Guava is an important fruit of tropical and subtropical area of the world. It is commonly called poor man’s fruit. Guava contains maximum vitamin C content per l00g. of pulp after amla. It contains antioxidant factors and can control systolic blood pressure. It is good source of roughage and help in removal of constipation.
In India it is cultivated almost throughout except higher hills. It gives two crops in a year. That is why it is being preferred for plating in soils where citrus cannot be grown. Two main cultivars which originated in Allahabad and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh occupies most of the area under guava. Guava has become an important fruit crop of Punjab and its area ranks second after citrus. It grows well throughout the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Guava is native to Central America and is widely cultivated in South Africa, Hawai, Indian continent and Maxico.
In India guava occupies an area of 2.03 lac hectares with annual production of 22.7 lacs MT. Allahabad area in U.P is reputed for the production of high quality of guava in India and the world. In Punjab it occupies an area of 8022 hectares with annual production of 160463 MT.
It is a big source of Vitamins C, A, Bj (riboflavin) and minerals like calcium, phosphorus and iron. It contains about 180-300 mg of vit. per 100 g of pulb. Ripe guava fruits contain 14 percent TSS; 0.3 percent acidity and 7 percent fibre. Guava fruits are used for Jam and Jelly making. Its juice is used to blend the pear and peach juice. Guava fruits are used as mixed fruit chats in parties.
Conunon Guava (Psidium guajava) is cultivated for its edible fruits. Edible portion is thalamus and pericarp. Some other species of genus psidium are ornamental cattley guava (Psidium cattleianum Sabine), a shrub Brazilan guava (Psidium guineese SW), acidic Chinese guava (Psidium friedrichsthalianum Berg.) Nied] and mountain guava (Psidium montanum Sw).
It is a spreading tree, may grow up to height of 8 meters with same spread. The trunk is light brown in colour with shredding scaly bark. Highly branched tree. The leaves are oblong-elliptic in shape. The pubescent is present on the underside of leaves. Leaves are light green to dark green in color show crimson coloured strips during cold weather. Flowers appear on new growth singly or in three to four. Ovary is inferior, stamens many. Fertilization takes place before the opening of the flower, which is termed as cleistogamy. The fruit shape may vary from round to oblong or pyriform depending upon the cultivar. Flesh is soft contains many seeds in the centre, although seedless fruits are also found.
Just like mango, guava is found growing from plains to higher hills owing to its wider adaptability. It takes mild rainy season during fruit maturity and ripening just like mango. More rains in a year may lead to profuse growth with decreased productivity. It can tolerate mild frost in winter and drought in summer. It requires dry climate condition at the time of flowering.
Guava is considered to be hardy fruit crop. It is not very choosy for soil. It can grow well in slightly alkaline and poor soils. For good growth of trees well drained sandy loams to clay loams with 6.5 to 8.5 pH are best suited.
Some important guava cultivars are discussed below:
- Allahabad Safeda
The trees are vigorous, compact, taller than Lucknow-49, usually with round crown and dense foliage. Grows upto 7-8 metre high. It has the tendency to produce long branches. The fruit vary in size depending upon the fruit load on a tree. The fruit shape usually round some time with short neck pyriform (Pearshaped strain) smooth surface. There are pink dots scattered over the whole fruit, (Chittidar). Pulp is soft and melting, white, taste sweet. Quality of fruit is excellent. It takes about 75 days to maturity. TSS 13 percent. Full grown trees produce over two quintals of fruit annually (Two to three crops).
b.Lucknow-49 (Sardar Guava)
It is a selection from Allahabad Safeda. The trees are spreading with drooping branches. It is dwarfer than Allahabad safeda have dense foliage. The trees grow at maturity upto the height of 6 metre. Fruit size depends upon the load of the crop. Normally it is round in shape with little rough surface. Fruits light green to creamy at ripening. The number of seeds is more than safeda. It is heavy bearer. Yield per tree annually, may be 2 quintal or more. TSS of juice 12.5 percent.
It also originated in Allahabad area. The tree is vigorous and spreading mature tree can have 7.0 metre of height. The crown is uneven due to long breaches and dense leaves. The trees bear flower through out the year, hence fruits are available through out. The fruit flesh is pink in colour with many seeds. Fruits are smaller in size than Lucknow and Allahabad safeda. TSS of juice 12 percent.
