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training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Posted by semaje 6b (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 13, 10 at 6:18


How would I train my hardy kiwi on this? I have a male and a female obviously, each on gets a half of the trellis. I realize it looks like a shaded spot but during the growing season the way the sun travels they almost have sun all day. This is an old picture for the plants have been planted last fall. I havent done anything too them thus far pruning or guiding wise. So what should I do? I understand how to train them on a T bar trellis but not this one.
Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

For that type of trellis, I would suggest you VSP (vertical support position) train them like you would for grapes. Basically, you would train the trunks up to the bottom wire of the middle of each half of the trellis. Then train cordons out along the bottom wire. All the lateral canes will then be trained straight up to the top, weaving between the wires for vertical support. Excess growth on the sides and top can be hedged to maintain the size. When you prune the vines, you cut back to spurs along the lower cordon, and train new growth up to replace the vertical shoots from the previous season.

I don't know of anyone growing kiwis this way, but it works great for grapes, so give it a try. You may have to experiment with the pruning to get good production.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

  • Posted by ejp3 7NY (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 13, 10 at 13:59

How about growing them using a cyclone fence as the trellis. Would they be trained differently?


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Don't do half male half female, do 80% female 20% male. All you need is one twig of male really, the bees are quite good at spreading around the pollen.

I have a simple two-wire trellis and I use the top wire only, letting the vines run cordons along the top wire like grape cordons. What kiwinut suggests may be better because it will spread the load -- my one wire is probably taking too much load.

Scott


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)


This is my male.

Should I do any initial pruning to it to start training it?

I can visualize what you are talking about kiwinut, i never thought to do them like grapes. But what if I say trained an almost central leader like piece up to the top of the trellis then pruned so that shoots went across the wires horizontally? Would this work? Just an idea.

Scottfsmith,
I hear you, i do actually have two females and one male. forgot to mention the other. its in planted in the middle. But yeah i could definetly have more, maybe ill try rooting some cuttings later on


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Don't let the vines wrap around the stake or wires. If you do, they will get embedded as the vine gets thicker. Not that I'm an expert, but that is the advice I've read, and it makes sense to me.

Alex


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

ive read that you are supposed to make an initial prune back to a few buds when you first plants it. i planted it last fall, and its growing now. is it too late to prune it back?


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

I don't think it's ever too late to prune kiwi! I planted mine in the ground last summer, after growing them in a pot for a couple years. I picked the longest leader on the female and cut the rest....by the end of the season, a new leader sprouted from the base and overtook the leader I had chosen, reaching about 10 feet in length.

Alex


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Last year I bought a booklet from Raintree Nursery called Growing Kiwifruit...it's from Oregon State U. I finally got my plants this year and the booklet is VERY helpful. I think it was only $5. I highly recommend it!

Ann


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Thanks alex I did end up doing just that. and i actually have the same booklet Ann, i got it from the same sight as well. Very helpful but it only talks about training them on T bar trellis's, which are unlike mine. I shouldve done a T bar. Dont know what I was thinking.

James


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

The advice I got years ago was to train to a single trunk. Not sure it really matters. The grape idea should be fine after that- just keep the wood organized a bit.

The main thing about kiwis is figuring out what the spur wood is and going after the water sprouts repeatedly during the summer.

They come from forests where they grow up trees and thus don't excessively shade their fruiting wood with vegetative wood because it grows straight up. Those water sprouts create a full umbrella on a trellis when they run out of vertical room to grow up to.

Get lots of light on those short knobby pieces and you'll probably get good harvests.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

  • Posted by logrock 7b (NW of Atlanta) (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 28, 10 at 9:12

Just in case you're not already confused, let me throw another idea at you. From what I've seen of the way mine grow, they are vertically oriented so I concur with kiwinut's idea (I usually do) of training the main branches along the bottom wire and annually selecting new vertical branches to go straight up.

That plant in the center of that span still looks pretty young and flexible, so you could probably bend it down now in which ever direction is easiest and select another branch to go the opposite way (be careful the green ones are bittle). Also, this is pretty radical but I think since they are still babies, that this coming winter I would (I really would) transplant the male and the other female, swapping their positions so you have the female in the center of the other span and the male in the center by the pole. Then you can train the females the same way.

If you're still with me... train the mail differently to go straight up the center post and split at the top and along the top wire in each direction. All you care about are the male's flowers and you can prune it aggressively to keep it smaller and under control.

