Considering planting a loquat tree in that spare corner of your expansive garden? Here’s all you need to know about loquat tree care and cultivation.
For those of you who’ve never heard of loquat, it is an Asian fruit, the evergreen trees of which abundantly span across the subtropical regions along and adjacent to the southeastern coastline of China. When ripe, the orange-colored, deliciously sweet fruits are succulent and fleshy with their cores containing large, dark brown colored seeds. The flowers themselves are a delight to the nostrils as their strong and intoxicatingly sweet aroma drifts across miles and one can smell a loquat fruit orchard way ahead of even catching a glimpse of the trees! For those of you considering planting one, or cultivating an orchard on their own lands, congratulations! You’ve made the most wonderful gardening decision of many years to come as besides attractively decking up and irresistibly aromatizing your property premises, these evergreen trees will provide you with some of the sweetest, juiciest exotic fruits you’ve ever tasted in your life! To know all about loquat tree care, read right ahead.
How to Grow Loquat Tree
When it comes to loquat tree planting, you can either grow one from seeds or from vegetatively cultivated parts. Growing a loquat tree from seed may be ideal if you intend to cultivate the plant for ornamental purposes. However, if you intend your plant to produce abundant edible fruits on reaching maturity, it is best to cultivate it from vegetatively propagated tree cuttings such as those obtained by veneer grafting or shield budding. The ideal soil type for growing a loquat plant should be one that is neither too sandy, nor too high on clay content. You see, neither a too easily draining soil nor one that tends towards sogginess, due to excess water retention, is good for a loquat to grow well and produce healthy flowers that will turn into fruits.
Basic Tips for Loquat Tree Care
Similar to most tropical evergreen cultivars, caring for loquats is not at all a fussy task and taking care of the basics is all that it takes to keep these plants in excellent, blossoming condition. The tips provided here pertain to the issues of soil nutrition, watering requirements, use of fertilizer and tree grooming.
♣ Soil Composition
Loquat trees can grow well in neutral, acidic as well as alkaline soil conditions. However, the major soil issue with these trees is that of perfect moisture balance. Too dry or too soggy soil is detrimental to the growth of loquat flowers and blossoms and care must be taken to ensure that the soil remains moist, yet not muddy, for best results.
♣ Soil Nutrition
Fertilizers should be added to the growing soil regularly, till the plant matures and starts flowering. Slow releasing fertilizers with a granular texture and a balanced plant nutrition composition are ideal for the healthy growth of loquat trees. Once flowering starts, stop adding fertilizer to the soil altogether. Using organic mulch along with fertilizers is a good idea. However, take care not to use too much organic mulch as the micro organisms that decompose this kind of mulch often strip the surrounding soil of essential botanical nutrients such as nitrogen.
♣ Amount and Frequency of Watering
The amount of water to irrigate would totally depend upon whether or not you want your loquat tree to produce fruits. Fruiting trees require more water than just-flowering ornamental trees. Loquat trees grow at a rapid rate during the months between spring and autumn and this is the time when you should water loquat trees the most. However, take care not to irrigate these trees with more than an inch of water and the frequency of irrigation should be restricted to once a week. This frequency should be reduced to one inch twice a week as soon as the tree starts flowering, which usually begins with the onset of the early part of winter.
Loquat leaves are often susceptible to fungal diseases if proper air circulation within the foliage is not ensured. For this purpose, regular trimming of overgrown foliage and entangled branches is advised to keep the internal boughs and leaves well aired to avoid fungal growths. However, pruning should not invade the canopic outline as this would mar the beauty of your plant’s silhouette. When the branches get laden with clusters of fruits in the winters, plucking away some from each cluster before they ripen keeps the branches from snapping under their weight, and also helps the remaining fruits to grow bigger and juicier. Keep a lookout for aphids and birds. Aphids may infests and damage the foliage of your trees, while birds cause a lot of damage to the fruits, scattering more than they can eat.