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Pruning Kiwi Berry Vines

Pruning is an important part of proper edible plant care. Once established, a kiwi vine must be pruned throughout its lifetime to maintain form, size and maximize fruit production.

NOTE: This is part 6 in a series of 9 articles. For a complete background on how to grow kiwi berry vines, we recommend starting from the beginning.

Pruning Tips

  • It can take any where from 3 to 5 years to have your main kiwi vine structure complete. At the end of the first growing season, if main trunk has not grown to the top of the post, cut it back to 4 to 8 buds from the ground. This is only done at the end of the first growing season.
  • Your vine should have a single trunk that forms a strong base. This trunk is not pruned unless it becomes weak or injured. From the trunk, two main branches grow forming the “Y” structure. From the two main branches fruiting laterals grow at a 90º angle. These will bear fruit for two to three years and grow vigorously. The laterals should be draped over the outer wires every 10-15 inches. They need to be pruned when no longer productive. Leave sufficient numbers to replace old fruit canes.
  • Both summer and dormant (winter) pruning are necessary.

Dormant Pruning

  • Head the trained branches back to an upward facing bud.
  • Remove damaged, dead or crossing limbs.
  • Remove any side growth on trunk below the two main branches.
  • Remove one-third of the fruiting laterals. Keep in mind you want your fruiting laterals well spaced on each side of the two main branches.
  • Shorten the other branches so when laden with fruit they will not touch the ground.
  • Remove any competing suckers on the trunk.
  • A winter mulch around the base of the plants is advisable in areas with 0°F or colder winters. Remember to keep mulch away from the trunk.

Summer pruning

  • Remove suckers growing from the base when they are just a few inches long.
  • Remove any tangled or broken limbs.
  • Throughout the growing season, thin out non-fruiting branches to reduce dense shading of the fruit.
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