BRONZE LOQUAT (Eriobotrya deflexa)

Bronze Loquat is a beautiful, small, broad-leaf evergreen tree.

Bronze Loquat is a beautiful, small, broad-leaf evergreen tree.

Is it a good street tree? You decide. These specimens are about 40 years old. Usually I see this tree as a large shrub, I have even used it as an espalier against a building. This is in San leandro in the east bay area.

It has beautiful branching structure and is usually multi-trunked.

It has beautiful branching structure and is usually multi-trunked.

These have been pruned up to be able drive under. The smooth bark is quite attractive, but scars easily. In a different setting the trunk and branches would look outstanding with lights highlighting them from below. Notice how small the planting area is.

The white flowers in the spring are beautiful and have a slightly sweet fragrance.

The white flowers in the spring are beautiful and have a slightly sweet fragrance.

These flowers later become small dry fruit, that fall in mass. In fact the tree is quite messy, with a combination of the large leaves and fruit falling for most of the year. Scale insects and aphids can be a problem too, resulting in sooty mold and aphid dew covering the cars parked under them. The fruit are not nearly as messy as the Loquat tree grown for its edible fruit (Eriobotrya japonica), a tree that would be a disaster in this situation.

Obviously these are tough trees, they receive no irrigation and this specimen has no planting area left at all!

Obviously these are tough trees, they receive no irrigation and this specimen has no planting area left at all!

The inevitable paving heave is occurring and it appears that areas of the sidewalk have been replaced before. This is a problem with most trees used as street trees. I love the bronzy new leaves of this tree, it’s bark, trunk and canopy are outstanding, but it’s litter and insect problems would rule it out for me to choose; If you park under it for just a few hours, you need to wash your car! Great tree in a different setting, what do you think?

Loquat Tree (Eriobotrya Japonica)

Here is a Loquat Tree (Eriobotrya japonica) that I stumbled across in Old Town Folsom while reading a response to my post on the Bronze Loquat Tree (Eriobotrya deflexa), serendipitous? Here, it is not used as a street tree, but its close. It has already bloomed and the clusters of fruit are forming. It has a nice multi-trunked form to it, the leaves are not as glossy and there is no bronze new foliage.

It has smooth bark too, but a darker grey with brown and at times almost velvety in appearance. This specimen has had some poor pruning in the past, and maybe some physical damage from an accident? They can get fire blight, but it’s not a common problem.

It really does have a beautiful branching structure, and I love the mottled bark. The leaves are larger than the Bronze Loquat, and very leathery

The fruit in clusters will grow to about the size of Apricots, yellow to orange in color and have very large seeds inside. I have seen them volunteer in many gardens and suspect that is how many of them get planted. This tree would make an even worse urban street tree than the Bronze Loquat because it has all of the same problems plus very messy fruit that would require cleanup. It would probably attract rodents, as I have seen this in very overgrown gardens. But in the right place (not over paving, or in a lawn) I wouldn’t hesitate to plant either one of these trees.

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