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Brittle tamarillo tree

I PLANTED a tamarillo tree about 18 months ago and this year it has produced lots of fruit. Unfortunately, I lost two branches in windy weather. I am not sure why they broke - presumably a combination of fruit on the branch and a gust of wind. How can I stop this from happening in the future? Do I need to remove the fruit so the branch is not so heavy, or should I support the branches from underneath? The tree is not in an exposed area of the garden.


TAMARILLOS are susceptible to breaking in the wind. The combination of large leaves and the weight of fruit can put quite a stress on their relatively brittle branches.

I would try to support the branches in some way rather than remove fruit. You could perhaps prop them up with pieces of wood, one end on the ground, the other supporting the branch. Place a pad on top of the support to minimise rubbing damage to the branch at the point of contact. Or you may be able to use long strips of cloth or plastic to hook around weak branches and tie them up to the main trunk or stronger ones higher up the tree.

Provide as much shelter as possible without creating shade. Once the fruit has been picked, remove the props and ties to encourage the branches to support their own weight as much as possible.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 173, 2005, Page 28

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: October 25, 2005