Looking out into the garden we have already been able to see the first fruits of the medlar ripen. They are still a bit acidic and will have to be left on the tree a bit longer but they will soon be sweet and tasty. Taking advantage of the harvest season, today we are going to tell you about the cultivation and care needs of the Japanese medlar , and in passing we will show you ours.
WHEN DO WE SAY MEDLAR, WHICH ONE DO WE MEAN?
When we talk about the medlar we never understand that what is normally spoken of is the Japanese medlar ( Eriobotrya japonica ).
There is the common medlar or European medlar ( Mespilus germanica L.) that little to do, but if we do not know both, we will fall into the error of thinking that the common one is the Japanese.
Let’s get rid of doubts first and then focus on the first one.
Historically, the common medlar is the one that has been cultivated in Europe for hundreds of years, although its origin is not European (it is from Asia Minor).
In recent years, the Japanese medlar has been gaining strength and gaining popularity due to its more pleasant texture and flavor, as well as the ornamental value of the tree.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE JAPANESE MEDLAR
As we have mentioned, the Japanese medlar, despite the name, comes from China although its cultivation is already widespread throughout the Mediterranean, Japan (obviously), India and some countries in South America and the United States (California).
Another of its characteristics that make its ornamental value increase considerably is its evergreen character, which makes it a good ally in the garden as a shading element. The leaves are also attractive with well-defined nerves, bright dark green on the upper surface and light green and velvety on the underside.
It is one of the earliest fruits of spring so it is evident that its situation in Spain will be in places where spring frosts are conspicuous by their absence.
There are areas in the Spanish east with great production. One of the places that comes to mind is Callosa de Ensarriá, very close to Benidorm where we will find vast fields of Japanese medlar.
In fact, there is the Denomination of Origin of the Níspero de Callosa de Ensarriá.
If you live in areas free of spring frosts, we encourage you to plant one in the garden. It is considered a simple fruit tree to grow. We tell you what their conditions are.
EDAPHOCLIMATIC PREFERENCES OF MEDLAR
Interestingly, the medlar is a very hard tree when it is adult. Withstands temperatures of just over -10ºC (the vegetative part)!
No, don’t rub your hands in cold climates because you won’t be able to grow it. It is a tree that blooms very early . Possibly the earliest.
The first flowers come out in approximately November and both the fruit and the flower are sensitive to cold , the latter not withstanding more than 3 degrees below zero. The flower buds endure around -7 ºC, and the flowers, about -4 ºC.
In even temperate climates, frosts in December and January are almost inevitable so the cultivation is limited to warm areas exclusively. The first fruits (very small) can begin to be seen around February and the maturity of the earliest varieties occurs in early spring.
TOLERANCE WITH SOIL TYPES
It is a quite grateful tree in soils. As long as they have good drainage, there is a good range of sandy or clay proportions.
We will not have many problems unless it is very saline or limestone in which case, we will have some little problem of iron chlorosis that will require us, the contribution of nutrients such as iron, boron, magnesium among others.
Another reason why it is considered easy to grow. It is tolerant of drought but we cannot completely neglect it in areas with little rainfall and in the flowering and fruit setting phases .
It is essential to get a good medlar, increase the frequencies and volumes of irrigation in these phases of greater demand.
As we have already mentioned on other occasions, more frequent and less abundant waterings help to maintain a more constant level of humidity in the soil. After harvesting the fruits, the irrigation doses should be lowered.
PRUNING THE JAPANESE MEDLAR
The medlar usually has a branching that is horizontal rather than vertical. Almost free formation is usually left with an average of 4 main branches .
The pruning season is very different from the other fruit trees we are used to, since flowering is very early (November). Therefore pruning will have to be done at the end of summer approximately.
VARIETIES OF JAPANESE MEDLAR
- Algerie: the most cultivated in the main producing areas.
- Magdall: it is one of the earliest although the quality of the fruit is somewhat lower (due to its excessive acidity).
- Moggi: Japanese variety
- Cardona: autochthonous variety of Carriosa
- Golden Nugget: variedad californiana
- Tanaka: one of the later varieties.