Sub-Tropical but not Sub-Par
The Loquat Tree (Eriobotrya japonica) is classified as a sub-tropical fruit tree, which means it’s a bit hardier than true tropical fruit trees. This is great news for gardeners who live in U.S. plant hardiness zones 7 through 10! Loquat fruit is an exotic choice for the gardener who wants to grow “outside the box” and enjoy this delectable fruit. Although tiny -- typically only 2 inches long -- loquats are bursting with a sweet juiciness that is sometimes described as a cross between an apricot and a plum!
It’s All Relative
The Loquat Tree is actually related to apple, pear, peach and nectarine trees. But unlike these spring-flowering relatives, the evergreen Loquat Tree blossoms in fall through winter and rewards you with its harvest in late winter!
One Loquat Tree will bear fruit without another tree nearby for cross-pollination. However, cross-pollination definitely increases the fruit set. So the recommendation from our horticulturists is to plant more than one tree to enjoy maximum fruit production!
Two Insider Growing Tips
1. Because Loquat Trees are susceptible to injury from lawn mowers and string trimmers, mulch around your tree -- at least 5 feet away from the trunk. These trees are not only weakened by mechanical-injury trunk damage, but they can also die from their injuries.
2. Loquat tree roots extend well beyond their drip line, which is the imaginary line around the tree where rainwater falls to the ground. So if you plant your Loquat Tree in the lawn where you fertilize the grass heavily, the tree roots take up the excess fertilization. This may sound like a good idea -- to fertilize your tree at the same time as your lawn -- but the excess fertilization may actually reduce the fruit set of your tree. The solution is easy: simply avoid heavy fertilization of your lawn near these fruit trees!