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
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?