[nafex] Re: When to pruning Hardy Kiwi

claude sweet sweetent at home.com
Sun Aug 5 18:46:03 EDT 2001

I would suggest summer pruning male kiwi vines. The object is to have as
much flowering wood on the male vines as possible to enhance
pollination. Winter or dormant pruning would defeat that purpose.

Female vines can benefit from some summer pruning to reduce the tangling
of long shoots, but this is best accomplished by tipping the ends of
shoots prior to their growth getting out of control rather than removing
excessive amounts of vegetative growth and potentially causing fruit
exposure to the sun, resulting in the fruit being sunburned.

I assume that the plant has been properly pruned and trained to a 3 wire
T-Bar trellis system. A process that can take 2 years after field
planting a plant which has been grown for several years in a 3-5 gallon
container or purchased as a LARGE dormant bareroot plant.

The trunk is tipped to allow two branches to develop about 18 inches
below the height of the main wire. A shoot (main cordon) is allowed to
develop in both directions along the main wire.

The female plants produce long shoots from the primary cordon attached
to a main supporting wire of the trellis. These shoots are called
secondary cordons and should be spaced about 1 foot apart, alternating
on either side of the main cordon.

The secondary cordon growth can reach six feet or more in its first
season. It should be cut back in its 1st winter to allow the cane to
just drape over the outside supporting wire in a three wire T trellis
system. I would use green plastic tie tape to secure the cordon to the
outside wire.

The following spring, the secondary cordon will produce bud breaks along
its entire length. If flowering occurs, it will be from the nodes
closest to the main cordon. These shoots are called laterals. Develop a
concept that produces a lattice of the lateral branches. 

I suggest spacing the lateral shoots about a half foot apart,
alternating on either side of the secondary cordon branch. You might
allow more shoots to initially develop near the main cordon to see if
flowers might develop. Excess growth can be removed in early summer
after sap pressure is reduced and the pruning wounds will no longer
bleed. DOn't attempt to paint the pruning cuts. It is unnecessary and a
waste of time and money.

The following winter the lateral flowering shoots are pruned back to
keep about eighteen inches of new growth past the last
flowering/fruiting node. The remaining nodes will produce new growth
which will produce flowers. These lateral shoots will hang down towards
the ground.

New secondary cordons should be trained each year to replace an equal
amount of older secondary cordons and fruiting laterals that are
removed. The object is to always have the fruit produced so it can be
supported by the wire trellis and that a canopy of new shoots will shade
the fruit and protect it from sunburn, wind, hail, and bird damage.

I hope my description can be understood without a diagram.

Claude Sweet
San Diego, CA

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