Loquat died

I am in the process of establishing a mixed orchard. The area is warm temperate, 33 degrees south, elevation 130 ft (40m) with about 44in (1100mm) average annual rainfall, that tends to fall in heavy eratic bursts. The soil is clay silt and quite fertile on a gentle slope. Each tree has been planted in full sun, in a dug over plot about 1.5 m (5ft) wide with added compost and gypsum and mounded up to improve drainage. The basic soil pH is about 5.5 amended to about 6.5 with garden lime except for the acid-lovers. My understanding is that the loquat prefers acid conditions so it got no lime.
The trees were planted about 3 months ago and while the middle of a hot summer (30 to 40 C, 90 to 100 F) is not the ideal time to plant that is when we got some good rain and around here you have to take such chances. All trees were well watered in and have been deep watered regularly when it didn't rain. Nearly all trees (citrus, stone fruits, pomes, mulberry, feijoa, fig etc) are doing well, some spectacularly so.
The exception is the loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) which was quite healthy in its pot before planting and seemed to establish properly. However it has not put on any new growth, then about six weeks ago its leaves slowly turned brown and crunchy while still attached and now it is dead. It looks like it wasn't watered at all which is not the case, nor has it been waterlogged. I suspect that it has had root problems (some sort of wilt?) but I am not aware of any such conditions that the loquat is likely to get.
What killed it?
David
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Loquats are susceptible to fire blight. I believe many rose related fruit trees are too. It is bacterial in nature and can be spread with pruners.( clean with alcohol) Do a web search for fire blight. I think they treat it with copper. take care Mike Oakland sunset 17
David Hare-Scott wrote:

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Thanks for information, from what I have read the signs do look like fire blight.
My searching suggests that disease has not been found in Australia (except I think for a very isolated outbreak in 1997 that was controlled). Most of the hits I got go on about the risk of it entering the country and the disputes about the severity of quarantine regulations that are designed to keep the bacterium out.
Australia is thankfully free of many plant and animal diseases and for this reason people get VERY touchy about the subject. I think if there had been any recent reports of it in Oz there would have been huge headlines - which are not evident.
Do you have any other thoughts as to what it might be?
David
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My condolences. I grew up in a former botanical garden (Mandeville Cyn., Santa Monica) and those loquats were sooooooo delicious. zemedelec
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Try << hort.perdue.edu >> for a lot of info on loquat culture including descriptions of several other fungal and bacterial diseases which attack loquats.
None of them, however, seems to be a good match for the symptoms you've described, and, in general, loquats aren't much troubled by pests or diseases. Scale is the most serious pest.
Nematodes can attack the roots of loquats and cause sudden wilting. Their presence is revealed by galls on the roots.
Hope you find out something soon.
J. Del Col
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"J. Del Col" wrote [in part]:

<hort.perdue.edu> is not a valid domain.
--

David E. Ross
<http://www.rossde.com/
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wrong time of year for fb (erwinia) http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=erwinia+fireblight
since you chekced basic moisture, drainage, i'd look to australia type problems.
or just try again in the fall.

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As the other responder said, it sounds like fire blight.
The bacterium is spread by insects and rain splash. Control of insects presents problems because bees can spread fire blight too.
Treatment is preventive and includes the use of streptomycin and copper hydroxide or copper sulfate. Once a plant is seriously infected, it should be destroyed; there is no cure.
Look up "fire blight" on Google or some other search engine for more specifics.
Fire blight is a -big- problem for many varieties of pears, but can also attack apple trees and, as you found out, loquats.
J. Del Col
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btw, since you're in au, maybe you've noticed how shade tolernat hibbertia dentata is?
is it really that black in leaf color?
my heretofore unanswered post in this ng: Subject: Hibbertia dentata, how successful in shady location? Date: Sat, 3 Apr 2004 03:00:37 +0000 (UTC)
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