Like this:

It may not seem like it now, but these are very large, vigorous and long lived plants. They will overrun that trellis in all directions so you'll have to think espalier long term and get into a routine of maintaining it. They start out slow and sensitive so I would not recommend any pruning the first year, except to maybe encourage branching where you want it. They need to store up energy to survive the winter and have a bit extra in case you get a late spring frost next year. By the third and fourth spring they will amaze you.

Hope this helps and doesn't confuse,
Ron


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

I also have recently installed some hardy kiwi vines that I got from a nursery. I know that they eventually become nigh unmanageable in terms of growth, but I'm still nervous about cuting them back too much initally. Should I wait until hot weather to prune? Should I prune immediately? I've read the Oregon State pamphlet and I've followed it fairly closely in terms of planting and building a trellis but I'm new to this. What has worked for you?


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Semaje, I need advice on my Kiwi vines too, so I hope you dont mind me asking some questions about training in your post instead of me starting a new one.

Ok guys. I ordered the Kens Red Arguta from Raintree and a male. They have been in the ground for about 3 years now. I have never done any pruning on them since being planted. Year before last they had a very rough start to the growing season due to a severe freeze, so I decide not to prune. Last year my health was not too good so they did not get pruned again. Well this year I am a little better and want to get them on the road to growing well so I can start enjoying their fruit.

Anyway, I have not trained them in any form or fashion. Basically they have just been left to ramble over the ground. My original plans was to build a pergola out of 4x4s for them to grow on, because I know that eventually the vines will be much heavier than grape vines. After seeing the different options of training them I am now undecided about how to train them. Also, before I really get into asking questions I want to let you know they got zapped by the freeze night before last. Everything else came through pretty much unscathed.

I am including a drawing that illustrates my original plan of a pergola and then the espalier method like Ron illustrated. So my questions are; if I used the espalier method what gauge wire should I use? If I have enough 4x4s could I make a double row using the espalier method like I have illustrated? What is the maximum distance apart that I can place the 4x4s?

Thanks for the advice,

David

Kiwi Training Methods


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Bumping up, waiting on a response.

Thanks, David


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

  • Posted by logrock 7b (NW of Atlanta) (My Page) on
    Sat, May 1, 10 at 9:54

Hi,

David, I'm only experienced with the conventional T-Trellis but have observed the plants enough to have feel for how other training systems would work.

How far apart are the two plants now?

I'm not recommending that espalier method since it seems quite restrictive and high maintenance. But I will probably try it somewhere. If you went with the bottom diagram, you'd have those branches extending across the ground over to the other fence and that seems awkward. If you wanted that, it might be better to propagate two or more new females by layering and grow new ones on the second fence. You don't need another male so if you wanted variety, you could get two new different females.

The pergola would be better for productivity and probably easier to maintain since they would basically sprawl on the "roof" of the pergola and hang part way down the sides. The horizontal 4x4's would sag overtime so you could use them for uprights (one at each plant) but then 1.5" or greater conduit type metal pipe for the cross pieces (surprisingly cheap). The pipe would soon get covered up by the foliage. I'm thinking that 8 feet is not too far of a span for pipe. You'd have to have wire strung between the pipes every couple of feet to support the vines. All summer you'd be trimming off the wild new growth, and in the winter thin out some of the older woody stuff to make room for fresher wood and new flowers.

Do you have room to put another female on the other side of the male and train them up to the center wire? Here is my description of that.

Consider also your garden design since these are permanent structures. The pergola could be a shady sit down spot, a T-Trellis looks more like a commercial orchard and the fences are like a barrier.

I think the 12.5 gauge fencing wire is adequate. "Gripples" work to hold wires together, and "Quick-End" for the ends. But sometimes you might need the little winches (tensioners) to make it real tight if you want.

I know it hurts to cut away healthy growing branches but it's just like pruning an old apple tree to make the fruit more accessible. Do you have photos of how big they are now? They seem to want to grow a lot from the crown (and all long every stem. Winter is good time for shaping them with some aggressive puning.

Lots of words here so I have to get out my drawing software to visualize these ideas better. What did you use to make your diagrams?

-Ron


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Once again, once you know what the fruiting spurs look like it's real easy to manage the plants to any shape you want, it's not that complicated. The surplus arms can be removed and the ones you need placed where you want on your trellis.

I disagree with the idea of replacing that upper wood every year- replace the small wood that comes off of the permanent wood attached to the trellis instead. You rotate the spurs just like with any other spurring fruit plant for best fruit. That and the frequent removal of the rampant water sprouts these plants produce is what you need to do once they've covered their allotted space.

