The fruit is a good source of vitamin C, pectin, calcium and phosphorus. The fruit is used for the preparation of processed products like jams, jellies and nectar. Guava jelly puree is very popular for its attractive purplish-red colour, pleasant taste and aroma. The puree can be used in juice, cakes, puddings, sauces, ice-cream, jam and jelly. Fruits can be preserved by canning as halves or quarters, with or without seed core (shells). Good quality salad can be prepared from the shell of ripe fruits.
Leaves of guava are used for curing diarrhoea and also for dyeing and tanning.
Land is prepared during the summer season by ploughing, harrowing, leveling and removing weeds.
Plants are vegetatively propagated by budding, inarching or air layering.
Planting is done during the rainy season. June-July is the ideal time for planting the layers and seedling.
The plants are usually planted at a distance of 5-8 m. The exact planting distance is decided according to variety, soil fertility and availability of irrigation facilities.
Standard spacing is 6 m. x 6 m. accommodating 112 plants/acre. By increasing the plant density, productivity can be increased. In the model scheme, a spacing of 6 m. x 6 m. with a population of 110 plants per acre has been considered which was commonly observed in areas covered during a field study.
High density planting causes erect growth of branches making the plant tall, compact and also gives higher yield/unit area in early years of fruiting.
Square system of planting is generally adopted. Pits of 1x1x1m. size are dug before the monsoon and filled with a mixture of farmyard manure and soil.
Time of fertilizer application depends on the region and crop variety. In north India, fertilizer is applied in the first week of May for rainy season crop and in first week of July for winter season crop. The plants are manured twice a year, first during June-July and second by during October.
A fertilizer dose of 600 g. N, 400 g. K in Northern Region, 260 g. N, 320 g. P and 260 g. K in Eastern Region, 900 g. N, 600 g. P and 600 g. K in Southern Region and 600 g. N, 300 g. P and 300g. K/plant /year in Western Region is recommended.
Guava is mostly grown under rainfed condition. During winter season, irrigation is provided at an interval of 20-25 days and in the summer months it is provided at an interval of 10-15 days by the ring method.
Drip irrigation has proved to be very beneficial for guava. About 60% of the water used for irrigation is saved. Besides substantial increase in size and number of fruits is observed.
Training & Pruning
Training of plants in young stage is essential in order to build a strong framework and to avoid weak crotches. Fruiting trees are pruned to check overcrowding in the orchard. The plants are trained as low headed trees to facilitate multiple hand pickings. Pruning is usually recommended after harvesting or in spring. Summer pruning is generally avoided as the plants get damaged due to sun burn.
Weeds are usually removed by shallow cultivation. Green manuring is usually done during rainy season. Pre-emergence use of diuron (1.6 kg./ha.), oryzalin (1.67 litres/ha.), simazine (1.6 kg./ha.) or atrazine (1.6 kg./ha.) has been found to be effective in control of weeds in guava orchards.
Dry leaves or straw are used as mulching material. Mulching can also be done either with black polycthylene sheet or with organic materials. Mulching the soil at least twice a year helps in conserving moisture and improving the fruit quality.
Leguminous crops or vegetable can be grown as intercrops during the first three years of planting provided irrigation facility is available.
The winter crop is much superior in quality compared to the monsoon crop. Farmers often reduce monsoon crop by deblossoming to get a higher price. This is done by growth regulators like maleic hydrazide on spring flush of flowers. Growth regulators like NAA, NAD and 2, 4D have been found to be effective in thinning of flowers and also manipulating the cropping season.
Plant Protection Measures
The insect pests mostly observed are fruit fly, stem borer, bark eating caterpillar, thrips, nematodes, mealy bug and scale insect. Spraying with malathion (2ml.), phosphamidon (0.5ml. per ltr. of water), monocrotophos, dimethoate etc. has been found to be effective in most cases. Apart from that adoption of suitable cultural practices and destruction of infected plants needs to be done.
The main diseases reported are wilt, fruit canker, fruit rot, anthrachose and grey leaf spot. Application of Carbendazim / Thiophanate methyl (1g./l) or Kavach / Mancozeb (2 g/l) depending upon the type of infection has been found to be effective in controlling the diseases.
Fruit drop is a serious disorder in guava resulting in about 45-65% loss due to different physiological and environmental factors. Spraying of GA has been found to be effective in reducing the fruit drop in guava.
Bronzing of guava has been observed in places having low soil fertility and low pH. Affected plants show purple to red specks scattered all over the leaves. Under aggravated condition, total defoliation and fruits characterized with brown coloured patterns on the skin, with reduced yield are noticed.
Foliar application of 0.5% diammonium phosphate and zinc sulphate in combination at weekly intervals for two months reduces the bronzing in guava. Pre-flowering sprays with 0.4% boric acid and 0.3% zinc sulphate increase the yield and fruit size. Spraying of copper sulphate at 0.2 to 0.4% also increases the growth and yield of guava.
Harvesting and Yield
The plants start bearing at an early age of 2-3 years but they attain full bearing capacity at the age of 8-10 years. The yield of a plant depends on its age, cropping pattern and the cultural practices. A 10 year old plant yields about 100 to 150 kg. of fruits every year. If both rainy and winter season crops are taken, more yields may be obtained in the rainy season.
Guavas are harvested throughout the year (except during May and June) in one or the other region of the country. However, peak harvesting periods in north India are August for rainy season crop, November- December for winter season crop and March-April for spring season crop. In the mild climatic conditions of the other parts of the country, the peak harvesting periods are not so distinct.
Guava fruits develop best flavour and aroma only when they ripen on tree. In most of the commercial varieties, the stage of fruit ripeness is indicated by the colour development which is usually yellow. For local markets, fully yellow but firm fruits are harvested, whereas half yellow fruits are picked for distant markets. Fruits are harvested selectively by hand along with the stalk and leaves.