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Site selection
Cultivar selection
Flowering
Tree management
Fruit harvest
Pests and diseases
Australian guava moth
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Feijoa

The feijoa (Acca sellowiana) is a member of the Myrtaceae family and is native to southern Brazil and Uruguay. Feijoas were introduced to Europe in 1890 by French botanist Edouard André and have since become a common tree in many countries, although the modern feijoa cultivars are distant cousins of the original specimen introduced by André (Table 1).

Table 1: Feijoa cultivars and their attributes.

 

 

 

Fruit size Sensory attributes Harvest season/storage
Unique medium-large soft & juicy flesh, mildly aromatic very early season, does not require cross-pollination
Gemini medium strong acid flavour early season, good storage life
Pounamu medium good flavour early season, good storage life
Apollo very large
( > 260 g)
sweet with excellent flavour mid season, delicate, good storage life
Kakapo medium good flavour mid season
Opal Star medium-large excellent smooth flesh mild flavour late season,good storage qualities
Wiki Tu large-very large sweet with good flavour late season
Triumph medium good flavour late season


Site selection

The feijoa tree is hardy and will grow almost anywhere in New Zealand. However, late-maturing cultivars may not be suitable for cooler regions because early winter frost can damage fruit before they ripen.

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Cultivar selection

Most cultivars require cross-pollination to produce good quality fruit. Lack of cross-pollination can result in small fruit or hollow fruit with little or no pulp development. Planting a self-fertile cultivar such as Unique, which has self-fertile flowers (see Table 1, above), is an option for the home gardener.

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Flowering

Flowering begins around November and continues for four to six weeks. Feijoas are pollinated by birds that feed on the sweet and juicy petals of the brightly coloured flowers. In New Zealand, the most important bird species for pollinating feijoa flowers are blackbirds (Turdus merula) and mynas (Acridotheres tristis). Invertebrates and small birds visit feijoa flowers but are ineffective pollinators.

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Tree management

Prune to provide access for birds so that they can move freely amongst the branches during flowering and to allow easier fruit harvesting.

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Fruit harvest

Fruits are ready to harvest in March to June. Feijoa fruit attain optimum harvest maturity just prior to the time of natural fruit drop. Most home gardeners usually collect mature fruit from the ground, but fruits are likely to be healthier (i.e. last longer) if they are `touch-picked’. This involves gently tilting the fruit sideways or forward, gently pulling them down and harvesting them only if the fruit gives way easily. Research has shown that bruising will make fruit more susceptible to fungal rots. Therefore, fruits picked up from the ground may not last as long.

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Pests and diseases

A number of pests and diseases are present on feijoa but most are unlikely to cause serious damage or affect yields. However, a recent arrival, the Australian guava moth, is causing commercial growers some concern. Scientific research may provide some answers in the future.

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Australian guava moth

This moth is present in Northland, the area north of and including the greater Whangarei region. Guava moth lay their eggs (Fig. 1) at the stem and style end and in cracks and crevices on fruit. The resulting larva (Fig. 2) feed inside the fruits, causing premature fruit drop. Pupation occurs in loose soil and debris on the ground. Guava moth damage may affect the productivity of a garden feijoa tree and the gardener may notice a hole in the fruit with frass (insect feces) at the entrance (Fig. 3). Guava moth infestation is obvious once the fruit is opened as the flesh is brown and rotting. Pheromone traps to catch adult guava moths (Fig. 4) are available from your local Fruit-Fed supplier.

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Figure 1: Guava moth eggs in a crack on a fruit surface.

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Figure 2: Guava moth larva.

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Figure 3: Guava moth larva feeding on a macadamia with insect frass at the entrance to the hole.

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Figure 4: An adult guava moth.

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