Front Cover

Title: Growing guavas in Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084563/00001
 Material Information
Title: Growing guavas in Florida
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Ruehle, George D.
Publisher: Florida Agricultural Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida,
Copyright Date: 1966
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084563
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: 82969603 - OCLC

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
Full Text



APRIL 1966

Florida Agricultural Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville



(Revised by Fred P. Lawrence" and James E. Brogdon")

The common guava (Psidium
guajava) is native of the American
tropics and has spread to practi-
cally all tropical and sub-tropical
areas of the world. It compares very
favorably with many of the better
known fruits in nutritive value
and its wider use in the diet is
justified from this standpoint. It
is primarily a Ir' r....--ii r, and home
garden fruit in Florida, although
a small volume of the fresh fruit
is shipped to markets outside the

Guavas are sensitive to low tem-
peratures. Plants may be killed at
29 F. of several hours duration,
but may withstand short periods
as low as 26 F. Where older trees
are killed back to the ground, they
sprout from the base and usually
are back in full production in 2 or
3 years.
The guava appears to thrive un-
der a wide range of annual rainfall
varying from 40 to 70 inches or
more. However, fruit production
and quality are affected by ex-
tremes of moisture. An ample sup-

1. The late Vice-Director in Charge,
Sub-Tropical Experiment Station
2. Citriculturist, Agricultural Extension
3. 1Iit ....... ...I Agricultural Extension

ply of soil moisture during the
fruiting season is required for
maximum yield. On the other hand,
heavy and prolonged rains at the
time the fruit is ripened usually
cause considerable skin cracking
followed by spoilage, and the fruit
tends to become watery and poor
in flavor.

The guava can be grown success-
fully on a wide range of soils
types. It thrives on well drained
loamy and muck soils, but will
grow almost equally well on sandy
flatwoods soils that are too wet for
avocados or citrus. It will thrive
on acid (pH 4.5 to 5.0) sands or
on moderately alkaline (pH 7.6 to
8.2) limestone and marl soils if
properly fertilized.

All guavas possess distinctive
aroma and flavor. In some it is
very mild and not unpleasant,
whereas in others the pungent odor
of the ripe fresh fruit is objection-
able to some people.

Practically all Florida commer-
cial plantings of guava are of
seedling trees. Local descriptive
names, such as lemon guava, pear

guava, apple guava or stinking
;-it1 a are in use for common
At present, only a few named
horticultural varieties of guava
exist. 'Red Indian' and 'Ruby' are
r..,I ii -1 1, sweet, fairly large
fruited, dessert-t. I,- guavas, that
produce good crops of high quality
fruit. 'Supreme' produces heavy
crops of thick-walled, s u b a c i d,

-- .

Fig. 1.-Guava fruit from Ruby X Su-
preme cross. Fruit on the left is like the
female parent; fruit on the right re-
sembles the male parent.

white-fleshed fruit of good quality
for preserving or eating fresh.
'Ruby' and 'Supreme' were crossed
in 1945, and several of the 130
seedlings grown to maturity appear
to have qualities superior to either
parent. Air layered trees from a
number of these trees have been
distributed to individuals and to
other research groups. One nur-
seryman is propagating and selling
layered trees under the name Ruby
X Supreme Hybrid. 'Miami Red'
and '.A.inii White' are varieties
somewhat similar to the f rre .ir-L'
that were selected, named and re-
leased by the University of Miami
Experimental Farm.

In addition, several dozen un-
named clones are under study at
the Sub-Tropical Experiment Sta-
tion. Tir .:-. include ., 1-. types, and
acid, sub-acid and sweet large-
1it..I. .1 types selected from .'l ,! ,I.i
chance seedlings or from hand
crosses, as well as 11'i- -. of
foreign introductions. Several va-
rieties will eventually be selected,
named and released fir .r this
g,,, No doubt there are other
excellent se e d i n g s in Florida
which merit propagation as varie-
ties but have not been brought to
the attention of pr.1'..,-..I.. -. or

Seedling guavas cannot be relied
upon to produce fruit identical
with that from the parent tree.

S,-. A
.-.-,.. ) .


Fig. 2.-Air layered branch removed
from parent tree six weeks after branch
was girdled and layer was made.

Choice varieties can be increased
only by vegetative propagation.
Guavas can be grafted, budded,
grown from soft wood cuttings, or
marcotted. The latter two meth-
ods are those in most common use.
In commercial plantings, gua-
va trees should be spaced 15 to 20
feet in rows with the rows 20 to
25 feet apart. With a regular pro-
gram of pruning and hedging they
may be more closely spaced.
If allowed to grow unmolested,
the guavas become large bushy
shrubs. This is undesirable in
dooryard plantings but in commer-
cial I.litintiviL they should be
pruned and trained to grow as

It is common practice to plant
in the early summer just ahead of
the rainy season. This is not a bad
practice for the home owner but
commercial plantings should be
made in the early spring and the
young trees watered, as needed,
until the summer rains come, at
which time watering can usually
be discontinued.
In planting guava trees it is
very important to place the trees
so the roots are no deeper than
they were in the nursery or plant
container. On rock soils, such as
those of South Dade County, it is
advisable to mulch the newly
planted tree with grass, weeds,
sawdust or other suitable material.


