The fungus overwinters on dead twigs and on fallen leaves, and spores produced on these start new infections in the spring. Once the first leaf spots have formed, fruiting bodies develop within them, and the spores that they produce are splashed in rain droplets to create further infections on the leaves, shoot tips and fruit. The disease is therefore most severe during wet summers.
Diplocarpon mespili can also affect numerous other plants in the family Rosaceae, causing leaf spots and blotches (often similar in appearance to those on quince). Apart from common quince, it is seen most frequently on hawthorn, medlar, pyracantha and pear. However, outbreaks on these hosts are sporadic and usually far less damaging than those on quince.