The loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica) produces yellowish, orange 1- to 2-inch sized fruits that are consumed raw, in fruit salads and even manufactured into wine. A few cultivars are self-fertile but others require both a male and female to produce fruit. Bees readily work as sufficient pollinators. The tree grows between 10 to 30 feet in height and prefers sub-tropical environments with mild temperatures. It does not tolerate hot, dry air or winds well.
The loquat prefers to be planted in full sunlight to partial shade. The tree enjoys well-drained soil with only moderate nutrients and can withstand even heavy clay soil. It can easily thrive when planted in containers.
The loquat produces abundant, sweet fruit when regular watering is maintained. The tree is drought tolerant but prefers moist soil conditions. Flood or standing-water conditions will quickly kill the trees.
Fertilizing is often recommended three times a year using a 6-6-6 fertilizer, but if excessive foliage is obtained instead of flower production, then fertilizing should only occur once a year in mid-winter according to the California Rare Fruit Growers.
Pruning of the loquat should occur after the fruit harvest. Removal of a few limbs to increase air circulation and allow sunlight into the core of the tree is ideal.
Fire blight (Erwinia amylovora) infects the loquat in the spring. The fungus is easily spread by bees. It flourishes in areas that are rainy. Control can be obtained with the use of fungicides.
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