Fig. 3.-A well fertilizered 15 month
old guava tree.

Apply a complete fertilizer every
4 to 6 weeks during the first year

and every 60 days during the sec-
ond year. In colder locations fer-
tilization should be discontinued
in late summer (August or Sep-
tember) in order that the plants
will tend to harden off for the
winter. The type of mixture used
should be modified or supple-
mented according to the nature of
the soil. For most Florida soils,
mixtures analyzing about 6% ni-
tr",gen-6' phosphoric acid-6% pot-
ash and 1.5% magnesium oxide
are satisfactory. On soils that con-
tain marl, the mixture should also
contain 1 to 2 percent MnO (Man-
ganese oxide). On muck soils, the
nitrogen may be substantially re-
duced and 1/2 to :3% units of copper
oxide per ton should be included.

' -.

The amount of fertilizer per ap-
plication should begin with 1
pound per tree and be gradually
increased to about 1. pound by the
end of the first year and to 2
pounds per tree by the end of the
second year. For the first few ap-
plications, spread the fertilizer
iiif in.'m over an area I.. -inr i, .
6 to 8 inches from the trunk of the
tree and extending slightly beyond
the drip of the tree.
On lime rock soils it will be

necessary to spray trees planted i,-
May or June a month or 6 week.
after planting and again in Sep
tember with a spray containing
pound of tribasic copper -ii it.t
(or its equivalent), 1 pound uI
neutral zinc, 1 pound of neutral
manganese and 1 pound of borax
per 100 gallons of water. Apply
the nutritional -pIr., twice during
the second year and once a yea,
thereafter. One nutritional -I.i..
per year may also prove to be ben(-
ficial to trees gi ...i I,- on other soil


Guava trees usually begin to
bear fruit the second year, and
bearing increases rapidly after the
fourth year. Experimental data
are '.ki Iii- i aci rding fertilizer re-
quirements for guavas growing on
the diverse soil types found in
southern Florida. Fertilizer prac-
tices used -.... .. -f ll. on citrus
usually will give satisfactory re-
sults with guavas. On limestone
soils fertilizer mixtures and
amounts used on avocados have
been satisfactory. Mixtures such
as 6-6-6-3 are suitable for young
bearing trees. As the trees become
older, mixtures such as 8-4-8-4 or
12-0-12-4 will usually satisfy the
actual r,,i ii r, nIt.I -. As a rough
guide, the formula of 1.25 pounds
of a 6 percent mixture for each
year of the tree's age should be
sufficient at each of 3 applications
per year. For higher analyses, the

amounts per application should be
reduced accordingly.

In commercial groves as thi
trees become large enough for tih.
roots to occupy practically all fo
the ground area, fertilizers arc
more efficiently applied by mechan
ical spreaders. The poundage pel
acre should be varied somewhat
according to tree condition, size o1
crop and rainfall, but should
in the range of 150 to 200 pounds
of actual nitrogen per acre pr
year. TIi-. amount may be split
more or less evenly into three ap-
plications per year at about the
following periods: February or
March, May or June, and October,
in colder locations the saiil
amount of fertilizer may be :.
plied in 2 applications, spring aiu(
Continue annual applications of

a nutritional spray. If applied dur-
ing the post-bloom period disease

control may also be obtained from
this spray.


As the bearing trees become old-
er, there is a pronounced tendency
for the fruit to become smaller.
The largest fruit is borne on
strong shoots of 1 to 3-year-old
wood. By thinning out and head-

ing back of the tree every 2 or
3 years, this type of shoot growth
will be encouraged. Total yields
are reduced by such killingg, but
larger fruit is produced and |I-r"ii,
tree size maintained.


Because guavas are very sus-
ceptible to nematodes, keep
cultivation to a minimum. Clean
cultivation in the tree rows or
around each tree with a good cover
crop in the middles is desirable.
On limestone soils, grow a cover
crop of native grasses or weeds.
Mow the grass periodically, and
allow the cut material to decay on

the ground surface. On sandy soils,
follow the practice used in citrus
groves of allowing the cover crop
of native grass and weeds or of
planted legumes to grow during
the summer period when rainfall
is abundant. In colder locations
disc or chop the cover crop under
in the early fall before the first
killing frost.


