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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Well, I am no expert on trees, particularly loquat trees, but I do have some thoughts. First, it possibly is the result of sapsucker damage, but may not be. If it is dying due to a disease, and you put another in that spot, it could die too. Perhaps you can contact your county agent or master gardener's or extension service (all inter-related) for advice. Trees can come back from insect or disease damage, but might not. It is still early for your region, to assess for signs of life, I would say wait until late April to really see if it is coming back. If it does, it may not be a vigorous tree anymore, or for a couple years. It still may die. In other words, you might have quicker results planting a healthy young tree, with the reminder about it being risky to plant in the same location.
You might consider pruning the tree a little, if possible, after your last frost date, and not feed it just yet, but feed it if you see active growth in late spring.
Good luck with it. I hate when trees die.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 9:51AM
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