Q. The leaves closest to the trunk of my two-year-old loquat have started turning yellow and falling off. New leaves have started to grow and they look fine. It was a 5 gal tree when I planted it. Last year the tree grew very well and produced a few loquats.This year the amount of fruit appears to have doubled but it has developed this leaf problem.
I did some research on loquat leaves turning yellow. They suggested overwatering might be the problem. I give it about 24 gals of water once a week. I checked the soil with a moisture meter and it does not show being wet.
A. I cannot give you any definite answers why your loquat has initiated leaf drop and yellowing of the leaves. I can tell you this; many leaves will yellow just before they drop from the tree so this type of yellowing just means that the leaves have died and will drop soon. The leaf color of loquat without chlorophyll is yellow.
When the tree has initiated the dropping of its leaves, the leaves will lose their chlorophyll and hence their green color. The remaining color after the chlorophyll has disappeared will be yellow due to the presence of carotenoid pigments which are masked by the presence of green chlorophyll.
Most likely this tree went through some sort of shock. This shock initiated leaf drop. The shock can be related to water, salts including salts from fertilizers, a light freeze, toxic chemicals or salts such as a high concentration of fertilizer applied to the leaves, etc.
The water-related problem can be from too much or not enough. For instance, if it went through a very dry spell it will drop its leaves. If the soil is too wet for an extended period, it will drop its leaves. If fertilizer was applied to close to the trunk or the rate was too high for the plant, it will drop its leaves.
There are two types of overwatering; one is related to the volume of water the plant is given while the other one relates to how frequently the water is applied. The overwatering I am talking about is applying water too often, not overwatering due to applying too much water in a single application. Once a week is not too often in my opinion unless you have a drainage problem.
If you do not think the soil has been too wet or you have not fertilized the tree by either applying fertilizer to the soil or spraying leaves, then I would just wait and see what happens.
If you applied fertilizer to the soil and you suspect the application was too strong, then flood the area with water and push the salts through the soils and away from the trunk and past the roots. That's probably the best I can do without more information.