A few years ago I wondered if thinning strawberry guavas would increase their size. I thinned heavily on some branches, not on others. At harvest, there was no apparent difference in size between the fruit on thinned and unthinned branches.
This year the same tree set an exceptionally heavy crop of fruit. Immediately next to it was a red strawberry guava which set a normal crop. The branches of the yellow strawberry guava started drooping from fruit weight, so I thinned some, but not enough! One day I noted the tree was virtually defoliated on many branches. The red strawberry guava next to it showed no sign of duress. I rapidly thinned what remained of the guava crop, and am pleased to report that the tree has started to recover.
So here's a new 'rule of thumb' for the year of the guava: if you can touch two guavas with your thumb, they're too close (I favour the metric thumb).
Different size and types of fruit, different cultivars of a species, and different stages in the life of a fruit tree may require different rules. It is well to keep in mind, as I had not, that thinning is desirable for many purposes other than to increase the size of the individual fruit.
DATE: March 1986
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