I've been managing these plants for a couple decades and the ones I take care of are completely covered with blooms and stay where I want them. I go at them with a hedge sheer about 4 times a growing season to keep light near spurs and fruit.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Sorry for my lack of knowledge.. but what is "spur wood"?

And looking back at logrocks picture, would the vertical growth be permanent, and then allow the fruiting wood to grow horizantally? Or just keep taking out the verticals to allow new ones to grow?


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

I read this thread because if the title. I recently purchased a hardy Kiwi variety called Issai. The information I read about this variety said that it has both male and female flowers, yet all of the post above are calling for a male plant.

Is this information correct or do I also need to get a male plant?

Thanks for any help.

Cindy

(not trying to hijack the thread)


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

I just looked around online some and read accounts that it does self pollinate. But I also a little skepticism. But you should probably just get a male, I don't think you should risk it. And even if it is self pollinating, having another male will probably increase your yield.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

  • Posted by logrock 7b (NW of Atlanta) (My Page) on
    Sun, May 2, 10 at 19:02

>James (semaje),

The branches in bold are permanent and every year you'd keep a few new vertical ones. Most of the older vertical ones that have already produced fruit would be cut out in the winter to allow space for the new ones. The "spurs" producing flower and fruit won't form on your new vertical branches but will be obvious the next spring. It's sorta like primocanes and floricanes on raspberries but the primocanes come from the main branch which you keep like a grape "cordon". Unlike raspberries though, each "cane" wants to produce it own set of lateral branches so if not managed, you'd have a dense mass of leaves and branches and relatively little fruit.

I simplified it too much in my last description, but what harvestman said is right. It's not that difficult once you see the way it grows.

The male wants to grow the same way but in order to not shade the females, its side branches would have to be kept short, (or maybe add another wire above for it to grab onto). I've never grown them this way but it seems like it would work even if a bit crowded.

-Ron


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Spur wood on Kiwis are short knobby small branches. The wood with the most flower buds is bumpy while vegetative wood is relatively smooth. If you train the shape you want by the time you have it the plant will probably start flowering and you'll see what I mean.

I found out about this when I was called on to manage my first really big estate orchard that had a couple of kiwi trelleses that never fruited. Because I'm familiar with spur wood on apple trees the knobby wood the kiwis produced was easy for me to recognize.

I pruned out the vegetative wood which looks a lot like water sprouts on apples (except they keep coming all season long), kept the sun on the spurs, and when they got a heavy crop I was instantly a hero.

This was long before the internet and I had no source for kiwi how-to but I was lucky that managing them wasn't all that much different than managing apples except they require more frequent pruning. Oh yeah, and they don't have supportive trunks.

I prefer an arbor set up where the fruit can easily be seen hanging under the arbor than the espalier set up discussed here. That green fruit can be a bit illusive. Easier to see the red ones.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Alright thanks. But I got two more questions..

1.)I did dig up and swap the male and the one female. They were doing fine for about a week+ but now the females leaves are somewhat curling from the sides. The male too, but not as much. Would this seem normal? I mean I expected some shock but not a week plus later. Any suggestions?

2.) How should I go about getting the females to go across the bottom wire as showed above? They bother are single trunked and reach up to about the second wire. One only has growth up in third portion of the plant, while the other has growth all down the plant( this is the one I moved).

Really appreciate the help.
Thanks.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Hi Ron, I am sorry about the delay in responding to your questions. But yesterday and today have been kind of rough for me because of my health. I am a diabetic and had problems with my blood sugar levels yesterday.

Thanks for the tip on the conduit that will help me on having enough 4x4s to complete the pergola. I really dont have enough room for another female, the male and female are only about 25 feet apart. I know that is close for kiwis, so I am going to let the female grow in the opposite direction of the male also. I will show what I am talking about in my illustration. To answer your question of what I used to draw my diagrams; I use a software program that I got with a printer many years ago, it is MGI PhotoSuite Version 8.1. Although it does not have that many features such as Photoshop, I like it very well for my purposes.

The 4x4s that I have are used ones and are really too short for my liking, but they will have to suffice. My late mother had used them for a grape arbor; they were cemented in the ground, so I had to cut them off at the soil line. After I put them in the ground their height will be about five feet tall, and I am 6 4" tall. But Ill deal with that, at least they will be off the ground.

I will try to get pictures tomorrow if the weather allows, supposed to be getting some more rain. They look really bad, because the freeze zapped the heck out of them the other night.

