Is my Loquat Tree dead?

stuart_2008(7 GA)March 10, 2009

I live in Atlanta, GA and have a loquat tree. It came with the house and is probably 10 or 15 years old, 20 feet tall, fully mature. It is an evergreen and should have a tree full of leaves. It started having problems last Spring and the number of leaves and live branches started being reduced. I believe it was the victim of a yellow-bellied sap sucker as I saw it pecking on it last winter and sap was really coming out of it. This winter I covered the trunk with tarp and no further damage was done. However, the tree has continued to lose leaves and now only has maybe 2% of the leaves it should have and these may dry up in a few weeks. When I scrape some of the bark back I do see some green in the inner bark. It appears this tree is dead or dieing. I see no new leaves beginning to pop up and no sign of life other than the green in the inner bark.

Is there any chance that this tree snaps out of it and produces new leaves and is able to survive? What are your thoughts? I purchased a new tree and I would like to put it in the ground asap. If the loquat is going to die, I want the new tree to go in its spot. Otherwise, it would go elsewhere (i.e., I don't want to wait forever to see if the Loquat bounces back).

Please advise.

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I think zone 7 is at the edge of this tree's hardiness range. In fact some sites put the edge at zone 8. We had some pretty cold weather this year - it got down to 10 degrees in Cherokee County one night this year. I think there is a chance the tree will recover and put out new leaves, especially given that you have seen green under the bark. I think it just got shocked. Give it some time, even until May.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 10:50PM
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Loquat is one of my favorite plants. I love its bold, tropical looking foliage and its clusters of ivory-colored flowers in the late fall.

I agree with esh ga that you'd be wise to give your loquat (_Eriobotrya japonica_) a chance to recover from whatever ails it before removing it from your landscape. If there is considerable limb loss, do you think the loquat could be suffering from fire blight, which is a common affliction of members of its plant family? It may be a good idea to consult the University of Florida's Agricultural Extension Service, which should have its publications on the Internet, to see what U of FL Extension has to say about loquat maladies. The Floridata database would be another good source of information about the loquat.

Re: the woodpecker. Do you think he/she may have discovered an insect of some kind that was harming the loquat? Maybe the tree has an insect problem, rather than a problem with fire blight.

I further agree with esh ga that loquat is marginally hardy in Zone 7b; however, the gradual loss of leaves doesn't sound like cold injury to me. If injured by the cold, the leaves of the loquat would be brown around the edges, or entirely brown, with the tip growth killed or obviously burned.

I have young loquats planted as foundation shrubs at the northwest corner of my house. They've been in the ground for only a couple of years. My loquats endured at least one approximately 10 degree Fahrenheit low this past winter and several other nights in the low to mid-teens. They apparently came through the cold well, with only a few leaves showing any injury.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 3:22PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Do you ever get fruit from your loquats?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:46PM
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My loquats are just beginning to gain enough size and maturity to bloom. I hope to see blossoms on them this coming fall. According to what I've read about loquats and observed in our Zone 7b landscape, one cannot expect to have loquat fruit in Zone 7b since the fruit forms and matures during the winter. One can expect the loquat to mature a successful fruit crop in the South Carolina Low Country, South Georgia, Florida, and other regions of the Gulf Coast. I've occasionally seen fruit on Zone 7b loquats during exceptionally warm winters but not a bumper crop.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 10:33AM
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I have occasionally had a little bit of fruit on my loquats but usually there is a freeze that freezes the winter blooms which keeps them from developing the fruit. When it does have fruit, be sure and plant the seeds in a pot and you will get baby loquat trees. That way you can replace it if you do have a really cold freeze that kills it. I had a large one against my house for years that was killed by a hard freeze one winter. But the young ones I have now have been growing here for about 10 years and they are surviving the winter ok so far.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 3:05PM
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Please help! We fell in love with the Loquat tree and recently planted one (which I believe is 4 yrs. old) It has fruit when we planted it.(Planted 4/5 weeks ago) Now the leaves are falling, but still has new growth. The leaves are brown. Where can I find info to care for it or find out what's wrong with it before it dies? Thanks in advance, Deb Weber, Calabash, NC

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 5:47PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

This is the normal time for Loquats to loose some leaves and make new ones! Just after fruiting. Don't worry. Lots around Atlanta are loosing some leaves and making some new ones.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 5:18PM
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Google the following search terms: _eriobotrya japonica floridata_ or _loquat floridata_. Floridata is an excellent database of horticultural information. Also consult the University of Florida's Agricultural Extension Service Database to retrieve their published document on the cultivation of loquats. Google _University of Florida Agricultural Extension Loquat_, or some such phrase. You will probably find USDA publications on the loquat by Googling _USDA loquat_.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 11:12AM
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