The Latest Thinking on Kiwi and Blueberry Spacing?

bart1(6/7 Northern VA)February 11, 2008

What's the latest, "modern" thinking on the spacing of Kiwi vines and Blueberry bushes? I ask for two reasons, 1) it seems that a lot of the things I read in books is directly contradicted by you folks who are actually doing it in your back yards, and 2) some of the spacing requirements I've read are all over the map. For Kiwi, I seen spacings from 8 feet to 15 feet!

So my question for Kiwi spacing is, if I have 5 plants (1 male, and 4 females) how should I space them? I assume the male should be in the middle with 2 varities on either side, but I was thinking the spacing between the male and the 2 adjacent plants could be closer than the rest. Is that correct?

Could I space the females 8 feet apart and stick the male between the 2 middle plants (4 feet from each), or is this too close?

My next question is on Blueberries.... I have a 20 foot bed that I'm working on and I'll only have room for 1 row of plants. How many blueberry bushes can I cram into this bed? Some of the spacing requirements I've seen have been 4 to 6 feet apart - this seems huge to me!

Thanks in advance for all your help!


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Hardy kiwi are very vigorous, so I would consider ~8 feet a bare minimum. I would not plant a male 4 feet from two females, unless you want a really tangled mess. The male can be pruned back more, so it can be kept in a smaller space, but still needs plenty of room.

Most blueberries will eventually get to be 4-6 feet in diameter. If you plant them less than 6 feet apart, they will eventually become a solid hedge, although it may take several years. This is ok if the bushes are in a row, and you can get at them from each side.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 11:00AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I have my hardy kiwis planted 3' apart so I can try many varieties in a small space. I have found it is not too hard to keep them that way with vigorous summer pruning. I use some battery-powered hedge trimmers and hedge them way back three times a summer (keep about 6" new growth at each hedging). With the hedge trimmers it takes only 5 minutes to do, however rampantly they have grown. I also prune back and thin out in the winter. As kiwinut states, they are quite vigorous and if space is not at a premium then bigger spacing should be used. My hope is I will be able to remove most of the plants once I have selected which ones I like, giving the remaining ones more room.

I also have a kiwi "breeding area" with 1' spacing. Those plants are not big enough yet to see how much of a challenge it is going to be.

I have my blueberries about 3' apart and they are a solid hedge now. There is no reason to plant them any closer than 4' other than to get them to fill in sooner.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 12:52PM
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Scott, my kiwi "breeding area" has plants about 3 feet apart. This minimum is based on the size of my smaller lawnmower, not the vigor of the plants. I had some about 1 foot apart, but weeding around them got to be a major hassle, so now I make sure I can mow in between them. Over time, the spacing increases as I lose/remove undesirable vines, usually/hopefully before they get big enough to get too crowded. My "permanent" vines are spaced no more than 3 to a 20 foot length of trellis, so I can mow around them on my riding mower.

I have my blueberries about 5 feet apart, but don't expect them to become a hedge for at least a couple more years. This spring will be year four since planting the majority of them.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 2:01PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Thanks folks!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 10:05AM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

I will mimic the comments on blueberry spacing as mine have formed a hedge on 4 foot spacing. The plants are very spreading and I think any less spacing would only cause the plants to grow into eachother requiring more pruning.

I have my kiwi's planted on either side of an 8 foot wide arbor. The planting areas on either side are 3 feet deep and about about the same wide. My plant's crowns (where the plant reaches the ground) are only about 1 1/2 feet (or less) apart (3 males on one side, 4 females on the other side). I may be sacrificing some vigor on the plants, but they seem by no means restrained in their top-growth by the planting scheme I made.

i also have two other females planted along a fence (about 10 feet from the arbor). These are also planted using the same spacing.

I cannot say anything about spacing affecting production, as only one of my plants has bloomed thus far (and a male at that). I'm hoping to get blooms on oen or more of the females this coming year. I have a rooted plant I did lastspring that seems to have buds on its little branches (at least what I suspect buds would look like dormant).


    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 11:41AM
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