Kiwi Plants

To post in our Book Club, please log in or sign up for an account here.

Author Message

Jean Wyenberg

I have a "mating" pair of Kiwi plants at the house I am living in. These babies grow like you would not believe..unfortunately they are planted right beside the house and so have to be beaten back on a fairly regular basis to save the roof. Maybe this fall the landlady is going to have kind of a structure built to direct the vines outwards from the house. Anyway, what I would like to know is when is the best time to cut these back to avoid harming the production of fruit? Of course at the moment it has to be cut back whenever it threatens to take over the house.

Tuesday 16 August 2011 03:26:01 pm

Linda Gilkeson

Hi Jean,
Yes, kiwis certainly grow an astounding amount during the growing season. Dormant pruning is only part of the story with these, because they also should be vigorously pruned, pinched and guided all summer as much as possible. For spring through fall pruning, you particularly want to remove any vigorous shoots (watersprouts) that are growing straight up but don't have any fruit. Pinching back tips of longer fruiting vines is good too. The male plant can be cut back far more than the female--so keeping all of the shoots on the male cut back to half a metre (under 2 feet) is fine. Next winter, the goal is to prune out surplus branchs so that the branches to be kept for fruiting are spaced a couple of feet apart along the main trunk. Good luck!

Thursday 18 August 2011 05:48:37 pm

Jean Wyenberg

Thank you so much Linda....that is great detail. These things should never be planted close to a house! Er, how do you tell the boy from the girl??

Friday 19 August 2011 10:53:45 am

Linda Gilkeson

Hi Jean
That's a very common question. If plants are not flowering yet there is no good way to tell them apart if they weren't labelled when they were planted. Once plants do bloom, the male flowers white have structures in the middle with pollen (fine dust) on them. I found this link that shows both male and female flowers:
Male vines usually flower at a younger age than the females; some females are really slow to start flowering--5 to 7 years in some cases. But once they get going, they start having large crops.

Friday 19 August 2011 05:59:42 pm