How to Prune a Guava Tree

Overview

The guava (Psidium guajava and other species) is a delicious tropical fruit that grows wild in many parts of Hawaii and other places. Guavas are evergreen and can grow to 30 feet high. The fruit is seedy and 2 to 4 inches long. In the tropics, if you don't prune your guavas they can take over your property. Some species of guava are suited to cooler climates, such as the California coast as far north as Mendocino County. You can grow the smaller varieties of guava in containers and then move them indoors in the winter to protect them from cold.

Pruning Guava Trees

Step 1

Prune your guava liberally to shape it to fit the space in which it grows. You can cut some guavas all the way to the ground with a chainsaw if necessary---they will respond by growing back with vigor.

Step 2

Remove water shoots and suckers when you first notice them appearing from the base of the plant. This helps to keep the plant compact and tidy and encourages growth of the main trunk and branches.

Step 3

Train your guava as a hedge or screen by keeping it pruned in an espalier shape. The University of Hawaii Extension recommends that you train guavas after three to four months of planting.

Step 4

Cut your guava to form a low, large canopy bush, which will make harvesting the fruit easier---it will also make the guava into a nice shade tree for your yard.

Tips and Warnings

  • The strawberry guava (P. cattleianum) is a serious invasive species in many parts of Hawaii. Hawaii Ecosystems at Risk strongly urges all residents not to plant this species because it chokes out native forests and causes native trees, such as the 'ohia, to compete for space and sun and eventually die.

Things You'll Need

  • Clippers
  • Large loppers
  • Tree saw or hack saw
  • Chain saw (optional)

References

  • CRFG
  • University of Hawaii Extension
  • Strawberry guava danger
Keywords: guava pruning, tree care, tropical fruit

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides.com and eHow.com. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.