If your Chojubai does this, don’t worry…

‘Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…’ And your Chojubai is losing its leaves. And you are freaking out.

Well, maybe don’t.

In the middle of summer, right around now, your ‘Chojubai’ dwarf flowering quince will yellow and drop off half its leaves. For most things, this would be a weird time of year to lose a lot of leaves, but Chojubai is definitely off the weird shelf, designed to keep us guessing.


Older Chojubai showing typical summer yellowing. There’s also some of the spotty flowering that tends to happen in the warm months.

Please note that this summer yellowing and dropping of leaves is not related to mosaic disease, which is a minor yellowing on leaf edges.


Another older tree showing the same thing. Notice also that the new foliage is larger than the spring foliage.

These little quince are rather oddballs in that they don’t seem particularly interested in the leaves they grow. Fickle, more like it. They’ll use them for a while, then ditch them in nearest compost pile they can find. Shameful, wasteful life forms. But they seem to be happy, and simply grow a second set of leaves in the summer. These are often bigger than the spring set of leaves, but your older Chojubai will still look more sparse in the summertime.

The young plants are a different story. They can drop some summer leaves too, but sometimes not. And in a hot summer year like this one, will keep pushing long shoots…


Young Chojubai throwing long shoots in the summer. These plants have none of the yellowing leaves of the older plants.


Hot summers can push long growth on Chojubai. I measured one that was charging off, currently 33″ long…and still growing.


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  1. Bernard says:

    Hi Michael, Can you describe the development process for quince. When is the best time to cut back the new spring growth when shaping a plant and for developing flower buds? Thanks.

    • crataegus says:

      For a mature quince you want the spring growth to extend and harden off before cutting back. that gives the tree energy to flower. most plants will regrow shoots over the summer as well, and those you can cut in the fall. if you cut too early, while it’s still soft and extending, the tree might not have energy to flower. fertilize them well, that helps with flowering too.

  2. Lance says:

    Thanks a million for this one. I found one of your old articles about dropping leaves and taking a ‘nap’ a while back, which helped my blood pressure quite a bit. But the young ‘uns this year have me repeatedly scratching my head and questioning the placement and watering of the established ones. Obviously we can’t compare more established trees to their more youthful and vigorous counterparts, but the disparity takes some getting used to. 33″ runners?.so much for the slow growing dwarf shrub!

    • crataegus says:

      Given a loose soil, full sun, lots of watering and constant, moderate fertilizer, they will easily push two feet a year. not in a small pot, but in a growing container. but, they don’t trunk up much, that’s just extension. so the slow growing thing…that’s sort of a misnomer, yes!

  3. john brannon says:

    hi Michael and Lance…..I’d be happy to take some of those cuttings off of your hands! I’m still struggling with the “old school” quince that is not so prolific.

  4. Pauline Muth says:

    Great article…definitely would like to share with people at my studio. ALWAYS get calls about this. Having experienced it with mine, I presumed it was normal. Great to have back up.
    PS…Can’t wait to see your place in September.

  5. Chris says:

    Great timing MIchael. I’ve been a bit worried about all the yellowing leaves. Thanks for the post!

  6. Bob Kazarian says:

    I wonder if the same may be said for Rose of Sharon Bonsai?

  7. Bob Kazarian says:

    Thank you Michael for your response. I watch your site many times per week.

  8. Brad Foresythe says:

    Thanks Michael for posting this!!!
    I have noticed this leaf sheading behavior for the past several years on a few of mine, and especially on an older specimen of mine. Sometimes, ALL of this years leaves are tossed on one of the kabudaci trunk’s entire branching. It then just sits there, bare, flexible, with dormant bloom buds, until BAM… in early spring, here it comes, flowers and then new leaves, as if all was okay… until mid summer and we go through this again. I’m glad you put this out there, it has had me puzzled for some time now.

    Brad Foresythe-Atlanta

  9. Max says:

    Hi Michael, lucky me has just become owner of a chojubai. Unfortunately it is also loosing many of its leaves right now. But they don’t turn yellow. They become quite dull and then fall off (but they don’t dry out.) Some new shoots are coming but not too many. Though I am fertilizing quite well and also checked for spider mites etc. Also I don’t think it is fungus or sunburn. Is this normal as well? Do you have an idea what I can do? Many thanks and best wishes Max

  10. Corrado Vasquez says:

    Hi Michael, so this season I noticed a branch on my chojubai has died off completely to the trunk. It had many little branches too. all other branches are doign fine. What could have caused this large dieback while all other branches are healthy? Maybe mites??

    • crataegus says:

      Chojubai are funny customers, they can drop a branch now and then like some other plants do. Likely not mites though. Those tend to be a conifer problem. It’s possible that other branches were growing too vigorously, or that shoots were coming up from the base, several things that can make the old parts of the tree get weaker. They are shrubs, so they’re going to have the older parts get weak quite naturally. Fertilize a lot and try to push shoots out of all branches.

      • Corrado Vasquez says:

        OK,understood. But when that is a main low branch as part of the shape of the tree and you lose it, kind of freaks me out. It does get plenty of fertllizer .And yes it does have many other branches in competition. The sucker shoots havent started yet , Those upper branches have really elongated this spring as to your advice to get some trunk growth After the spring shoots elongated and hardened off is when I pruned them back.

      • crataegus says:

        Sounds like you’re doing the right things. Keeping any shoots that elongate, however small and short, until fall can help those weaker areas not get any weaker.

  11. Darren George says:

    Mike, Does mosaic disease cause the leaf to become wrinkled and distorted?

    I’m seeing summer yellowing, but also some leaves are crinkly and with a faint yellow edge.

    Is there a treatment for mosaic disease?

    Thanks for any advice you can offer

  12. Philipklar says:

    Gone away resting…?! Have had my plant loose all of its leaves in a heatwave in mid July here in the Haute Provence ,France after a little bit of defoliation in June earlier on. Are there new leaves coming during the summer that is going to be extremely hot or the plant waits until next spring to regrow them? Or compost pile?How to check as theses surprising species seem to defy rationality…!

    • crataegus says:

      Yes the are strange little plants!

      Usually regrowth will happen right away, if the defoliation happens in the warm months. Try to not overwater it while the buds form.

      Usually defoliation starts from the plant getting too dry, even for part of a day.

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