Pruning Kiwi correct

Pruning Kiwi correct

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Question: Proper Kiwi pruning

Hi, the question that I ask you, I need to be able to give a more correct information to my future father-in-law, very good at working in the garden, but which in my opinion makes some mistake in pruning the kiwi. I at my parents' house, I always have seen pruning the plants simply by removing the secondary branches, the tangled ones, keeping the main ones where then new buds and branches will grow back, in short, an abundant but not excessively drastic pruning. and also from the ground I keep it at least 2 meters high, and of fruits they always make it enough. Instead, my father-in-law, his wife complains, has the habit of cutting them too much as if it were a vine, leaving a few tens of centimeters high from the ground or a little more than half a meter, and he is afraid that this is why they do not produce so many fruits .
Can it be true, and what is the most appropriate method to treat these plants?
thank you very much for the attention.

Answer: Proper Kiwi pruning

Dear Elena,
the Kiwi is the fruit of the actinidia chinensis, a very vigorous climbing plant, widespread in Asia and most of New Zealand and Australia, areas from which the use of this fruit has reached us, towards the end of the 20th century century, when all over the world kiwifruit of New Zealand origin spread; the cultivation of actinidia in Italy has gained a lot of ground, so that today Italy is the world's largest kiwi producer. The first crops began in Trentino, today the kiwis are also grown in Veneto, Piedmont, Friuli, Lazio, Puglia and Campania. It is a very fruitful and vigorous climbing plant, and as everyone knows it is a dioecious plant, that is, the male flowers and the female flowers are present on different plants; to have a good harvest you need at least one male plant every 5-6 female plants.
As your future father-in-law rightly does, they are plants that must be pruned like vines; however we need to understand what this sentence means; in fact if the pruning technique and the period are decidedly similar to those carried out for the vine, in effect the actinidia is left a little longer and with more branches and buds, because a single plant can bear more branches and fruits than those it bears a screw (so in fact you are both right).
Therefore the actinidie are pruned in February-March (in late winter, when there is no longer any risk of intense frost); proceed by pruning near the base the branches that have borne the previous year, and about 5-6 buds are left on the remaining branches; if vigorous suckers form at the base of the plant, they are eliminated; in the same way, branches that are damaged or twisted or that grow too thick are eliminated.
In many areas, every 2-3 years pruning is performed, that is to say all the branches are shortened, leaving only a couple of them with at least 3-4 buds, to favor the development of a stronger vegetation; this type of pruning can lead to a poor harvest in the current year, but favors more abundant crops in the years to come.
When the fruits are already present on the plant, the branches that bear the fruits are usually clipped, up to 2-3 leaves after the last fruit, and the branches that do not bear fruits are slightly shortened.
Kiwis are resistant plants, once inhabited for a long time, although it is good to place them in an area of ​​the garden sheltered from the wind; they need a manure-based fertilizer to be supplied each year, at the end of winter; watering is important, especially when the summer is dry, but we avoid leaving the plants constantly in damp soil or with stagnant water. These plants do not like soils with very high pH, ​​higher than 7, where they often produce poor crops.

Kiwi pruning tools

As with all types of pruning, it is advisable to use sharp instruments capable of producing clean and precise cuts to prune the kiwi. Scissors, pruning shears and pruning shears are ideal for pruning these climbing plants as the cuts must be clean and precise and not jagged, serrated.
For this reason we strongly advise against using pruning saws, saws and chainsaws because they are all instruments with teeth that tear the bark and therefore produce frayed cuts that increase the entry surface of pathogens such as fungi and bacteria.
So before pruning the kiwi let's make sure that our scissors or the blade instruments that we intend to use are very sharp, after which we proceed with a firm and firm hand and prune the branches.
Before starting the pruning operations and especially after cutting infected or sick plants, it is always a good idea to clean the blades and disinfect them with alcohol or disinfectant to kill any spores or bacteria that may have remained on the blades.