Guava Tree Pruning – How Do I Prune My Guava Tree
Guavas are a group of tropical trees in the Psidium genus that produce delicious fruit. Guava paste, juice, and preserves are important in the cuisines of Caribbean and Southeast Asian countries, and the fruits are eaten fresh or cooked. Today, the common guava (Psidium guajaba) is grown in places as far apart as Florida, Hawaii, India, Egypt, and Thailand. If you’re wondering how or when to prune guava trees, this article is for you.
How Do I Prune My Guava Tree?
Guava is a shrubby tree that grows densely and will attempt to spread horizontally along the ground. You can, therefore, choose to prune guavas into the shape of a tree or a bush, or even grow them as a hedge.
If you prune your guava in bush form, branches will emerge from near the ground. If you train your guava into a tree shape by selecting a single trunk, the fruiting limbs will emerge from 2 feet (0.5 m.) off the ground and up. In either case, it’s best not to allow your guava to grow taller than 10 feet (3 m.), or it could blow over in strong winds.
Now, let’s learn how to prune a guava properly to encourage its healthy growth and maximize fruit production.
Guava Tree Pruning Techniques
Three types of cuts are used on guava trees: thinning cuts, heading back, and pinching. Thinning helps counteract the tree’s dense growth to let light and air in to the inner branches, which helps them stay healthy and productive. It also makes the fruit easier to reach. To thin, simply remove some of the branches by cutting them at their base.
Pinching means removing the growing tip of shoots. Heading back means pruning individual branches to reduce their length. These techniques allow you to control the horizontal spread of the tree. Guava flowers on new growth, so these cuts also induce the tree to produce more flowers and fruit.
It is important to prune established trees regularly to prevent them from spreading away from the original planting location. Guavas have become invasive trees in some regions of Florida, Hawaii, and elsewhere. Remove any suckers that appear at the base of the tree or above the roots, and cut back branches that spread too far.
When to Prune Guava Trees
Prune guavas 3 to 4 months after planting to train them to the desired shape. If you are pruning yours to a tree shape, select a single trunk and 3 or 4 lateral (side) branches. Remove all other shoots. Pinch back the tips of the selected side branches when they are 2 to 3 feet (1 m.) long. This will encourage them to produce additional branches.
After this, prune your guava tree annually to maintain its symmetry and remove excessive growth. Guava tree pruning should be performed in late winter or early spring. Diseased branches and suckers can be removed at any time of year.
Commercial growers also conduct severe “crop cycling” pruning to delay fruiting on individual trees in the following season. This practice allows a planting to produce fruit over a longer period.
How to Trim a Guava Tree for Growing Bigger
If you think oranges win the gold for vitamin C content, think again. The guava (Psidium guajava L.) has four times the vitamin C of an orange as well as antioxidants to spare. This 4-inch rounded fruit is less well known than citrus, but don't let its reputation as an exotic keep you from planting it in your backyard in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. The guava shrub is hardy and easy to care for, with starry white flowers that precede the luscious fruit. It can reach 33 feet, but only grows to about 12 feet in California. The guava requires little pruning to fruit happily, but you can shape the shrub to a single trunk to encourage taller growth.
Trim the evergreen guava shrub into a tree, starting when it is planted. Select the strongest upright stem as the main trunk and prune off all the others at ground level.
Prune the tree again in fall or early winter. Trim out all upright shoots that compete with the main trunk, including suckers that grow to the sides of the shrub. Do not prune the canopy until the tree is more developed.
Trim the guava tree the following spring to remove water shoots -- the fast-growing upright shoots that form just below a pruning wound. Remove all branches that depart from the lower 4 feet of the trunk to encourage a higher canopy. Select several strong lateral branches evenly spaced around the tree to serve as the framework for the canopy. Prune back these branches to one-half their length, making the cuts at outward-heading lateral branches remove all competing branches. Remove all flowers as they appear, so the tree can invest its energy in growth.
Trim the guava tree several times a year to remove competing upright branches and maintain the tree with a single trunk. Prune back the tree's upper branches to open up the canopy to sunlight to further encourage growth. Prune out crossing and inward-heading branches. Make each cut at a lateral branch with a diameter at least one-third that of the cut branch. Trim out low branches and those with tips that touch the ground. Check for and remove suckers.