I will have to learn what the fruiting spurs look like as compared to the vegetative spurs. I have never grown kiwis before so I am still learning. Also, since that I am in the process of getting them trained, can I prune them hard to get them trained onto the structure?

In my diagram this is how I plan for it to be when the structure is finally built.

Kiwi Pergola


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

I would never transplant a kiwi in leaf without bringing the soil with the plant.

Train to the lowest part of trellis first. You can take the one branch one direction and pinch off growth beyond the trellis. A bud will grow where you bent the branch and you can let it grow up until it's long enough to reach the end of the lower tier of the vacant side of trellis. When you bend it down a new bud will become the trunk that leads to the upper tier which you will fill in the same way as the lower tier. Just keep wild growth down enough to get sun on the growth where you need it. This will require frequent pinching to allow shoots to dominate that are where you want them.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

  • Posted by logrock 7b (NW of Atlanta) (My Page) on
    Wed, May 5, 10 at 11:25

semaje,

Sorry I didn't see this till now. ... grrr .. "winter!". Now is not the time to move/divide plants . But now that the deed is done, I would rig up a 50+% shade cloth (or burlap) suspended over both of them, add compost and mulch heavily, keep all the grass away and keep the soil moist. You actually might need to cut off some of the new growth to restore the balance with the roots which were certainly damaged. If you took a huge rootball their chances are better. After that, don't prune them at all this year so they can build up again. It will take all year for them to recover since summer is very stressful for young kiwis. Be patient.

=========================

david,

25 feet is not too close. Your plans should work, allowing more room for the female. But when I think "Pergola", I see a nice shady arbor that you can comfortably walk under and pick fruit just above your head. The 5 ft tall "tunnel" you describe will be a nice hiding place for kids (and grandkids?) to go in and find the fruit for you. :-) The branches will drape down over the sides.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Ahh! I don't know what I was thinking! Actually I do, I think.. I guess I just wanted to move them to I could begin training them this year. But now I dont even think I can. The females really not looking so good. I did remove a big rootball when the deed was done. I took off some new growth like you said and have been watering.

Anyways, another question. Since im going to go ahead and train the one i didnt move thats doing terrific. Whn I train across the bottom wire, should I train laterals as well? Or wait until I get across the bottom?

Thanks
James


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

bump.

Waiting for a response to my last question. Then I think ive got it all figured out.

Thanks


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

  • Posted by logrock 7b (NW of Atlanta) (My Page) on
    Mon, May 10, 10 at 10:36

Sure if it's growing well, pick and train a few well spaced laterals (verticals) in addition to the two main bottom branches. But if you let the "extra" branches and foliage grow this year, they can add their energy to the core of the plant and be trimmed off in the winter.

But don't give up on the transplanted ones, just keep the soil moist and mulched and keep them partly shaded until they perk up, or loose ALL their leaves and get crispy, in which case you get to start over with two new ones. I'm not too familiar with fertizers other than compost which is a slow acting, long term thing but there may be something to help with transplant shock (maybe foliar feeding with seaweed emulsion or oxygenated compost tea?).


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

OK thanks again. So i did go back a begin training the one that wasn't moved.

Does this look right so far?

The one going up is spur wood I'm guessing? And also when trying to train it to the wire above a inch long tip broke off. Should have let it get a bit longer and fatter before attempting. Oh well. So is it going to harden off or something and stop growing? Cause I have a lot more distance it needs to cover.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

  • Posted by logrock 7b (NW of Atlanta) (My Page) on
    Thu, May 13, 10 at 10:26

That's the right idea but your plant is still very young. There was no harm done snipping the end off that side branch, in fact that will encourage more leaves and smaller side branches lower down. Eventually one will form below the bend to the left on the main stem and when it does (maybe won't show up until spring) you should help it find the bottom wire going left. Hardy kiwis start out slow like an exponential curve. Yours is still way over on the bottom left of this curve, but at some point you'll have more branches that you know what to do with and will struggle to keep it under control.

More important than any training this year is to eliminate all competing weeds and put some compost and mulch around it so it's slowly fed and never gets dry or drowned.

And a "spur" looks more like this:

A spur is a terminal type structure and there may be one among your lower leaf cluster to the right. My picture above is linked to my gallery of kiwi pics which I'll be adding to as the season progresses.

Hope this helps,
Ron


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Alright, so thats what spur wood is.. But back to the shoot of mine growing upwards, since a tip broke off, does that mean it's gonna stop growing upwards?


