The loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica) is a broad leafed evergreen tree grown in gardens in the southern half of the U.S. It has broad, tropical-looking leaves and produces orange oval-shaped fruit that is 1 to 2 inches in diameter depending on the variety. The loquat tree is a low maintenance tree once established. It grows best in well-drained sandy soil. The tree is often grafted rather than grown from seed. Trees are grafted by attaching a variety of tree with desirable top growth or fruiting characteristics to the rootstock of a tree with desirable rooting characteristics. The two parts are allowed to grow together to produce a plant that combines the desirable traits.
Count the number of years the loquat tree is planted in the landscape. Grafted loquat trees begin to produce fruit in two to three years and trees grown from seed produce fruit in eight to 10 years or longer.
Ask a representative from the place the tree was purchased or other supplier if the loquat tree was grafted. Most of the time, nursery stock is produced with customer satisfaction in mind. That includes grafting fruit trees so they have the most desirable characteristics. A plant nursery owner will know if the loquat tree was grafted.
Look for the graft line at the base of the tree just above the soil line. A graft line is the area where the top portion of one loquat tree was grafted to the lower portion of another. It is also known as a graft scar. The area is raised and you can clearly see the scar tissue, or rough overgrowth, around the site of the graft. This area should stay above the soil surface. If the graft line is buried, the desirable top portion above the graft can die. When this happens, the tree will grow from the root section and may not produce the best fruit crop, or fruit production may be delayed several years.