The tree grows upright with sparse foliage on the shoots. Leaves are usually larger in size than other cultivars. Fruits are perform in shape. Skin colour yellow at ripening. The epicarp may show ribs. Pulp is white with few seeds. The yield is low, 70 kg per tree annually. TSS of juice 12 percent. Other new promising guava varieties shewta, Lalit, Punjab pink, Arka Amulya, Pant Prabhat.
- RAISING OF ROOTSTOCK
Propagation of uniform material for planting is very important. For the vegetative propagation of guava, rootstock is raised from the seeds extracted from Lucknow-49 (Sardar guava). The seed is extracted from ripe fruits. The seed is sown in raised beds closely immediately after extraction in August or in February. Seedlings of 10-15 cm height are uprooted from these beds and replanted in well prepared field for patch budding, which is done on pencil thick root stock seedlings.
Angular bud-wood of current season growth is used. The scion buds of IX2.5cm is removed carefully and fixed on exposed portion of root stock of same size and tied with polythene strip leaving both the buds uncovered. Both buds can sprout. Choose one of the shoots to develop into the plant. The most suitable time for patch budding is May-June.
- VEGETATIVE PROPAGATION
Guava which is usually propagated from seed can also be propagated vegetatively. The plants can be raised through cuttings, layering or mound layering.
Air layering with the use of growth regulators has been reported to be the best method of guava propagation. For this purpose one year old shoots of uniform diameter (1cm) are selected. A ring of bark 2cm in length just below a bud is removed about 30-40 cm behind on the selected shoot. Apply IBA 500 ppm or NAA 500 ppm solution at the apical side of ringed bark. Cover the ringed portion as well 5cm further shoot with moist sphagnum moss and wrap it with 15 cm wide polythene sheet. Tie the both ends of the sheet of the air layered shoot. Air layering can be performed in March. Many roots are visible in the polythene sheet after 35-40 days of the operation. Remove the air layers from the mother plant in July and plant in the nursery by carefully removing the wrapped polythene. It will be better if 1/2 way cut is given to rooted layers 7 days before severing from the parent plant, for planting in the nursery.
Rooting of Cuttings
Guava can easily be propagated through cuttings. Cutting of 20-25 cm length are prepared from one year old shoots. Dip the cuttings for 24 hours in 200 ppm IBA solution before planting in the prepared beds. Cuttings root well during February-March. The planted cuttings should be applied light irrigation. Keep the soil medium at field capacity by spreading trash for the conservation of soil moisture.
Guava is also propagated through mound layering, instead of air layering. For this purpose mother plants are planted at 1m X 1m apart. The plants are headed back during July-August by keeping a stub of 5-8 cm above the ground. A number of shoots emerge on the stub. A ring of bark just as in air layers is removed in March and a mound of moist soil is prepared to cover the ringed shoots. Roots emerge above the ringed portion within 30-40 days. These stools are ready to be detached from the mother plant in July-August, from v^^here again many shoots develop which are reused. Same plant can be used for many years. At planting time of layers 30 percent of heading back shall improve establishment success.
Guava is usually planted as compact blocks at a distance of 7 m apart and thus require 196 plants on square system and 216 on hexagonal system of planting. But it is also being planted as a filler in litchi and mango orchards, thus number of plants shall vary according to the planting distance of the main fruit crop. Guava being evergreen can be transplanted in both the seasons, i.e, rainy season August to October and spring February- March. Care should be taken while removing the earth balls, that tap root of the rootstock should be cut on a depth of at least 20-25 cm. In case of vegetatively propagated plants all roots should be excavated. Guava can also be planted bare rooted during September-October. In this case plants may be defoliated at the time of removal from the nursery and roots covered with moist trash (paddy trash) and packed with gunny cloth to check transpiration.
- TRAININIG & PRUNING
Guava should be trained on modified leader system of training, which can easily be completed in three years as in peaches. This will provide a strong frame work to the guava trees which will help to support high yield. Since, guava bears on current season’s growth hence, a light pruning at the time of first harvesting will be beneficial for maintaining the productivity of the tree. Remove 10-15 cm of some of the shoots in a tree while harvesting the fruits. Broken and dead shoots should be removed regularly.
