Position – Loquat trees need full sun to provide more fruit and to grow fast. They can tolerate some shade but will not be as productive.
Size – This tree grows about 7 metres tall with a canopy that spreads 4 to 5 metres wide. Plan the site before planting and keep the tree away from external walls, electrical lines and other trees.
Soil Type – Loquats prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of between 5.5 and 6. Your normal garden soil works well, but, if it does not drain well, use acid compost.
Mulch – This tree has shallow roots. So, add a thick layer of pine bark mulch (keeping it about 20 to 30 centimetres away from the tree trunk). This will keep the soil moist and the weeds at bay, especially when the tree is young.
Watering – Water your loquat tree every second day after transplanting it for the first week. Thereafter, reduce your watering to twice a week in dry or hot weather for the next 2 to 3 months. Once the tree is established, do not water it close to the trunk of the tree. Water it every couple of weeks if there is no rain. Too much water can cause root rot.
Pruning – Prune the top and sides of your loquat tree regularly in spring and early autumn to prevent it from growing too large. This will also allow light into the centre of the tree, making it easier to harvest the fruit. Cut out dead or diseased branches completely whenever they appear and dispose of them immediately.
Pests – Loquat trees are quite resistant to most diseases and insect damage. A teaspoon of Neem oil mixed with a litre of water and 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle works well for all of your fruit trees and plants. The mixture only lasts for about 8 hours. So, when you have finished spraying, pour the remainder onto the soil around the tree as it is also good for the soil.
Harvesting – Wait for the loquats to change from green to yellow. They are ripe when they pull off the stem easily and are slightly soft to the touch.