SERIES 18 | Episode 33
The guava comes from South America and is a marvellous fruit-bearing plant. Most people know it as feijoa, but it's really Acca, or as I prefer, the pineapple guava. And at this time of year it's crying out to be pruned.
The first act is to skirt prune the tree. Often the branches bear against the ground and it goes rotten and diseases get into the tree. It's best to remove the entire branch.
The pineapple guava bears its fruit on the tips of new growth. But on some plants this means masses of new growth and so it's important to thin it out. Remove all the old half-dead stuff in the middle. It's a question of thinning out the oldest growth and leaving the young stuff. It might look a little sparse but what's left is the new growth and that means fruit next year. But remember you don't have to prune pineapple guavas every year, just when they need it.
A different type of guava that is a much smaller bush is the strawberry guava or Psidium. When pruning this plant, find any parts of the tree that have been damaged and remove these completely, as well as any dead looking branches. These plants need pruning every four or five years to give a continuous supply of fruit.
Pineapple plants have large leaves that may need trimming to control sprawl, and you can safely prune the ground suckers -- the shoots that spring up from the ground -- as they produce the smallest fruits and are easily discarded. As long as you know you are reducing the crop this way, you can safely prune your pineapple plant any time of year.
Guava bushes are tough plants that can tolerate heavy pruning if you want to shape the shrub into a hedge. The guava fruit emerges from new shoots, meaning that you can safely prune without reducing next year's crop. The smartest time to prune is still just after the harvest, but you won't have to worry about cutting off new shoots until after the winter.
Guava Tree Care
Guava tree care is simple and easy and with a few basic information, you can grow a healthy plant.
Pruning guava is essential to keep guava tree growing in a pot in desired shape and size to develop a strong structure, healthy plant and increased fruiting.
Dry, dead, damaged or diseased branches can be pruned anytime. The crowns grow naturally and well-branched and do not need regular cutting. Best is to cut back too long, unbranched shoots and branches that are crossing each other and blocking the penetration of sun rays after the harvest or at the beginning of growing season.
Whenever the first time your guava tree blooms to form fruits it is better to deadhead the flowers, never allowing the fruits to set (do this if your plant is weak).
Allow no more than 4 fruits per branch. Also, thin out the fruits if they are developing on a small and weak branch.
Repot the plant in one size bigger than the previous one. Never plant a plant in a too big pot directly, albeit change the pot time to time once the plant has outgrown the current one.
Guava responds well to the monthly fertilizing. When the tree is young and is not bearing fruits, fertilize your potted guava tree with 6:6:6:2 [N P K Mg] to speed up the growth of the plant.
When the tree starts to bear fruits change the composition to 8:3:9:2 [N P K Mg].
Guava tree is also susceptible to iron deficiency (symptoms includes yellowing of the leaves in between the dark green veins). It can be corrected or prevented by periodic application chelated iron.
Do mulching with organic matter so that the plant retains moisture. Mulching also helps in insulating the root of guava tree in winter.
Pests and Diseases
Guava tree care from pests and diseases is not much required when grown in a pot. This fruit tree is very tough but you should keep an eye on common garden pests. Mealy bugs, guava scale, white flies, fruit flies and thrips can affect it.
In diseases, guava plant suffers from rust, which occurs in too warm weather and high humidity.Besides this, anthracnose and leaf spot can be a problem too, both of these occurs in wet humid weather and spread through splashed water. By proper irrigation, you can easily prevent this.
Most of the guava tree varieties are self-pollinating and fruit ripens year round in tropics (except summer). Guava fruits usually mature in 3 to 4 months after flowering.
In India, generally, the main crop arrives in winter and after the summer in the rainy season. Winter crop is more flavorsome and sweet.
Guava fruits taste better when picked earlier than they fully mature. Fruits are highly nutritious, rich in vitamin C and can be eaten raw, its seeds are edible too. Ripened fruits can be used to make guava ice-cream, juice, jam, chutney, sauce or desserts.