Much to my surprise, when several plants were dug up and placed under the verandah (in a pot) they really weren't the same trees at all. I had a pineapple guava, at least four years in the ground, which had barely grown. I gave it water in the beginning but then let it fend for itself. The plant never died, but then it never seemed to flourish either.
new growth (left) old growth (right)
The remarkable thing which happened after spending several weeks in ideal conditions, the guava's leaves, started to change. Instead of being tiny, grey and a little fuzzy, they put on new growth that was green, shiny and substantially bigger.
I had noticed these spindly traits on a lot of the plants I had in direct sunlight with no micro-climate. I just thought they were meant to look like that - despite all the lovely photos I saw on the internet of other peoples lovely specimens. Perhaps I just got a dud variety?
I almost wish I'd rescued it sooner, but then I never would have made this new discovery in the field, about how important micro-climates are. Plants need other plants - layers, or they just make it through the summer without any new growth and definitely no fruit. The difference between four years growth and a few weeks in ideal conditions, is remarkable.
That's how quickly a plant can grow in our area during summer, when it has an agreeable micro-climate. Needless to say, my focus this autumn is to get a lot of support species into the ground to create better micro-climates around the garden. I'm glad to have planted pigeon-pea trees in pots, just for this cause. I got cracking with planting today, but there are many more to go.