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

  • Posted by logrock 7b (NW of Atlanta) (My Page) on
    Fri, May 14, 10 at 9:19

Yes, that branch will not get any longer. New shoots will come out from the buds below the cut in a few weeks. But they won't grow as fast because the energy will be divided among them. There's no rush, just let it grow. It will be difficult or impossible to have a perfectly manicured kiwi plant anyways. Until I find a better way, I spread my branches out and tie them to the wires with sisal twine which degrades in a year (by which time they have stiffened up).

Speaking of "twine", one thing you may not have seen yet is the way the ends of the branches eagerly twine (the verb) tightly around anything they touch. I try to prevent that and am forever pinching off the wild ends and unraveling new branches. However, in your vertical orientation you might want to let them twist a few times around the top wire and then cut off the tip. I realize it was an accident this time.

And for the record, I've yet to trying growing them on a "fence" like that sketch I drew. But if I had room (or a neighbor who was interested), I would try it even if it is probably higher maintenance and less productive than the overhead T-Trellis.

Ron


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Now that you mention it I have actually noticed one end spot curling around the wire. Neat.

But now that my plants been trained that way for a little while now, would any sort of shock or stress be put on the plant, besides obviously where I bent it. Because the leafs are curling from their sides some similar to the ones I transplanted, just not as drastic. And they just don't look as happy as they used to.

Also, when could you guess the two I transplanted will begin perking up again and maybe growing some? Its been a couple weeks. I haven't gotten around to put up the shade cloth or burlap but I have it mulched heavily, been keeping it moist, and trimmed off some lower growth like someone said above.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

  • Posted by logrock 7b (NW of Atlanta) (My Page) on
    Wed, May 19, 10 at 12:22

Hi James,

I'd say they also need the shade, asap. Hopefully they will perk up before the hot July and August sun.

It may not be the prettiest thing but all you'd have to do is rest a couple of sticks against one of the horizontal wires above each of the two transplanted ones and then drape any kind of light fabric over it all and maybe attach it twine or clothes pins. I suggested burlap since it's cheap, looks more natural than a lot of stuff and you can easily double it for more shade.

Can you post another picture?

Why I'm helping is because I'm starting a nursery specializing in these plants and want new kiwi growers to be successful.

I'm learning too, have killed more than my share and hopefully can help you save yours. One thing I don't know about is quick acting transplant shock root fertilizer or hormone. If you decide to use something, use it half strength of what the package suggests.

Ron


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Semaje, when you plant or transplant something that is going to be stressed for whatever reason I suggest that you use Mycorrhizae fungus in the soil.

However, since that you have already planted the kiwi vines this is what I would do. Use something to make several holes around the plant down to the depth of the root system. Then put about one tablespoon of the Mycorrhizae in each hole, fill each hole with soil. This should help the plants recover better.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Ron,
July or August huh? Not what I was hoping but I guess it is what it is. I will definitely get some burlap rigged up in the two like you said, I'm not concerned about looks really at this point.

Wow, a hardy kiwi nursery... Thats a neat idea and it looks good so far. Best of luck with it. And thanks once again for your willingness to help out new growers. Id personally probably be totally lost with out it.

Oh and by the way I'm not to sure if I mentioned that the females are both Jumbo Argutas and male is an Arguta. Not sure if it matter really, but, there you go.

Heres so more pictures

My female I transplanted:

My male I transplanted:

My other female:

Trellis:

And thanks David I'll definitely look into that. I am not familiar with it.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

bump


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

Ron? You there?
Is it normal for a kiwi to get stressed after pruning and bending to a new position? Because my one that I didn't move hasn't grown at al since ad doesn't look to great.


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RE: training my hardy kiwi (pic)

  • Posted by logrock 7b (NW of Atlanta) (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 17, 10 at 11:46

James,

Sorry for the delay, busy with work and lots of stuff going on in in the yard...

Anyways, they good news is your plant look pretty good. Nice clear pictures too, thanks. The fully grown leaves sometimes curl up a bit like that. But they don't look wilty and they have a nice color. I think you did it!

Now they are just taking a break and growing some roots. Even the one that did not get moved is probably getting ready for a second flush of growth and you should see new shoots come out.

And there is no bad news that I can see. You may still have to shade them a bit in the hottest, sunniest time of year and keep the soil most but not soggy. They should never look wilted except late afternoon on a very hot day and should stiffen up by morning.

Your soil looks good from here (rich in organic matter). Add more compost / mulch whenever you want but don't dig it in too deep because the roots are pretty shallow and fibrous.

Good luck, Ron


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