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How to Prune a Loquat Tree

By Joyce Starr ; Updated September 21, 2017

Loquat trees (Eriobotrya japonica) are members of the family Rosaceae, which includes apples, nectarines, peaches and pears. They also are known as Japanese plums. The loquat tree will produce fruit only in the subtropical and mild temperature regions of the United States. Loquat trees will benefit from regular pruning. The tree can reach a height of 20 to 30 feet and pruning will allow the gardener to more easily harvest the yellow plum fruits.

Sharpen the tools and sterilize them in solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent bleach. This reduces the chance of disease entering through the pruning wound.

Prune 1- to 2-year-old trees to force them to branch out and have a fuller canopy, cutting back by 1/3 all branches that are 2 to 3 feet long. Cut the branch just above a leaf eye to promote new branches to form there.

Prune branches on young and mature trees that are growing across another branch. Trim the offending branch where it is connected to the branch you want to keep. Select a branch to be the central one and remove any competing branches.

Trim mature trees after harvesting the fruit by cutting them back by 1/3. This helps to control the trees' size and increase vigor.

Trim out the central section of the tree to allow it to receive light if the tree has grown too thick. Cut off several branches in the center of the tree to open it up to light.


Things You Will Need

  • Sharpening stone
  • Bleach
  • Pruning tools


  • With proper and regular pruning, loquat trees can be maintained at a height of 6 to 12 feet. This will make harvesting the fruit easier.
  • Thin the fruit by allowing four to 10 unripened plums to remain on each terminal. Thinning will increase the size of the plums.

About the Author


For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.