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How to Care for Guava

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How to Care for Guava

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Asian varieties of guava are often eaten green. image by Yali Shi/stock.xchng

Overview

Guava trees are ornamental and also bear fruit that can be eaten green or fully ripe. Most Asian guava is sold green and is often served dipped in sugar and cinnamon. Growing a guava tree isn't difficult. With the proper care, feeding and pruning, your guava tree will bear fruit for many years. Guava is a tropical tree that will only grow in warm locations.

Step 1

Select a strong, healthy tree from a nursery In the spring. Choose a two-to-four foot tree in a three-gallon container. Taller trees in that size of a container may be root-bound and may have problems due to improper growth of the root system.

Step 2

Find a sunny location away from other trees, buildings or power lines. Guava trees can grow to 20 feet if not pruned. The location should be free from flooding and drain well after rainfall.

Step 3

Remove a three-to-ten foot diameter ring of grass and sod around the tree's location to allow for easier watering and care of the tree.

Step 4

Dig a hole with a shovel three-to-four times the diameter of the tree's root ball. Dig the hole three times as deep as the root ball. Digging the hole larger than the root ball will loosen the dirt to allow for more rapid root growth.

Step 5

Remove the tree from the pot. If it sticks, use a hand shovel to loosen the root ball in the container.

Step 6

Backfill the hole to to the point that the top of the root ball is just beneath the level of the adjacent soil.

Step 7

Place the tree in the hole and ensure the root ball is just beneath the eventual surface of the earth.

Step 8

Fill in the hole. Don't add fertilizer, compost or topsoil to the soil. If there are soil issues, like high salt content, mix new soil 1:1 with the existing soil. Guava can thrive in most soil types but can be sensitive to salty soil.

Step 9

Tamp the soil down around the tree to ensure there are no air pockets in the root structure.

Step 10

Stake the tree for the first year to ensure solid root growth. Use a soft, natural cotton to tie the tree. Harsh synthetic ropes or wire can damage the bark and tree.

Step 11

Fertilize the tree. Once planted, guava trees respond well to fertilization. The first year, fertilize your guava tree four to six times, using between one-fourth to one-half pound of balanced fertilizer. The second year, apply one-half to one pound, four to six times per year. The third year, one to 1.5 pounds of balanced fertilizer should be applied four to six times per year. After the third year, the tree should be fertilized four times per year. The amount of fertilizer applied each time varies as follows: Year four, 1.5 to 2.5 pounds; year five, 2.5 to 3.5 pounds; year six, 3.5 to four; year seven, four pounds to 4.5pounds; and year eight and older, 4.5 to five pounds.

Step 12

Apply nutritional sprays containing zinc, manganese, boron and molybdenum four times per year between April and September. The nutritional sprays may also contain iron.

Step 13

Apply iron chelate drenches between June and September to the roots to prevent iron deficiencies. The schedule for iron chelate drenches is as follows: Year one, one-half to three-fourths of an ounce; year two, three-fourths to one ounce; year three, one ounce to 1.5 ounces; year four, 1.5 to two ounces; year five and beyond, two to four ounces.

Step 14

Water the tree ever other day for the first week. Make sure the top three inches of the ground is thoroughly soaked. After the first week, water the tree one to two times per week for the first two years. Stop watering the guava during rainy seasons. After two years, the tree can be watered whenever the top few inches of soil are too dry. After watering, wait for the soil to dry before watering again.

Step 15

Mulch the tree to within eight to 12 inches of the trunk to control weeds. Hand weed the eight to 12 inches between the mulch and the trunk.

Step 16

Watch for insect infestations. Guava are susceptible to the Caribbean Fruit Fly, the Guava Moth, the Red Banded Thrip and the Guava White Fly. In some cases, covering the fruit with a paper bag will prevent the infestation, but in most cases it is still best to contact your county agricultural organization for help and advice.

Step 17

Prune your young guava tree at about one to two feet the second year to promote branching. During the first year, three or four lateral branches should be tipped at 24 to 36 inches to trigger further branching. Fruit-bearing trees should be kept to between three and 12 feet high. Trees taller than 12 feet are subject to tipping in some soils.

Tips and Warnings

  • Guava trees can also be susceptible to a number of diseases and nematodes. For the best way of treating these problems, consult your local county agricultural extension services.

Things You'll Need

  • Nursery guava tree
  • Shovel
  • Hand shovel
  • Tree stake
  • Soft cotton rope or string
  • Balanced fertilizer
  • Nutritional spray
  • Iron chelate
  • Mulch
  • Paper bags, in case of certain insect infestations
  • Pruning shears
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Bucket

References

  • How Not to Kill Your Guava Tree
  • Home Fruit Production - Guava
  • Tropical Guava Fruit Trees

Who Can Help

  • Guava Growing in the Florida Home Landscape
  • Guava General Information
  • How to Grow a Guava Tree
Keywords: fruit cultivation, guava tree, guava cultivation

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.

Photo by: Yali Shi/stock.xchng