Is there anything special I need to know about trimming/shaping my quince bushes? Can I root cutoffs and when should I do this?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Jim: Flowering quince (Chaenomeles) are spring-flowering shrubs, and as so they are best pruned after they have finished blooming in the late spring or early summer. This is true for most spring-flowering shrubs. The general rule is that you do not want to remove more than one-third of the size of the plant. Always use clean, sharp pruners and remove dead or diseased branches as well as any crossing branches. The goal is to create improved air movement and light filtration. Removing a few of the older branches will promote young, strong branches that are full of blooms and this makes everyone happy. As for propagation, the most successful method for propagating flowering quince is taking a softwood cutting during the months of June and July. This means you can take a 3-4 inch cutting off the new growth and remove all foliage, from the bottom up, except for the top leaves. Then dip the cut end into a rooting hormone, pot it up in a well-drained soil mixture, and water well. Keep the soil evenly moist so it is neither sopping wet nor bone-dry. The following link is a publication on proper pruning techniques for shrubs:
. Another publication that has step-by-step instructions on how to take and care for a softwood cutting: www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ho/ho67/ho67.pdf
. Both of these publications are available through your County Cooperative Extension Service in collaboration with the University of Kentucky and other land grant universities; always a reliable source.