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How to Train Kiwi Vines on Arbors

By Diane Watkins ; Updated September 21, 2017
Kiwifruit are grown on an arbor or trellis.
kiwifruit on a plate image by feferoni from Fotolia.com

Kiwifruit and hardy kiwi grow on prolific vines requiring support on a trellis or arbor. Without pruning and training, the vines will overgrow the support available and be unable to support the fruit. Train the plants during the first three years to grow on the arbor. Do not worry about fruit at this time; the plants do not fruit until they are mature, approximately four to five years after planting. Both male and female plants are required to produce fruit.

Train the trunk during the first year. Prune the vine back to two buds immediately after planting. Choose the strongest shoot to develop as the trunk and remove all other shoots during the first year. Let the trunk grow taller than required for the arbor, then pinch the terminal bud to stop its growth.

Develop two shoots at the top of the trunk to form the main cordons, or lateral leaders, during the second year. Train the leaders in opposite directions down the center of the arbor. Remove all other shoots during the second year.

Allow growth of side shoots during the third year. Leave strong shoots that are 8 to 12 inches apart. These shoots become fruiting arms that will produce fruit for two to three years. Train these shoots over to either side of the arbor support.

Prune during the dormant season, removing most of the older wood, leaving new growth to replace the fruiting canes that are removed. Do not prune male vines; allow them to produce the maximum number of flowers, then prune after flowering.

Prune during the summer, cutting the shoot growth back to four to six leaves past the last flower. Remove vines that grow excessively and become entangled. Remove most of the shoots that develop, leaving only as many as needed to replace the fruiting arms that were removed in the previous winter.

Prune male plants back severely after flowering. Male plants will grow vigorously and do not produce fruit. They can take over the trellis if allowed to grow unrestricted.

Remove water sprouts and shoots from the trunks as they appear.


Things You Will Need

  • Clean, sharp pruning shears

About the Author


Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and Web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.