How to prune a kiwi plant
If you have come looking for information on how to prune kiwi, it must be that you recently became interested and / or acquired one for your personal farm. Therefore, you should know that the pruning of the kiwi is a very important procedure for it to bear good fruit.
Pruning, in case you have arrived in passing and do not know very well what it means, is the process of cutting or suppressing shoots and branches with the main objective of eliminating the driest parts, that is, those that will no longer be useful to us. give fruit, and in the same way stimulate the growth of the fruit.
The kiwi plant appreciates pruning very well, such as Eugenia Myrtifolia, which for those who know about gardening, will already know where the shots go when taking care of our kiwi plant.
First steps to prune Kiwi
To begin with, it is essential to know, and take into account, that the pruning of the kiwi will vary if we find what is known as a "male specimen" or a "female specimen", and also that there are different stages in pruning.
First, we will find ourselves in the training pruning stage, one that is usually between the first two, three or even four years. This pruning has to be done in winter, and it serves to prevent the kiwi from contracting fungi, diseases, or any other type of problems arising.
It is done while the plant is inactive or vegetative, and also thanks to this pruning we will get it to follow the path we want. In the first year, a cutting or trimming of the stem will be made once it has reached one centimeter of thickness, to favor the vigor of the new stem.
During the second year, our only job will be to cut or clean the new shoots that emerge so that the plant reaches a height according to the structure we had chosen; once the height is close to the structure, two main branches will be left, which will diverge into more branches.
From there, we will let the kiwi continue to grow freely, although removing the shoots that emerge from the main cane or stem. In turn, we must take care of the branches that come out of the upper pipes or stems, giving them the shape we want, cutting the parts that are necessary and adjust to our structure, without the branches becoming tangled, so that they do not become drown.
Once it has grown enough, we will look for between 15 to 20 buds, and it will be cut right after, preferably, a thick and strong bud. This is because the kiwi does not grow on wood from last year, but on the shoots that appear on that same wood. That is the reason for leaving the bud alive.
However, those that have not developed sufficiently, should be cut or pointed so that they are invigorated, and thus become more robust. In the same way, the kiwi must be properly guided during its first years and while these cuts are made, since once the kiwi branches are strengthened, it will be very difficult to move said branches or pipes and when trying to move or redirect them we could even reach to break them.
Here the problem arises, this would be the initial procedure if we find a kiwi whose flower is female, but the procedure changes if the flower is male.
Clean the trunk
In this case, in the same way, we will clean the trunk or main cane, as with the female. But in this case it will be possible for us to leave more than two main branches. The most important thing would be to find that the tree is taking the shape of a cup, for this we would have to cut just after a bud that looks up, which will be the one that gives us that cup shape that we are looking for.
That is to say, it would be necessary to pay attention to each of the buds in which direction the new bud that would emerge would go. Something that can be useful is to make sure that during pruning we try to place the male above the female, so that if we have more than one female tree, we can pollinate more with a single male. In the same way, whenever shoots grow that interest us because of their height, when they are flexible, it is advisable to guide them towards the females, but always taking care that these new branches do not take light away from the females.
After this formation pruning during the first years of the tree's life, we move on to fruiting or maintenance. For this pruning it is important to remember that the kiwi is a tree that bears fruit on the branches grown on the branches of the previous year; Knowing this, we will look for the branches that have already produced fruits to prune them, since they will no longer give more; and those that have not produced fruit we will leave them, since, instead of growing fruit, branches or canes will grow which will bear fruit the following year.
Intuitively, we already know more or less which branches to cut, but we have to look at the branches that have canes that have produced fruit, since some of these canes may not have produced fruit yet, and there the shoots can be renewed with new canes and leave fruit. In turn, those that all their canes have produced fruit, it is preferable to cut them. It is also essential to look for the vigor of the plant, if a branch has not produced fruit, but it is still very weak, it is preferable to cut it to make it stronger. This would be the winter pruning of female plants.
In the case of the male ones, it will be pruned looking for a greater number of flowers that pollinate, thus eliminating the weak canes and branches, seeking to strengthen them, and in the same way those that give shade to the female ones.
Apart from these winter prunings, we find summer prunings for both types, known as thinning pruning, which in the case of female trees seek to remove branches that will not produce anything in order to fight against what we explained before, which is that the plant suffocates or that it does not get enough light from its own branches, and in the case of male trees, better pollination and the cutting of branches that shade the female or are weak.