My Loquat Tree Is Dropping Fruit – Why Are Loquats Dropping Off Tree
By: Teo Spengler
Few fruits are prettier than the loquat – small, bright and downy. They look especially striking in contrast to the large, dark-green leaves of the tree. That makes it particularly sad when you notice premature loquat fruit drop. Why is my loquat tree dropping fruit, you may ask? For information about loquats dropping off trees in your orchard, read on.
Why is My Loquat Tree Dropping Fruit?
Loquats (Eriobotrya japonica) are lovely little trees native to mild or subtropical areas of China. They are evergreen trees that grow to 20 feet (6 m.) tall with an equal spread. They are excellent shade trees thanks to their glossy, tropical looking leaves. Each leaf can row to 12 inches (30 cm.) long by 6 inches (15 cm.) wide. Their undersides are soft to the touch.
Flowers are fragrant but not colorful. The panicles are gray, and produce fruit clusters of four or five yellow-orange loquats. Flowers appear in late summer or even early autumn, pushing the fruit harvest into late winter or early spring.
Sometimes, you may find that your loquat tree is dropping fruit. When you see fruit falling from a loquat tree in your home orchard, inevitably you want to know why this is happening.
Since loquats develop in autumn and ripen in spring, it’s usually winter when you see fruit falling from a loquat tree in this country. There are several possible causes for loquat fruit drop.
Loquat fruit doesn’t do well when the temperatures drop. The tree is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10. It tolerates temperatures down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 C.). If winter temperatures fall below this, you can lose much of the fruit from the tree, or even all of it. As a gardener, you are at the mercy of winter weather when it comes to viable fruit.
Another possible reason your loquat tree is dropping fruit is sunburn. High heat and bright sunshine will cause a sunburn response called purple spot. In hotter areas of the world, those with long summers, purple spot causes much fruit loss. Growers apply chemical sprays to speed up the ripening of fruit to prevent sunburn. In Brazil, they tie bags over the fruit to keep them out of the sun.
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Read more about Loquat Trees
Loquat Tree Diseases
The loquat is a dense evergreen tree native to the continent of Asia. This moderate-sized fruit tree has glossy, dark green foliage with copper-colored undersides. It produces fragrant white flowers which develop yellowish to orange-colored, pear-shaped fruit with a sweet yet acidic flavor. The loquat blooms in the late summer to fall months and harvests its fruit in the winter. With a moderate drought and salt tolerance, the loquat is susceptible to several diseases which can disfigure and stunt the tree’s overall health.
June Fruit Drop Causes
Fruit trees start their thinning process early in the season by shedding unpollinated flowers. This rarely alarms anyone and often goes unnoticed we chalk it up to the wind or the weather. But when fruit starts to fall, it becomes more alarming unless you understand biology.
Fruit trees set fruit to produce seeds. Too large a crop will strain the tree’s resources and result in smaller fruit that's lesser in quality. So the tree protects itself, its fruit, and its seed by automatically thinning the crop once the growing conditions are stable. Since the immature fruits are all competing for the same food and water, the June drop ensures that only the strongest survive. The fruit that contains the fewest seeds is usually the first to drop.The Spruce / K. Dave
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Weather affects fruit development in many ways. If the weather is too cold when blooms appear, bees may not be available for pollination. Flower buds may suffer freeze damage and fail to develop. Rain may keep bees away during critical bloom periods. Pollinated flowers may form fruit that fails to develop when temperatures are too cold or if sufficient sunlight is not available when blooms appear. While the weather cannot be controlled, blooms can be protected from freezing weather by covering them with tarps or blankets when temperatures drop much below freezing.
Fruit-damaging insects are a serious problem for gardeners. Fruit flies, apple maggots, caterpillars and plum curculio damage the plums, which eventually drop from the tree. Plums damaged by insects are usually scarred or rotted and the causes are easily traced to insects present.
Phytophthora crown and root rot is a fungal infection that attacks many woody plants. It kills the inner bark and prevents the tree from receiving all the nutrients it needs. Leaves are usually the first part of a loquat tree to show symptoms, and they tend to wilt and die rapidly. This fungus can mimic the symptoms of drought stress, but it usually occurs in locations with poor drainage where the tree's roots remain wet at all times. Avoid watering established trees close to the trunk to reduce the risk of fungal infection and destroy seriously infected specimens to keep the condition from spreading.
Too much or too little of a given soil nutrient can cause loquat trees to droop and develop discolored leaves. Loquats do best when they receive regular, light applications of a balanced fertilizer. Too much nitrogen reduces the tree's ability to flower. Too little of many minerals causes the tree to develop stunted, slow-growing leaves that may wilt. Because many nutritional problems look the same, it's important to test the soil around your loquat before treating this issue with fertilizer.