Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica or Mespilus japonica) is also called the Japanese plum. It is originally from China and Japan. This is an evergreen tree with large, six to twelve inch long and three to six broad dark glossy green leaves. The underside of the leaves is brown. The flowers are yellowish and fragrant. They grow in wooly clusters which are followed by edible, pear-shaped fruits. Loquat blooms in late fall and during the winter. The fruit ripens in the early spring. Some varieties of loquat are self-pollinating, but most require another tree to cross pollinate with or they will not produce fruit. Loquat trees grow to twenty to thirty feet, so make sure you plant it someplace that it has twenty to thirty feet of space so it can spread out without damaging anything. They grow in zones eight to ten.
Loquat needs to be planted in full sun to half shade. When planting a loquat tree, remove the tree from the pot. Rinse off the growing medium so that the roots are bare. This will allow them to make contact with the soil that they will be growing in. Make sure you plant the loquat so that the trunk is even with the soil marks on the tree. Water the loquat twice the first week, then weekly after that until it starts showing new growth.
If you want your loquat tree to grow well and produce good fruit, you need to focus on three things: good nutrition, water management, and weed control.
Loquat trees are heavy feeders. They need to be fertilized three times a year. Make sure you pick a fertilizer that does not contain a weed killer. The first year you plant your tree, use one third of a cup of fertilizer spread under the tree in the early spring, when the fruit is set, and when the fruit is almost ripe. Be sure to water the fertilizer in well each time. In the second and third year, use two thirds of a cup of fertilizer for each application. Again, water the fertilizer in well each time you apply it. Be sure you follow all label directions when using the fertilizer.
Loquat trees also need lots of water to produce good fruit. You should water them when the blossoms start to swell in the spring and a time or two when the fruit begins to ripen. Each time you water your loquat trees, put one inch of water under the entire canopy.
Loquat trees do not compete well with weeds. Pull all the weeds around the loquat tree for a distance of three feet. Be careful not to injure the shallow roots of the tree when you cultivate to kill the weeds. After the area is weed free, put three inches of mulch in the area to keep weeds from coming back. The mulch also cools the soil and holds in water. Make sure you leave a space of two to three inches between the mulch and the tree trunk.