How to prune the medlar

How to prune the medlar

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Widespread in Southern Italy but appreciated throughout the country, the medlar is a tree that produces sweet and juicy fruits, perfect for when they sprout on the branches, or for the summer period. It's not that easy learn how to prune the medlar because it must be done in different ways depending on the situation and its state of growth, but fortunately it is one hardy plant and that it does not create major problems regarding the climate and the soil in which it grows.

It resists well even in cold temperatures and that is why we find it cultivated even at 1000 meters high, at the same time it adapts to different soils even if it prefers those with a neutral and clayey pH because it cannot tolerate the presence of water stagnation for a long time. Known as common medlar or Germanic medlar (or with the scientific name of Mespilus germanica) this tree reproduces by cutting and if cultivated by grafting it gives larger fruits. Now let's see how to behave in the delicate moment of pruning.

Loquat pruning: what is it for?

For some trees there is no need for pruning, they have their own cycle and in a sense they manage themselves, but in fruit trees and in particular in medlar, this cleaning time it is very important, I would dare to say fundamental, because it produces branches that are really very long, of such a length that if they are not cut from time to time they can end up weighing down the trunk. On the one hand, this means causing possible damage to the plant itself, due to being too heavy, on the other hand, putting its internal balance in difficulty, impacting on the production of medlars which could be limited or greatly reduced. Pruning is therefore an essential step for those who want to grow a medlar and must be done on time once a year, every 12 months.

When to prune the medlar tree

We don't have to choose a month at random from our calendar to organize pruning, because trees and nature have their cycles and we must respect them by paying close attention. Beyond how to prune the medlar, it is therefore very important to do it during the winter season, the best month seems to be February because in this way we avoid intervening when the plant has already started to bloom, which is completely not recommended. And since the medlar does not suffer from the cold, it does not take long recover from winter and produce flowers, so it is best to never slip into March or even beyond.

The life cycle of this tree foresees the arrival of the fruits in the middle of the summer season but it is good to know, before starting to cultivate it, that the first sweet medlars do not sprout immediately, we have to wait 8-9 years if the plant is grown from seed, or 4-5 years if grafting is done.

Types of medlar pruning

As we have mentioned from the beginning, learn how to prune the medlar it is not trivial there is no single way to do it. Fortunately, there are no particular obstacles from a practical point of view because this plant never goes beyond 5 meters in height, including the foliage: pruning operations become quite simple.

Now let's take a good look at the medlar we are dealing with and evaluate what stage of growth it is in because the type of pruning we are called to carry out depends on that. Here are the main ones

  • Training pruning. This serves first of all to give shape to the tree canopy. It must be done as the plant grows because only in this way can its development be regulated by intervening when it is appropriate to control its expansion. If in our garden we have one tree, single, with no other nearby plant presences, then we can let it grow with maximum freedom, intervening only when the dry or unproductive branches and the suckers at the base of the plant must be eliminated. It is different if there are any multiple medlar plants nearby, because this time limiting and shaping the foliage becomes absolutely necessary to ensure that all grow in health, with the space they deserve to give us their fruits. The technique that is most often used is that of the free pot, with a trunk maximum one meter high per meter and a half and three or four productive gills which, however, at least for the first year must never exceed 50 cm. We are called to intervene if they become longer to shorten them but not too much, otherwise pruning must be postponed for a few months, waiting for spring.
  • Production pruning. It is essential to ensure that the medlar always remains productive. Punctually, every year it must be carried out going to shorten the branches that have already borne fruit or or the “older” ones, with over a year of life, all this to leave room for the more productive and young ones. When intervening, the horizontal branches and those too close to the productive gills are usually cut.
  • Renewal pruning. This must take place immediately after the fruit has been harvested and is used to clean and remove dry and non-fruiting branches.
  • Summer pruning, also called green pruning. As soon as May begins and the summer has yet to begin, we prepare the medlar to face the heat by pruning the new branches that are about to develop from the new buds so that they do not disturb the branches that are already explicitly fruiting.

Tools for pruning the medlar

The elected instrument the best in these cases are the shears which must absolutely be carefully sterilized because otherwise they can cause infections, passing them from tree to tree. If we are going to create decisive cuts, it can also be useful to have some with us putty to close them and promote the healing of the "wound".

Scab of medlar: one of the most insidious diseases

Like all fruit trees, even the medlar, although resistant to the dangers of the climate, often falls victim to diseases, both fungal nature than those of parasitic nature. The most widespread and which makes those who expect an abundant production of medlars every year despair is the scab. It is a fungal infection that can spread very quickly and can also cause the death of the medlar in a relatively short time.

This has a lot to do with the pruning we talked about because if we do it regularly, we can prevent comparsa of the infection.

If you liked this article you can also read our following related articles:

  • How to grow oleander
  • Lavender pruning
  • How to plant a tree and which plant to choose

Video: How to Prune Fruit Trees The Right Way Every Time (July 2022).


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