Loquat

Health Power

A great fruit low in saturated fat and sodium while high in a few vitamins, minerals and fiber. Good to eat while trying to lose weight. Vitamin A, a protective antioxidant, promotes eyesight, especially night vision. Also helps maintain healthy teeth, immune system, and skeletal and soft tissue (skin and membranes around organs). Fiber adds bulk to a meal, giving a full feeling faster that may help control weight. Promotes smooth digestion and lowers elevated cholesterol and blood sugar. B vitamins are necessary to encourage the breakdown (catabolism) and buildup (anabolism) of compounds in foods and vital nutrients needed for healthy function, respectively. Vitamin B6 helps immune system produce antibodies and break down proteins. Vitamin B12 helps form red blood cells and, with potassium, helps maintain healthy nerve function. Potassium also reduces elevated blood pressure and helps maintain proper functioning of muscle cells. Manganese is an important cofactor for enzymes involved with many functions like disarming free radicals, forming bone/cartilage, metabolism and wound healing.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Vitamins – A, B6 (Pyridoxine) and B12 (Cobalamins)
Minerals – Manganese and Potassium

Disease Prevention

Loquats may help defend against infectious diseases while helping lower risk or symptoms of diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancers of the lung, skin, breast, liver, colon and prostate.

How to Grow

Comes from an evergreen tree native to subtropics. Find a healthy transplant at a trusted local nursery. Choose a site with full sun and enough space away from buildings or other trees. Grows to average 20-30 feet. Spring is fruiting season. If spring frosts are a concern, plant in warmest part of garden. Tolerates many soil consistencies. Main requirement is good drainage. Dig a hole three times deeper than the root structure and triple the diameter of the tree. Work in plenty of aged compost or planting mix to the soil dug out. Fill the hole a bit and place the tree so that the top of the root crown matches ground level. Fill hole and pack down a bit. If your area has a low water table or is prone to flooding, plant tree higher in a raised mound. After planting, lay down a thick layer of mulch over the root zone, taking care to leave about a foot between base of trunk and mulch layer. Water thoroughly after planting. Water every other day for first 4 weeks, unless it’s raining. After a few years of growth, water tree only during longer dry periods and during fruiting. Fertilize every few months the first year and every 4-6 months every subsequent year. During fruiting season, remove half the loquats when they are pea size to increase fruit size and quality. Throughout the first couple years, prune shoots after harvest by tipping them when they reach 2-3 feet long. Prune older trees to restrain their growth. When pruning, aim to increase sun exposure and airflow to all foliage while promoting strong, healthy fruiting. When effectively pruned, loquat trees can be maintained around 10 feet.

Insect Control

Main pests are birds and bees. If both are present at full force during fruiting season, preserve the fruit by bagging each cluster. Also try setting out hanging traps for bees and growing other trees, such as mulberry, to attract birds.

Tips

Don’t plant grass near the base of trunk. Lawn mowing and weed eating can damage and even kill the tree. If planting in a windy, exposed area, stake the tree the first few years.

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