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Medlar tree or Azgil are deciduous large shrub or small tree cultivated since the ancient time. This unusual fruit tree is harvested in winter, and is eaten raw or in a variety of dishes. The fruit is ready when it is ‘bletted’, meaning browned. Medlar trees grow wildly in Europe and Asia. In Iran, the fruits, leaves, bark and wood of the tree are used as medicines for ailments.
The fruit needs humidity to ripen. Supplemental water maybe needed when planted inland. Pick the fruit early and place in a plastic bag with water and absorbent material like straw or mulch and place in the refrigerator to help fruit with bletting.
Medlar does well near the Coast. Plant them in Malibu, Santa Monica,Santa Barbara, Ventura, Agoura Hills and in San Diego. Plant where it will receive morning sun and afternoon shade and provide supplemental water to simulate the coast in areas such as Los Angeles.
Plant Care Information
How To Water - Frequency and Duration to Irrigate
Newly planted trees should be watered regularly to establish well. The frequency of irrigation and quantity of water mainly depends on the season of the year, soil type, and size/age of the tree.
Frequency to water
Discontinue watering in the Winter while the tree is dormant.
Begin to water weekly as the tree breaks bud and leafs out in the Spring.
Increase the frequency of water to twice per week in the Spring.
Water 2-3 times per week during the hot Summer months.
Reduce irrigation frequency to 1-2 times per week in the Fall.
Stop watering your tree in the Winter while it is dormant.
You may need to water sandy soils more frequently but less quantity because of sand’s lower water holding capacity.
Water Duration – Quantity of water
Drip System – 30- 60 minutes
Sprinkler – 15 – 25 minutes
PVC Bubbler – 5 – 7 minutes
Hose – Flood the trees watering well until the soil surrounding the tree’s roots reaches field capacity.
Fertilizer and Plant Nutrition
Fruit trees and edible plants need nutrients to grow. This is called fertilizer and it comes in different forms. Use organic manure, bone meal, blood meal, and humus based fertilizers. Apply fertilizers like manure along with a bone meal, humus based phosphorus fertilizer (1-2-2) NPK ratio in the late Winter, right before spring growth. Reapply with organic high nitrogen (2-1-1) or fertilizers with a 1-1-1 NPK as directed by the label during the Spring and Summer growing season. Do not fertilize in the Fall, new growth at this time will be thin, lanky, and weak.
Winter Pruning and Summer Thinning
Prune fruit trees in the Winter to maintain size and shape to prepare for Spring growth. Thin the tree in the Summer, and remove excess fruits. Remove any dry twigs and branches. Cut off any new growth below the graft or very low in the tree, this will direct the plant’s energy to its main branches. Thin your trees during the Spring and Summer seasons to ensure the plant’s energy is directed as desired. If the plant provides an overly large quantity of fruits for that branch, reduce the quantity of fruit so that what remains grows larger. This will also prevent broken limbs. Harvest ripe fruit to prevent undesired pests.
Harvesting and Pest Management
The basics of integrated pest management is cleanliness and the use of a combination of methods. This means we use an organic pesticide when the pest population reaches a threshold that requires action. Horticultural oils such as Neem oil is an organic pesticide that controls tiny, soft bodied insects. Use organic Bordeaux and Liqui-cop to manage fungus causing diseases such as powdery mildew, rust, and leaf-curls.
Keep a clean environment, free of weeds and dropped fruit that host insects or attract animals. Harvest when fruit reaches size and store indoors. Use repellants and bird netting to protect your harvest from other animals.