For immediate processing, fruits
are tossed into boxes or baskets,
with little attempt to avoid bruis-
ing, and hauled directly to the fac-
For use in the home or for sale
as fresh fruit, pick the mature
fruit by hand and gently place
them in an appropriate container.
The crop does not mature at one
time and in harvesting for the
fresh fruit market the fruit must

be picked 2 or 3 times a week. The
fruit should have reached full size
but still be hard if it is to be
packed and shipped to distant
markets. It can be allowed to be-
come nearly ripe if picked for lo-
cal market. Avoid bruising by
careful handling of the fruit from
the tree to the packinghouse as
well as during grading and pack-
ing operations. Refrigeration at
45" will slow softening of fruit in


Guava trees are attacked and
usually killed rather quickly by a

root and crown rot caused by the
gill fungus (Clitocybe tabescens).
This fungus is parasitic on many

species of living trees, and also
flourishes as a saprophyte in old
roots or stumps of trees, especially
of oaks. T!i'-iiulgh removal of tree
roots, especially of oak roots, when
clearing timbered land prior to
planting is the only method of

_-- F


Fig. 4.-Nematode damage on guava

avoiding the disease. TIl,, fungus
appears to be absent in limestone
soils from Miami southward and
also in the muck soils of the Ever-
glades and in the flatwoods sec-
tions, where pine is the dominant
tree and oaks are absent.
The guava is subject to parasitic
nematodes. Root damage or de-
struction can become so severe in
sandy soils that the top dies back
and the tree fails to produce satis-
factory crops.

Spitti,' of leaves and fruits,
caused by the alga (Cephaloiuros
virescens) is often rather severe
on some types and varieties of
guava, particularly in the humid
coastal areas. Spraying with nu-
tritional sprays in the spring re-
duces the degree of infection.


The guava is subject to attack
by several kinds of insects. Among
the more important are guava
whitefly, redbanded thrips, guava
fruit moth and several species of
scales. Detailed life history and ef-
fective control measures for some
of these pests still remain to be
worked out.
Recommendations for effective
control of insect pests are limited
because only a few insecticides
have been registered for use on
guava and some of these are not
approved for use when fruit is
present. Some of the most effec-

tive materials have not been ap-
Residue tolerances resulting
from pre-harvest .Ill,1, .t i..n have
been established for the f.'ill.... in,
insecticides: BHC-5 ppm, DDT-7
ppm, lindane-10 ppm, malathion-8
ppm, parathion-1 ppm. Oil sprays
do not have limiting tolerances and
do not require any waiting period
between last application and har-

Scales and the guava whitefly
may be controlled by properly ap-
ipl ;,i. parathion, malathion or oil

emulsion sprays. Mix 4 to 5 quarts
of oil emulsion concentrate, or 11/2
pounds of 15% parathion wettable
powder, or 1/ pint of parathion 4
liquid, or 4 to 5 pounds of 25 .
malathion wettable powder, or 1V/2
to 2 pints of malathion 5 liquid
per 100 gallons of water. Combi-
nation sprays containing oil emul-
sion plus parathion or malathion
at 2/3 to 3/, of these amounts are
also suggested. For whiteflies, ap-
ply the spray about 2 weeks after
most adults have disappeared. Ap-
ply 'pro.', for scales before heavy
infestations develop. Do not apply
malathion within 7 days or para-
thion within 30 days of harvest.
Redbanded t h r i p s are often
troublesome on guava and may
cause defoliation and fruit russet-
ing. Infested leaves are spotted
on the upper surface with fecal de-
posits that turn reddish brown to
black. Make frequent observations
during summer and fall for any

developing infestation. Suggested
controls are 1 pound of 25' lin-
dane wettable powder, or 3 pounds
of 25% malathion wettable pow-
der, or 1 pound of 15% parathion
wettable powder per 100 gallons of
water. Equivalent amounts of li-
quid concentrate formulations may
be used. Do not apply lindane after
fruit set. Do not apply malathion
within 7 days or parathion within
30 days of harvest.
Larvae of the guava fruit moth
may cause considerable damage to
guava by tunneling through the
fruit. The larvae are whitish in
color with a black head. They be-
come pink as they approach ma-
turity and attain a length of nearly
1/4 inch. Detailed life history and
satisfactory control measures have
not ben developed. Fruit that
ripens first is less likely to be in-
fested than that which ripens la-
ter; consequently, utilize early
fruit and harvest it as soon as it


Insecticides are p o i s o n s and
should be handled as such. Read
the label on each pesticide contain-
er before each use and heed all
cautions and warnings. Store pes-
ticides securely in original labeled
containers away from food and
feed, and out of reach of children

and pets. Dispose of empty con-
tainers promptly and safely.
Parathion is especially toxic and
is not recommended for dooryard
guava trees. It should be used only
by properly trained and equipped

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida
United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs