Question: Correct Kiwi pruning
Hi, the question I ask you, I need to know how to give a more correct information to my future father-in-law, very good in the work in the garden, but who in my opinion makes some mistakes in pruning the kiwi.I at my parents' house, I always have saw pruning the plants simply by removing the secondary branches, the tangled ones, keeping the main ones where then new buds and branches will grow again, in short, abundant pruning, but not excessively drastic. and besides, I keep it at least 2 meters high from the ground, and they always make enough of fruit. Instead my father-in-law, his wife complains, has a habit of cutting them too much as if it were a vine, leaving a few tens of cm above the ground or a little more than half a meter, and he is afraid that this is why they do not produce many fruits .
Could this be true and what is the right way to treat these plants?
thank you very much for the attention.
Answer: Correct Kiwi pruning
Kiwi is the fruit of actinidia chinensis, a very vigorous climbing plant, widespread in Asia and in most of New Zealand and Australia, areas from which the use of this fruit has come down to us, towards the end of the 20th century century, when kiwis of New Zealand origin spread all over the world; the cultivation of actinidia in Italy has caught on very much, so much so that today Italy is the world's largest producer of kiwis. The first crops began in Trentino, today kiwis are also grown in Veneto, Piedmont, Friuli, Lazio, Puglia and Campania. It is a very fruitful and vigorous climbing plant, and as everyone knows by now it is a dioecious plant, that is, male and female flowers are present on different plants; to have a good harvest you need at least one male plant for every 5-6 female plants.
As your future father-in-law rightly does, they are plants that should be pruned like vines; you have to understand well what this sentence means; in fact, if the pruning technique and the period are decidedly similar to those implemented for the vine, in fact the actinidia is left a little longer and with more branches and buds, because a single plant can bear more branches and fruits than it bears a screw (so in fact you are both right).
Then the actinidia are pruned in February-March (at the end of winter, when there is no more risk of intense frosts); proceed by pruning the branches that have bear fruit the previous year near the base, and on the remaining branches about 5-6 buds are left; if vigorous sucks form at the base of the plant, it is eliminated; in the same way, ruined or intertwined or too dense branches are eliminated.
In many areas, every 2-3 years there is a pruning of aging, that is, all the branches are shortened, leaving only a couple with at least 3-4 buds, to encourage the development of a stronger vegetation; this type of pruning can lead to a poor harvest in the current year, but it favors more abundant harvests in the years to come.
When the fruit is already present on the plant, the branches that bear the fruit are usually topped, up to 2-3 leaves after the last fruit, and the branches that do not bear fruit are shortened.
Kiwis are hardy plants, once planted for some time, although it is good to place them in an area of the garden sheltered from the wind; need a manure-based fertilizer to be supplied every year, at the end of winter; watering is important, especially when the summer is dry, but we avoid leaving the plants constantly in a damp soil or with stagnant water. These plants do not like soils with very high pH levels, higher than 7, where they often produce poor crops.