Cherry guava

George asked why his cherry guava was not setting fruit although it produces plenty of flowers, and why the growing tips were dying. He didn’t mention which area he lived in, or what fertiliser and watering program the tree has received. There is a variety of causes for these problems.

Perhaps the tree is too young to set fruit. Cherry (or strawberry) guava trees (Psidium cattleianum) are slower growing than tropical guavas, and do not start to produce fruit until about 3 – 4 years after planting out –

Or, maybe frost has affected the flowers. Frost can also cause dying back of young tips, even though mature cherry guavas are reasonably frost hardy.

Although cherry guava are not too fussy about soil, they do grow very well in fertile soil. A lack of calcium will cause both dying of young tips, and premature shedding of blossoms – in other words, soil may be too acid to provide enough calcium. I’d advise testing soil around the tree and, if necessary, raise the soil pH.
Some trace element deficiencies can also cause die back of growing tips, but an application of seaweed extract tea to the soil around the tree should solve this problem.

If the soil is fertile and soil pH is suitable, perhaps the soil has become water repellent and the tree is unable to absorb the nutrients it needs. Or, watering may have been erratic and the tree may be water stressed.