Age of tree (Years)/ Farm Yard Manure (kg)/ Urea (46% N) (g)/ Superphosphate (16% P2,O5) (g)/ Muriate of Potash (60% K2O) (g)/ 1 -3/ 10-20/ 40 – 120/ 100 – 300/ 40 – 120/ 4-6/ 25-40/ 160 – 200/ 400 – 600/ 150 – 225/ 7-10/ 40-50/ 250 – 300/ 700 – 1000/ 250 – 350/ Above 10/ 50/ 300/ 1000/ 400/ . Farm yard manure should be applied in tree basins during May, only once in a year.
Since, Guava bears three crops the flowering over laps each crops, hence the above recommended dose of inorganic fertilizers N and P should be applied to each crop in June for rainy season crop and in September for winter fruiting. Muriate of potash can be omitted in September.
Zinc and Iron Deficiency: The leaves show yellowing and chlorosis in between the veins. It will be beneficial if one or two foliage sprays are given. Spray the trees with 2 gm/L of water mixture of Zinc Sulphate, and Ferrous Sulphate in July and again in September. If this spray is regularly given the plants remain healthy and bear good crops.
The newly-planted guava plants should be given irrigation at an interval of a week during summer and 15-20 days during winter. The bearing trees should be given irrigation at interval of 10-15 days in summer and 15-20 days in winter depending upon the type of soil and its water holding capacity. The modified basin system of irrigation should be preferred over flood irrigation. No water should stagnate as it causes root rot. During frosty nights light irrigation should be applied.
- FLOWERING & FRUITING
Flowering in guava continue throughout, starting from April May to December-January. The trees flower even when the green fruits are still there. Thus trees may bear three crops in a year, i.e., rainy and winter and winter in North Indian conditions. The rainy season crop is usually heavy but get infected by fruit fly. Guava bears flowers solitary or in cymes of to 5 flowers in the axil of the leaf on the current growth. The blooming period varies from cultivar to cultivar and season of flowering. Due to cleistogamy the fruit setting is very high. Negligible flower drop has been observed. Young fruits drop due to competition, however 3-4 fruits can mature at one point. The rainy season crop is harvested in July-August and winter crops in November-December and then in March, Guava fruits take 120 to 140 days to attain maturity for harvest.
The vacant space between the plants should be judiciously used for growing of leguminous crops like cowpeas, Guara, gram and moong, etc. Wheat can also be grown but separate irrigation system should be there to apply irrigation to guava plants in March-April. Vegetables like carrot, turnip, radish and peas can also be grown.
- WEED CONTROL
Weeds should be kept under control through out the year because fruit harvesting is done through out the year, for the easy mobility of labour. For this purpose, spray Gramoxone 6ml/litre of water during March, July and September. To control perennial weeds the March spray may be done with Round up (Glyphosate) @ 10 ml/litre. Spray of these weedicides should be carried out on a calm day to avoid the damage to guava foliage.
- CROP REGULATION
Guava gives two to three crops in year. The growers have been advised to for go the rainy season crop as it is usually attacked by fruit fly. However, orchards are auctioned for the whole year hence it becomes difficult to convince the contractors to eliminate the rainy season crop.
In order to get only winter season crop following method should be adopted with the connivance of the contractor:
- Spray urea 10 percent or naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) @ 600 ppm at full-bloom (May). Dissolve 120 g of NAA in 300-400 ml of absolute alcohol, slowly pore this solution into Drum containing sufficient water make the volume to 200 litres. Prepare more solution as per the requirement of the area to be sprayed.
- OR Prune 20-30 cm of the apical portion of shoots during last week of April. This will avoid rainy season crop completely.
- Follow the recommended fertilization schedule and with hold irrigation during April-May. If the orchard is in frost prone area, then one may not opt for only winter crop. It has been seen that total winter crop can be lost due to frost injury during December-January.
Guava fruit is climacteric in nature. It can be picked when mature, light green in colour and firm. It ripens during transport on reaching the market and gives excellent colour and taste. The contractors usually harvest the fruit when ripe or nearly ripe for direct sale to the consumers. Few leaves or small branches if kept with the fruits make the fruit attractive and trees get light pruning. For distant marketing this practice should be discouraged.
16.POST HARVEST HANDLING
Ripe guava fruits are perishable in nature. Fully mature, light green and firm fruit are harvested and placed in shade in a verandah for grading and packing. For packing CFB cartoons of 4 to 10 kg size are preferred over the bamboo baskets of different size. Guava fruit can be kept at room temperature for a week in perforated polythene bags during winter and for three weeks in CFB cartoons in commercial cold storage at 5-10°C and RH of 85-90 percent.