Q: I just finished watching your video on pruning a guava tree and found it very informative. I have a pink guava tree that I purchased in Texas last year and this year it had four large crops of guava on it. The fourth crop came in and was close to being ripe when we got this
long unusual period of cold weather. I live in southern Louisiana,only about five miles from the Gulf coast. Our weather usually never goes below 32 degrees. If it did, it was for only a few hours. We have had below freezing temps for an extended period of time lately. I have the guava planted on the south side of my house in a protected area. The fourth crop of guava have dried up and the leaves have turned brown.
My question is when will I be able to tell if the tree has survived the cold weather and if it needs to be replaced. Is there a way to determine at this time if it is still alive? What do I need to do if the branches have died? Can it be pruned to the ground or to the portion that is still alive? When should this pruning be done? I would appreciate any help you can give me in determining if my pink guava will make it. Thanking you in advance for any information that you may be able to
supply to me.
A: Your climate there is usually not going to be a problem for this species.The degree of cold damage will often-times depend on the size/age of the tree as well as the duration of the cold spell. Typically, guavas are vigorous growers and often recuperate from damage as temperatures rise in early spring. However, as early as in a week or two you should know how much die back has occurred and at that time you can simply prune the branches back to where you can see live green tissue.
If it is unclear where the damaged tissue ends and the healthy tissue begins, you can simply leave the tree alone until new growth is visible and at that time you can prune back to that live tissue. The leaves and tender growing tips will be the first to show signs of cold damage and soon thereafter begin to dry up. If the tree is not a named grafted cultivar and is simply a wild seedling, then even if it has died back to the ground just be patient until new growth appears and you will be back in business in no time at all.
This is also the case if the tree was propagated by air-layer. If grafted, the union is usually located on the main trunk 4″-6″ above the soil line and if the damage is above that point, you are ok. If the tree completely defoliates, you should paint all branch surfaces with a water-based white latex diluted 50% with water. This will help protect it from the elements such as sun damage while in its weakened state.That being said, guavas perform best when exposed to direct sunlight as much as possible. That is all I can think of now, good luck.
I would like to thank you for the information on the problem with my guava tree. It sure produced a lot last year and I would sure hate to loose it to the unexpected cold temps.
I will be looking forward to the first sprouts to come out on the tree so that I can see exactly how much damage was actually done to it. I enjoy talking to people like you who are willing to help people with information that will assist them in their growing of their trees and plants.