Choosing the Right Feijoa Variety for Your Garden
Growing feijoa starts with choosing varieties suited to your climate and preferences. There are many feijoa cultivars available with differences in fruit size, cold hardiness, flavor, and disease resistance. Some well-known options include:
•Apollo: Produces very large fruit up to 200g with pale green flesh and mild flavor. Tolerates temperatures down to -10°C.
•Sprite: A compact plant with smallish fruit. Feijoa Sprite is cold hardy to at least -15°C and resistant to anthracnose disease.
•Mammoth: Very large, elongated feijoa fruit but may require hot summers for optimal flavor.Less disease resistant than other varieties.
Choosing varieties suited to your climate and preferences will ensure the best chances of success when you grow feijoa. Matching feijoa varieties with a low chill requirement to warmer areas and more cold hardy types to colder regions is key.
More comprehensive information and care guidelines can be read here.
Preparing the Soil for Feijoa Planting
Thoroughly preparing the soil before planting feijoa trees will provide them the ideal growing conditions and help maximize fruit production. Here are the key soil preparation steps:
- Loosen the soil to a depth of 20-30 cm with a shovel or tiller. This aeration of compacted soil allows for better root penetration and movement of air and water.
- Improve soil drainage if needed by adding coarse aggregates like sand, gravel or perlite. Feijoa requires well-drained soil to prevent roots from sitting in water logged soil.
- Remove all weeds from the planting area. Weeds compete with feijoa trees for water, light and nutrients and can harbor pests and diseases.
- Adjust the soil pH to around 5.5 to 6.5, which is optimal for feijoa growth. Test the pH with a soil testing kit and amend as needed using products like sifted agricultural lime or sulfur.
- Incorporate organic matter like compost, aged manure or peat moss. This helps loosen heavy soil, retain moisture, add nutrients and encourage soil microbial activity. Aim for 3%-5% organic matter by volume.
The soil preparation work is important but not permanent – you will need to monitor conditions regularly and amend the soil as needed over time to ensure optimal growing conditions for your feijoa trees. Here are some key points to check annually:
- pH levels – Nutrient levels
- Drainage – Organic matter content
- Compaction – Weed pressure
Thorough preparation of the soil before planting and follow-up care will give your feijoa trees the best start in your garden.
Planting Feijoa: Step-by-Step Instructions
Follow these steps for successfully planting feijoa trees in your garden:
- Dig a planting hole 2-3 times wider than the root ball but no deeper. Rootsneed room to spread out horizontally.
- Place the feijoa tree in the hole so that the soil level is at the base of the root flare – the point where roots emerge from the trunk. The root flare should never be buried.
- Cut away any damaged or tangled roots and prune off any branches that may break off during planting. Removing damaged roots and branches helps prevent infection and encourage new growth.
- Backfill the hole with the original soil, breaking up any large clumps. Add soil around the base and tap gently to eliminate air pockets.
- Water thoroughly, allowing the soil to settle around the roots. The goal is for the soil to be fully saturated but with no puddles of standing water.
- Spread a 2-4 inch layer of organic mulch such as wood chips around the base of the tree, keeping it at least 6 inches away from the trunk. This helps conserve moisture, suppress weeds and moderate soil temperatures.
- Provide support for the tree if needed by staking or guying the trunk. Use wide straps and avoid wire or nails that can damage the bark. Remove support gradually over the first year.
- Monitor soil moisture levels and only water again if the top 1-2 inches of soil becomes dry. Overwatering is a common cause of feijoaplanting failures.
By following these steps for planting feijoa and providing proper aftercare like staking, weeding and watering, you can give your new trees the best chance at thriving in your garden. Proper pruning and fertilizing over the years will maximize fruit production once the feijoatrees have matured.
Feijoa Care: Watering, Fertilizing, and Pruning Tips
Once planted, feijoa trees require regular care to thrive and produce well. Here are the basics of watering, fertilizing and pruning feijoa:
- Water feijoa trees deeply but infrequently. Too much frequent, light watering promotes shallow root systems.
- During the growing season, water once a week if there is no rainfall. Increase to 2-3 times per week during hot, dry spells.
- In winter, water only if there are multiple weeks with no rain. Let the top 1-2 inches of soil dry out between watering.
- For the first year, young feijoa trees will require 1-2 gallons of water per week during the growing season. Mature trees may need 5 gallons or more.
- Apply a balanced, granular fertilizer in spring and fall. A ratio of around 10-10-10 (N-P-K) is suitable.
- Apply lightly according to package directions and water in well. Too much fertilizer can burn roots and decrease fruit production.
- Aim to fertilize feijoa trees every 4 to 6 weeks during active growing periods.
- Organic fertilizers like compost or aged manure are a good alternative to synthetic fertilizers for feijoa.
- Only very light pruning is needed for feijoa. Remove dead, diseased or damaged limbs as needed.
- Little pruning is needed for first 3 years while trees establish.
- Afterwards, prune feijoa trees in late winter to remove branches touching ground and crossing branches. Thin out crowded branches to encourage more fruit production.
Regular watering, fertilizing and pruning according to the specific needs of feijoa trees will help maintain tree health for many years. Following these basic feijoa care tips and monitoring conditions closely will maximize the longevity and productivity of your trees.
Protecting Feijoa Trees from Pests and Diseases
While feijoa trees are fairly low-maintenance, there are some common pests and diseases you’ll want to watch out for and take steps to prevent. Here are the key ones to be aware of:
•Aphids: Aphids suck sap from new growth and can spread viral diseases. Control with strong jet of water, insecticidal soap or oil.
•Birds: Birds love feijoa fruit and can strip trees bare. Netting may be required to prevent most bird damage.
•Anthracnose: Fungal disease that causes leaf spots and fruit rot. Remove infected leaves and fruit. Prune out diseased branches. Copper fungicide sprays may help prevent severe outbreaks.
•Black spot: Fungal disease that forms black or brown leaf spots. Raking up and destroying infected leaves reduces spread. Copper fungicides may provide some control.
To protect feijoa trees:
- Control caterpillars with Bt strains before fruit forms .
- Apply horticultural oil sprays in winter to control overwintering aphid eggs.
- Use bird netting for feijoas that are highly susceptible to bird damage.
-Prune out any diseased wood and leaves to reduce anthracnose and black spot inoculum.
- Apply copper fungicide sprays in fall before infection and again in early spring.
Preventive measures work best for feijoa pest and disease control. Taking steps like inspecting new growth regularly for signs of stress and damage and applying organic control methods as soon as issues are spotted can help keep problems in check and minimize impacts on tree health and fruit production.
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Frequently Asked Question
What pests or diseases affect feijoa trees?
Common feijoa pests include scales, mealybugs and fruit flies. Diseases include root rot from overwatering and anthracnose fungal disease. Proper care is key.
How do you prune a feijoa tree?
Prune feijoa trees in early spring. Remove dead or diseased branches first. Also prune to open up the canopy and increase air circulation.
Where do feijoas grow?
Feijoas are native to parts of South America, including southern Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. They also grow in New Zealand and California.
Can you grow feijoas from seed?
Yes, feijoas can be grown from seed but plants take 8-10 years to mature and bear fruit. Grafted saplings are faster and fruit in 3-5 years.