Kiwi Fruit - Planting and Care Guide
The best site to plant a kiwi fruit tree in a moderately sunny place, where they can ramble across a trellising system. They will tolerate a light shade, if needed. Vines should be protected from strong winds, since they can snap off new growth The soil should be acidic, with a pH of about 5-6.5, rich in organic matter and not too salty. If the soil is too basic, leaves will show nitrogen deficiency.
Water is fundamental to kiwifruit plants: they should be planted on a well-drained soil and watered constantly, especially in summer when they usually undergo the most stress. Water is the single most important cause of kiwifruit tree exfoliation: leaves will usually turn brown and fall off if the plant has to endure constant stress.
Kiwi fruit trees need a lot of nitrogen, especially in the early season, so add a nitrogen-rich fertiliser early on. Adding nitrogen in late season may cause the fruit to store poorly, so it's a best practice to avoid overdoing it around March. Subsequent fertilisation can be done in early summer.
‘Jenny’ will arrive as a two-year old pot plant. It will take another two years before it starts producing fruit, and shouldn’t be pruned until then.
Choose a sunny aspect and provide a good rich soil, with plenty of well-rotted compost. Once the plant has been set in its final place, give it a good watering and then leave it for a couple of weeks before assessing the need for another drink. They don’t usually need much watering unless there has been a considerable drought.
When you plant a Kiwi Fruit that is when the pruning and training begins. For the first year, focus on making sure that the growth on the Kiwi is straight and developing a strong frame. Prune the kiwi back to about 30cm (1ft) from the ground. Remove all side branches until the vine reaches the top of its trellis or post, cutting the top a few inches below the top of the post or trellis, encouraging side shoots to grow laterally along the wires.
Plan a major annual pruning session in the winter around the first week of February with the goal of cutting away excess growth and shaping to develop a strong main trunk. Cut back vines to the point where they have three or four buds but not further as Kiwi blooms on last year's wood.