The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) grows as a small evergreen tree or shrub. It rarely exceeds 30 feet in height and normally averages only 10 feet. Large clusters of 1- to 2-inch fruits grow in profusion. A few cultivars offer self-pollination, but others require a pollinator planted close by. Pollination occurs from bees. The tree can withstand temperatures down to 10 degrees F before death. Fruit is destroyed if the temperature falls to 27 degrees F.
Choose a planting location with full sunlight for maximum fruit production. It will tolerate partial shade but fruit production will be reduced. The loquat prefers well-draining soil that is slightly acidic with a pH 5.5 to 6.5. Sandy loam is ideal but the tree will tolerate a wide variety of soils.
Mix aged manure and peat moss into the soil when planting the loquat. Abundant organic material is appreciated by the tree.
Water the loquat frequently. The tree prefers moist soil during fruit production but will tolerate drought at other times.
Fertilize the tree three times per year in the spring, summer and fall using a 6-6-6 general purpose fertilizer. Apply 1 pound per tree. Water the fertilizer into the soil completely.
Prune the loquat tree after fruit harvest. Remove any branches that criss-cross. Remove the tips of the branches to encourage branching.
Harvest loquats when fully ripe. Loquats do not ripen once removed from the tree and unripe fruit is exceedingly acidic to the taste.