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Planting Kiwi Berry Vines

Fuzzless Hardy Kiwi (Actinidia arguta) are great to eat and easy to grow! These no-spray, pest-free vines are excellent for covering walls, fences, trellises or arbors, and they do well in part shade to full sun.

Fruit trees require fertile soil for good growth, so before you plant, check your soil pH. Contact your local County Extension Office for information about soil testing in your area, or purchase one of our digital meters for quick and accurate results. Kiwi plants enjoy a soil pH between 5.0 and 7.5. They do well even in the weakest of soils—just don’t plant them where the soil may get waterlogged.

NOTE: This is part 3 in a series of 9 articles. For a complete background on how to grow kiwi berry vines, we recommend starting from the beginning.

Planting

  • Kiwi plants need support. (See below.)
  • Plant Hardy Kiwi vines in partial shade to full sun in well-drained, fertile soil with a pH level of 5.0-7.5.
  • Spacing should be 10’ apart.
  • Avoid frost pockets; kiwi plants need protection from late frost.
  • Dig a hole that will accommodate the root system and plant at the same depth as grown in the pot or nursery row.
  • Fill in hole and water thoroughly.
  • At planting time and again at the end of the growing season, fertilize with Stark® Tre-Pep® Fertilizer. (If planting in the fall, wait to fertilize until spring for best results.)
  • No pruning is necessary at planting time.
  • For varieties that are not self-pollinating, remember to plant at least one male for every eight female plants.

Constructing a Support System

Hardy Kiwi vines grow rapidly, so build a support system before or soon after planting. These can be constructed similar to grape trellises, but they must be sturdier. Set three 8-10’, 4-6” diameter post 2’-3’ deep with 8 feet between posts. Place a 3’ cross arm at the top of the posts. Space three 8-12 gauge wires between the cross arms and stretch very tightly, as the heavy, fruit-laden vines will ultimately grow along these wires.

Plant your kiwi plant next to the middle post. During the first growing season, train a single trunk to grow to the top of the trellis. Tie the vine loosely and check it often to be sure it doesn’t wind around the stake. When the trunk reaches a few inches above the wire, cut it back to 3-6” below the wire. This forces the trunk to grow into a structurally strong “Y” shape forming two main growth branches. Allow two trained branches to grow along the middle training wire for the remainder of the growing season. Do not allow the branches to wrap around the wire. Remove all suckers growing from the trunk. Make sure the wires securing the trunk to the post do not restrict the expanding trunk.

For Tropical Kiwi, you should follow cultural practices of Hardy Kiwi.

NEXT: Fertilizing Kiwi Berry Vines
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