood collected as early as Christmas? Even Thanksgiving?

Sure, just make sure to check on it in midwinter for molds.

I have some new Bulgarian quince seedlings which are supposed to be fireblight resistant. So far they have been tolerably resistant. If the fruit is any good I will share the wood on them.


I’m with Alan - Quince, at least the ones typically used as dwarfing understock for pear,are exquisitely susceptible to FB. Would be surprising that this TN fellow could grow quince and not pears - unless he’s only been trying FB-cripple stuff like Bartlett. Bet he could grow Keiffer! It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
I’ve seen ‘heirloom’ type Cydonia quinces growing at old abandoned farmsteads, back home in AL - never noticed any FB or rust on them - but, as a teenager, I wasn’t really looking, either.

I have a clump of seedling quince, grown from seed sent to me by the late Lon Rombough; at this point I don’t know if its a single plant or several, as I just planted the pot those seeds were planted in.
I’ve had decent success rooting dormant-collected hardwood cuttings(of the plant above) by just shoving them into the ground. No rooting hormone, no care.

I had Aromatnaya quince grafted onto cockspur hawthorn - it may still be struggling out there in the nursery area…took some FB hits along the way, and was continually hit by cedar-quince rust, with really pronounced stem & leaf lesions. Think it made one fruit a couple of years ago.
Callery is a possible maybe - you probably could even graft onto Chaenomeles(flowering quince), as a temporary foster home.

I’ve noticed that my cydonia oblonga cuttings that have been in storage for a month or so have started forming root initials. I’ve grafted 10 varieties onto quince A, and I will stick my extras and see how they do on their own roots.
Fireblight isn’t an issue up here, they just need to mature their fruit before first frost and be hardy to -25.

Update- I ended up grafting my c oblogata (quince) scions onto some very weak Quince A rootstock, and had 95% take, growth on most was not impessive at 1-2’,but at least they are started and I didn’t loose the varieties I obtained as scionwood. Extra material I attempted to root as dormant cuttings, success rate was somewhere around 25%, and these did not grow as much as grafts did. A tricky spring for dormant cuttings with some hot spells mightve been why success rate was low… Hope they overwinter well!

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Thanks for the follow up JesseS. I think quince in general are slow-growing.

As far as I’m concerned, if you have access to a tree, a 25% rooting rate from cuttings stabbed into the ground where you want a new tree is good enough.

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That is about as easy as it gets. Punch in four at the desired location and remove any excess takes.

I have had good luck growing new rootstock by just planting short sections of roots from Callery and from an unknown dwarf pear. Almost 100% takes. Bill

Exactly. Or punch in 6 for good measure.

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Good morning ,

I was reading your comments about quince and the best rootstock for it in this forum , I recently acquired an " isfahan quince" tree it is probably 2 years old and has no side branches yet , would like to make a few extra trees any comment and help will be greatly appreciated .

Many thanks in advance , Saeed

Hi Saeed,
Grafting onto Quince A rootstock worked the best for me, sticking dormant cuttings was less successful, but still an option. I would wait for your tree to grow a bit more before you take material from it for propagating.