Jan Besseling, former fruit grower, Westwoud (the Netherlands):
‘If I were to start all over again, I’d go for Q-Eline and nothing else!’
“The pears from trees grafted on Q-Eline quinces are a bit larger and have a much smoother skin than pears from other quince rootstocks. Some people find them too smooth, but I don’t agree with that. Quite the contrary, with russeted pears often being difficult to sell, I find that smooth pears offer good prospects. And as the rootstocks are very frost-resistant, there’s no need to protect them with mushroom compost. So I see good opportunities for Q-Eline quinces. If I were to start all over again, I’d go for Q-Eline and nothing else!”
Rob Janssen, fruit grower, Deest (the Netherlands):
‘Elimination of the risk of frost damage is a major step forwards’
“In 2001 I planted Conference pear trees grafted on C rootstocks in six hectares. In the middle of the plot I planted a row of Conference grafted on Q-Eline. When the first crop was ready, I noted that the skin of the pears grafted on Q-Eline quinces was a lot smoother. But my main objective was to find out how susceptible to frost the trees were. In the severe winter of 2012 the Q-Eline rootstocks proved to be very winter-hardy without being protected. This implies great opportunities for Q-Eline quince rootstocks, because frost damage to pear rootstocks can cause an awful lot of losses. The elimination of this risk is a major step forwards for pear cultivation.”
Tom Karsten, fruit grower, Oosterblokker (the Netherlands):
‘There are certainly markets with a demand for smooth Conference pears’
“In 2012 Boomkwekerij Fleuren gave us thirty trial trees grafted on Q-Eline. It proved to be a frost-resistant rootstock whose growth is comparable with that of C quinces. The smooth skin shows less russeting. A potential drawback of smooth skins late in the sales season is more damage during sorting. But in view of all its advantages, Q-Eline may certainly offer added value. I’m convinced that there are also markets with consumers who prefer smooth Conference pears.”
Johan de Jong, De Jong Fruit, Leerbroek (the Netherlands):
‘Added value on wet soils in particular’
“As we grow our fruit on heavy, wet soil and have a lot of problems with bronze colouring and russeting with ordinary Conference pears grafted on A and C quinces, the Q-Eline rootstock seemed to be a good alternative. And indeed, we are now harvesting 100% good pears: pears that are green and show virtually no bronze colouring.
On top of this, the trees’ frost resistance is a lot better than that of C quinces. The rootstocks are also more fertile and a little more vigorous. For regions like ours, where most growers have to cope with fairly wet soil, Q-Eline definitely offers added value.”
Lode Henckaerts, Heta Fruit, Heers (Belgium):
‘The advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages’
“Almost half of our orchard consists of trees grafted on Q-Eline, a fairly productive rootstock that yields more pears per branch than trees grafted on Adams quinces. The rootstock also produces a fairly high percentage of large, first-class pears. And that’s what counts for fruit growers.
A disadvantage is that, in the propagation phase, Q-Eline quinces don’t grow as fast as Adams quinces, so the first few years you harvest fewer kilos. The trees also have to be supported with bamboo canes as they grow, implying more work in the first years.
What’s more, Q-Eline is no less susceptible to frost damage than Adams quinces. In my experience, the flowers and fruits are more frost-resistant than the trees themselves. That’s really odd.
Besides Conference we also have Lucas trees grafted on Q-Eline. Although we have only a few years’ experience with them, we are pleasantly surprised by their vigour and great production. They also take fairly little time to prune. So all in all the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.”
Alejandro Navarro, Viverosur (tree and fruit growers), Curicó/Fonos (Chile):
‘400 hectares of Q-Eline for the Chilean market’
“Q-Eline owes its added value for the nurseryman largely to its productivity and its upright, unbranched growth habit. The rootstock enables growers to increase their plant densities. It’s also less susceptible to stress, making it suitable for both hot and cold weather conditions. Chile has a hot climate in summer, which affects some dwarf rootstocks. We believe Q-Eline has a great opportunity for our conditions.
Our intention is to produce Q-Eline rootstocks in an acreage of 400 hectares for the Chilean market. We will soon be receiving the required propagating material from the Netherlands. It will go into quarantine for two years; we want to be on the safe side. And although we expect few differences with respect to the rest of the world, we won’t be commercially marketing the Q-Eline rootstock until we have tested it extensively under Chilean weather conditions.”