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Learn about Medlar

Medlar: Potted Fruit Plant

How to Plant

Planting Potted Plants: 

  • Choose a location in full sun in an area with well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. Medlars prefer a deep, fertile, well-drained soil, but are tolerant of a wide range of soils as long as it drains well and does not have a high pH. 
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12 inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
  • The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
  • Dig a hole at least 2 times the size of the root ball.
  • Set the plant in the hole so that the root ball is level with the surrounding soil, backfill and press the soil firmly into the hole cavity. 
  • Water deeply. The water will seal off any air pockets around the root ball. 
  • Use a stick or marker to indicate where the plant is planted.  

How to Grow

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients. Control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
  • Mulch 3 inches deep 3-4 feet around the tree.
  • Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1-2 inches of rain per week during the growing season. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
  • In spring, before any leaves sprout, apply a granular fertilizer following the instructions on the label. Most new growth will come from the plant’s crown from under the soil. Plants use a lot of energy in spring when new growth begins, so do not let plants dry out.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
  • Plants do not need much pruning other than thinning and removing dead or diseased wood and for shaping.

Harvest and Preserving Tips

  • Fruits are borne on the tips of the main shoots and side growths.
  • Harvest late October to November. Fruit is ready for harvest when the stalk parts easily from the tree.
  • Fruits must be bletted prior to eating raw. This means you must let the fruit ripen until almost rotten looking-brown, winkled, squishy. Store in trays, making sure the fruit does not touch each other, eye downwards, in a cool dark frost-free place. The inner pulp will turn brown and custard like. Eat immediately after the bletting process is complete, about 2-3 weeks.
  • Medlars are delicious in chutney and jellies, or baked, roasted or stewed.

Common Disease Problems

Apple Scab: This is a fungus that attacks both the foliage and the fruit. Leaf spots appear and are circular or irregular in shape, brown to olive green in color. Leaves may fall prematurely. Fruit lesions are circular and brown to black in color. The skin will rupture around where the lesions form revealing the layer of spores. Burpee Recommends: Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations. 

Brown Rot: A fungal disease causing a brown, spreading rot in fruit. It is caused by the same fungi that cause blossom wilt of the flowers and fruit spurs. Burpee Recommends: Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.

Leaf Blights: This causes tan spotting on the foliage and causes plants to lose vigor. Burpee Recommends: Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations. 

Common Pest and Cultural Problems

Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap. 

Apple Sawfly: These are seen at the time of blossom. They lay their eggs at the base of open flowers. Once the eggs hatch, the caterpillar like larvae burrows into young fruits making their way to the core. Burpee Recommends: Rake up any fallen infested fruits and remove. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for suggestions. 

Caterpillars: These are evident on foliage. Burpee Recommends: Hand pick and remove.

Leafhoppers: Leafhoppers cause injury to leaves and stunt growth. They also spread disease. Burpee Recommends: Remove plant debris. Use insecticidal soaps. Consult your Cooperative Extension Service for other insecticide recommendations. 

Scale: Small bugs look like brown, black, gray to white bumps on the stems of plants. Scale may not have any apparent legs and may not move. Scales have a sucking mouth part. Scale may produce honeydew so leaves and stems may be sticky. Scale can weaken the plant causing it to grow very slowly and may wilt at the middle of the day. Burpee Recommends: Completely spray the stems with insecticidal soap. For a severe infestation contact your local County Extension Service for recommendation for your area. 

Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations. 

Medlar FAQs

Do I need two different varieties of medlar to get fruit? No, medlars are self-pollinating.

Will I get fruit the first year? No. Expect first fruit in 3 years after planting and 5-7 years after planting for full fruit.

Do medlars require cold temperatures to produce fruit? We recommend medlars to zone 9, they have low chill hours but they do not perform well in zone 10.

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