Feijoa can successfully be grown form Invercargill to Kiatia but generally speaking they prefer more than 1000 growing degree days and frost that only get down to about -5 degree’s c by mid June otherwise the fruit can be damaged warm north facing sites in some cooler area’s will also provide an excellent sit for growing feijoa. Earlier varieties such as tagan and tagan 2 are more likely to fruit and ripen in the south island.
It is a rare site that cannot be made suitable. Optimum soil conditions are a pH of 5-7. The optimum soil type varies from sandy or gravely loams to clay loams, but high clay content would need adjustment. Medium fertility with appropriate quantities and timing of macro-elements and organic matter is required. All soils need fertilizer and water.
Correct fertilization is necessary for good quality fruit and high yields, especially if it is an irrigated system. The production potential is directly related to a careful fertilizing programmed on young trees and a maintenance programme on yielding trees in order to return estimated average removal of nutrients. It is recommended that fertilizer timing be used to maintain a high level of reserves during the critical periods, i.e.: active growth, flowering and fruit set (Nov-Dec). Excessive Nitrogen will cause soft growth and will prejudice the tree towards wind rock with resulting root disease. There will also be the risk of an increased incidence of Verticillium Wilt.
Calcium is usually needed in but correct pH is within a large range so Ph is not that significant. An annual dressing of NPK 12-6-12 or any other mix with a NPK ratio of 2-1-2 is appropriate. Fertilize to get good strong growth only.
The best time to plant is dependent on many factors mainly associated with local climatic conditions. Availability of irrigation may also be a factor. For most areas of New Zealand either spring or autumn planting is recommended and the following guidelines may help:
- For areas subject to cold winters plant in spring.
- For areas with mild winter conditions and/or subject to dry summers, plant in autumn.
The majority of Feijoa varieties require cross pollination hence the planting of more than one variety is necessary to ensure good fruit set. Pollination is generally undertaken by birds, which are attracted to the brightly coloured flowers. Blackbirds in the South Island and a combination of blackbirds and mynas in the North Island are the main pollinators. It is generally necessary to have more than one variety to ensure cross-pollination, with alternating rows per variety the most practical arrangement. Only Unique is sufficiently self-fertile to be planted as a single block cultivar.
Home gardeners usually wait for the fruit to drop from the trees. Commercially, fruit needs to be in good condition for longer periods and therefore needs hand harvesting or netting off the trees. This can be done with a little experience in judging when fruit is ready by fruit size after some initial fruit has begun to fall. Hold fruit and give a gentle wiggle to tell if ready. The main harvest is April – May in cooler areas and from February - April in the North.
Feijoa are incredibly drought tolerant but in saying this good availability of water thru the summer will greatly improve fruit consistency and size. So though irrigation may not be absolutely necessary in does make a huge difference if condition get dry.
The Feijoa tree is shallow rooted, drought tolerant but benefits from irrigation in very dry years. It is a very adaptable plant producing in semi-arid to temperate conditions. Profitability is available in good agronomic conditions supported with an organized management structure. Production starts on the 2-3 year after planting, gaining full production on the 5-8 year and remaining highly productive during many decades.
Feijoa will tolerate frosts during the winter but reaching -10°C air temp. For any length of time could be lethal. Feijoa the fruit is also frosted at anything below about -3 so it is important not to plant where you can expect a frost of more than -3 between March and mid June depending on variety. Not with standing this they require a minimum of a 1000GGd to successfully crop and avoid severe winter frosts. As for an additional 300 ggd the fruit ripens 1 month earlier refer gdd map north and south Island Trees are brittle and more susceptible to wind damage than other fruit trees. Shelter from the northeasterly and northwesterly winds will improve production and quality. Keep air drainage though, as stagnant air pockets will cause disease build up. They need a high amount of sunlight per day. So strongly south sloping sites can be a disadvantage.
Strong winds can affect Feijoa fruit production. Orchard shelter should always be regarded as a necessity for commercial plantings and ideally should be established before the crop is planted. Shelter from prevailing wind benefits helps Feijoa production in the following ways:
- Helps protect the fruit from both leaf and limb rub.
- Protection against limb breakages.
- Reducing water loss from soil and leaves.
- Creating a more favorable microclimate for fruit ripening. Well-sheltered blocks can be 2°C warmer than exposed ones. This can be particularly important in cooler, marginal areas.