Organic Gardening

How to trim a loquat / níspero tree

A few weeks ago in the organic gardens we worked with the loquat / níspero tree. This tree gives little orange fruits with black pits in April/May. In the beginning of February the blossoms are starting to fall and it’s obvious, which flowers have been pollinated because little green fruits appear.

Last year the Níspero trees did not get enough water (they don’t grow just anywhere here in this dry desert landscape), which resulted in fruits that were too little to eat. To prevent this from happening again we decided to reduce the amount of fruits on the tree, so the water and nutrients are concentrated to fewer fruits, which hopefully then have enough supplies to grow big and juicy.

With four volunteers we went to Far Terrace and started the job. It’s an easy task, without a lot of thinking, so while manoeuvring between the branches, reaching high and far, conversations began and stories were told. It’s always surprising how much easier people talk while our hands and eyes are focused on something else, a certain shyness falls away.

At the end of each branch (they are very flexible and it’s fun to grab them and carefully bend them close to you) there is a bunch of young  fruits and old blossoms and with your hands you can clean away the dried flowers and pluck the little loquats, so that only the four fattest ones are left.

It’s strange to ‘molest’ a tree and ruin little green fruits who are trying so hard, but if you hear that it’s this or nothing you have to think rationally and realise that we are gardening here and that it’s sometimes necessary to modify nature a little to be able to pick the fruits of life.

– Blog post written by our volunteer Mathu