One of the best aspects of medlar trees is how simple they are to care for. Only in their first few years do they require any serious pruning; after that, it’s just a matter of paying close attention to keep them healthy. We’ll look at how to prune and care for a medlar tree in this article.
How Do You Prune A Medlar Tree?
Medlars, like other fruit trees, benefit from shaping when they are young to ensure they grow in an open, easy form that allows the fruit to be harvested while keeping the tree’s branches as strong and healthy as possible.
Pruning a fruit tree to encourage an open shape is beneficial because it not only makes fruit picking easier, but it also allows light and air to circulate more freely, which helps keep the tree disease-free and the fruits ripen evenly.
The first thing you should do when planting a young tree is to promote the shape you want it to take. Medlars are naturally sprawling trees with an open shape and branches that hang down almost weepingly.
1. CHOOSE THE BRANCHES YOU WANT TO KEEP
Choose four or five branches to keep on your young tree; these should grow upward from the trunk and be fairly evenly spaced around the tree. Remove all but the ones that appear to be the strongest and are not too close together.
You can also top the tree if you want to keep the growing habit low to make fruit more accessible by cutting the top off the central leader at the same height or just above the highest of the branches you have retained. This will give your tree a domed shape, which is common in this species.
2. REMOVE ANY BRANCHES NEAR THE GROUND.
You will have noticed that your tree has put on a lot of new branches during the first and second years of growth.
The leaves on these will have helped your young tree grow strong, providing more photosynthesis opportunities.
Depending on the type of tree, now is the time to prune any branches that are less than 3 feet from the ground.
This could be lower for dwarf varieties, while it could be a little higher for standard varieties. Also, remove any suckers.
3. GET RID OF ANY THIN BRANCHES
Remove any thin branches that have appeared on the trunk to keep it clean and only the main branches that you want to continue growing from it.
4. REMOVE ANY INAPPROPRIATELY POSITIONED NEW GROWTH
Simply remove any poorly positioned new growth, such as crossing branches or those that are too close, in the following years. In the early spring, remove any diseased, damaged, or dead wood, as well as any suckers.
Remember that your medlar fruits will not ripen until all of the leaves have fallen from the tree. Early in the winter.
OTHER PRUNING ADVICE
- Pruning on a rainy day can leave your tree vulnerable to fungal problems.
- Always prioritize the health of the tree over aesthetics when pruning. Before you think about making the tree’s shape pretty, you should remove any diseased or dead parts. Getting rid of these will allow the tree to focus its energy on healthy growth and produce a better fruit crop.
- Consider the tree’s branches to be a scaffold for the leaves and fruits. If the scaffolding is too frail, it may collapse under the weight, especially in wet or windy conditions.
- Always cut at an angle to allow water to drain easily and prevent rot. When removing branches from the trunk, remove the entire branch rather than just a stub.
- You can also use heading cuts to correct any shape imbalances by cutting the tips of branches. Keep in mind that heading cuts can reduce the amount of fruit that grows on the branch that year.
- A heading cut should always be pruned just above an outward-facing bud, as this is where a new branch will develop. Making too many heading cuts will cause the tree to become overcrowded, as it will stimulate the growth of two branches where there was previously only one. Tipping is another term for this.
- Thinning cuts when removing growth congestion allows more light and air into the heart of the tree. You can help prevent fungus and mold problems by increasing air circulation.
- When pruning a tree, only sharp, clean tools should be used. Wiping the blades with rubbing alcohol splashed on a clean rag is the simplest way to ensure your tools are sterile and will not spread or cause disease in your trees. This should ideally be done between each cut.
- Remember to clean, sharpen, and oil your tools after each use to keep them in good shape and ready for use the next time.
HOW TO PRUNE AN EXTENDED FRUIT TREE
You might be lucky enough to find some overgrown medlars or other fruit trees when you move into a new home. Although it may appear to be drastic, these can usually be brought back to health and given a better shape by performing some aggressive pruning.
It is preferable to plan your attack over several years to allow the tree to heal in between. The general rule is that no more than 30% of the tree’s crown should be removed at once, or the stress will kill the tree.
Begin by removing any dead, diseased, or damaged branches, followed by any large unwanted branches and suckers.
Improve the shape the following year by removing unwanted growth until you have a pleasing appearance.
When Should You Prune Medlar Trees?
Medlars are best pruned just before the sap begins to rise in late winter to early spring, when they emerge from dormancy.
Pruning to control the tree’s size should be done only every three to five years. Keep in mind that you want to keep the medlar open and maintain its shape. Pruning encourages new branching, which is undesirable once the tree’s shape has been established.
Pruning should always be as light as possible.
How Do You Prune A Weeping Medlar?
As a medlar tree ages, the branches tend to bend down towards the ground, giving it a weeping appearance. This can be attractive, adding ornamental value.
Pruning your medlar tree as it grows older and naturally adapts to a more weeping shape should only be done to remove any dead, diseased, broken, or crossed branches, as pruning isn’t generally beneficial for medlar trees.
How Do You Prune An Unfruitful Medlar Tree?
If you live in a particularly cold climate, your medlar tree may not produce any, or only a small number of fruits. They also do poorly in tropical climates because the winters are not cold enough to stimulate flowering.
Despite this, the trees are still very attractive and make excellent ornamental specimens; there are even variegated leaf varieties.
There is an ornamental kitchen garden at Grimsthorp Castle in the United Kingdom. In the lawn, there are several medlar and quince trees that have been topiaried into neat ball shapes on their thick, twisted branches.
These trees are allowed to flower in the spring, but once finished, they are clipped back into their uniform, neatly clipped shapes. Despite this annual pruning, they continue to bear fruit.
If you want a fruitless medlar tree to grow naturally into its drooping form, there is no need to prune it. Only pruning is required to keep it healthy, as explained in detail above.
Once established, the ancient medlar is a hardy tree that requires little maintenance.
Only when the tree is young and healthy does it require full pruning. In most cases, the less you prune medlars, the better. This is to create an open shape that allows light and air to easily penetrate and circulate.
The leaves of the medlar tree are large and oval, similar to those of the chestnut tree. Overpruning causes more shoots to grow with these large leaves, limiting the ability of light to penetrate and air to circulate very quickly.
The only time a true annual pruning is performed is when the tree is grown for ornamental purposes and a specific shape is desired.