Our Loquat Tree is Dead!

After last year’s drought during the winter and minimal watering during the summer due to water restrictions, I guess we overdid it.  We think that our loquat tree is succumbing to fireblight.  Even after the wetter winter we had, the loquat leaves are brown and drooping, the fruit is teeny tiny and on some parts, blackened and bare.

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We have had this tree since we purchased the house and it has always had this split bark area which can’t be healthy.

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So we are going to cut down the tree, pull it out and start over with a different fruit tree that isn’t susceptible to fireblight. My family loves eating loquat and you cannot find them in grocery stores, so it will be sad to see this one go. Maybe we can plant a loquat in a different location.  Most people probably don’t realize there are different varieties of loquats. After some research, I’m looking at:

Big Jim

Originated in San Diego, Calif. by Jim Neitzel. Large, roundish to oblong fruit, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Skin pale orange-yellow, medium-thick, easy to peel. Flesh orange-yellow, very sweet but with some acidity, of excellent flavor. Ripens midseason, March to April. Tree vigorous, upright, highly productive.

Champagne

‘Champagne’ (Japanese), often misidentified as ‘Early Red’. Selected and introduced into cultivation in California by C. P. Taft around 1908. Elongated pear-shaped, often oblique; small to large (depending on where it is grown); skin pale-golden to deep-yellow, thick, tough, astringent; flesh white or yellow, soft, juicy, mild and subacid to sweet; of excellent flavor. There are 3 to 5 seeds. Midseason to late. Prolific; fruits borne in large clusters. Perishable; good for preserving. Tree has long, narrow, pointed leaves; is self -infertile. 2

Tanaka

Shape commonly obovoid, weight 2 to 3 ounces. L. Trabut says of it: “Tanaka is characterized by a beautiful color, remarkable size, firm flesh of rich color, agreeable perfume, and little acidity. The proportion of flesh to seeds is large. This loquat owes to the consistence of its flesh unusual keeping quality, – -it can be handled without turning black. Left for a week it wrinkles and dries but does not rot. Among the plants, grafted on quince, which were introduced from Japan, two subvari-eties can be distinguished; one with pear-shaped fruits, the other subspherical. Tanaka is vigorous, the leaf a little narrower than in our loquats. The tree is productive.” Tanaka is famed as the largest loquat in Japan, and one of the best. It has been planted in Algeria and in California.

For a tree replacement at the loquat tree location, I’m looking to find a Golden Nugget standard mandarin tree. We want something large enough to shade the house somewhat and where the fruit will be high enough that it will be a challenge for the neighborhood foraging little old ladies.

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