Guava is known as an apple of the tropics and is also famous as poors man apple. Guavas are native to South America, Mexico and other parts of North America. This fruit is cultivated in tropical and subtropical climate all over the world (Africa, the Caribbean and parts of Asia, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia and Spain). Pakistan is the second largest producer of guava after India. Other largest guava producing countries are Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia, Cuba and Cambodia. Its production has increased up to ten folds and has reached up to 580 thousand tons in last five years.
After citrus and mango, guava is the third major fruit of Pakistan with respect to its production. It is grown in all provinces predominately Punjab areas like Sheikupura, Lahore, Gujranwala, Kasur, Jang, Sahiwal and Faisalabad. In Sindh, excellent pear shape guava with smaller seed core is grown in Larkana, Dadu, Shikarpur and Hyderabad. Hazara valley is also famous for production of good quality guava.
It contains rich quantity of minerals like vitamin A, B complex especially vitamin C which is 2 to 5 times more than fresh orange juice. Guava fruit is used mostly for squashes, pickles and juices which are leading to cottage industry. In Pakistan, guava is mostly propagated through seeds. There are several problems associated with seed propagation. First, it exhibits a great variation due to inevitable heterozygosity that comes through cross pollination. Secondly, seed propagated plants come into bearing much later than vegetatively propagated plants. Moreover, seed propagated plants have unique characters of parent variety cannot be multiplied or preserved.
Certain propagation techniques like air layering, rooting cutting and stooling are tried in fruit plants to increase their productivity but these techniques are still not commercially viable due to varying rate of success, absence of tap root system and cumbersome process. In the developed countries establishment of orchards is not recommended as seedling because that will not be like parent type in yield, taste and fruit flesh color. Up to present, air layering has been the only reliable method of vegetative propagation of guava but this method does not allow production of large number of plants from a limited source of plant material. Hence to produce true to type guava plants, guava softwood cuttings were used to increase production which is also one of the easiest and rapid way of clonal propagation.
Under above consideration an experiment was conducted in the Institute of Horticultural Sciences, UAF. In this experiment, guava softwood cuttings were taken from healthy and disease free plants. Then these cuttings were prepared from apical shoots of 12 cm length carrying 2 to 4 nodes and leaves. A slanting cut was given on lower portion of cuttings to facilitate callusing process. It is imperative to use hormone powder when rooting a guava tree cutting. Then these cuttings were treated with different concentrations of IBA solution for two minutes and were planted in different rooting media sand, silt and top fertile soil separately. After plantation cuttings were covered with polythene in order to maintain humidity which is necessary for guava rooting. After 90 days, cuttings were uprooted and observed that more than 50% of the cutting have rooted and emitted aerial parts in silt (bhal) medium with 200ppm concentration of IBA. Our results demonstrated the viability of guava cutting for fast multiplication of guava plants.