Fuzzy Kiwi Survival

charlieboringMarch 10, 2014

Last spring I transplanted three fuzzy kiwi vines to run up my pergola as shown in the photo. We had a very harsh winter and I am curious as to whether the fuzzy kiwis survived. I performed the scratch test and the vines were green below the bark. Is that an indication that the vines survived?

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steve_in_los_osos

They must be alive where you scratched at least! Smaller caliber limbs may have been damaged--or not.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:10PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

My impression is the fuzzies are more hardy than the standard write-ups make it sound. I have never seen any dieback at all on mine in 12 winters. I recently checked and all are looking very green this year, no signs of damage anywhere. The figs and blackberries didn't fare so well.

Scott

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:52PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Scott -
What did it get down to where you are?

According to my outdoor thermometer, we wen't down to -3. I'm worried about my kiwis and figs but I still have all of them wrapped up.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 3:31PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

The low here was 3F. I got no damage at all on the kiwis. The figs look really bad though, all the branches I checked yesterday were crispy to some degree. I have had 3F before; I think the length of the cold this winter dried them out over time.

Scott

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:44AM
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charlieboring

Here in Northern VA it got down to 5 degrees. I believe my kiwis may be alright. My hardy kiwis are fine also. My celeste and brown turkey figs may have suffered and my pomagranites look dead. My Texas everbearing figs overwintered in pots in an unheated shed and they look okay. I have an apache blackberry that I planted in the fall; do you think it will survive? I am also overwintering some artichokes in the raised bed shown in the photo. I covered them with leaves and a bucket to protect them, but success is iffy. My other fruit trees (jujube, peach, apricot, asian pear, plum, fuyu persimmon, paw paw) are larger so they should be okay.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:59AM
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tyler_j(6a)

I have a male chinensis (hort16a seedling) in my unheated greenhouse here in Ontario, Canada that has bloomed now for the last 3 or 4 years. We probably had at least 10 days of -20c (-4F) this year.

When I first started growing them outside next to my hardy kiwis they would look good through winter (green under the skin) but end up dieing down to the ground by the time spring came around. Since growing inground in the greenhouse I put a heater in there starting about now and that gets them through until the risk of frost is over. I think what kills them is a warm spell that gets the sap running then after a freeze the vine is a goner.

Now I just need one of the others to prove to be a female so I can get some fruit lol.

Tyler

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 2:08PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I have also heard similar stories, its late freezes that do kiwis in both fuzzy and not. But the fuzzies seem more prone to late freeze damage. In my climate we tend to have a fairly gentle transition to spring but those with wider temperature swings will be in trouble.

Speaking of wide swings, right now its going from almost 70 down to 25.. I think my trees/vines are still pretty much dormant or I would be concerned.

Scott

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 4:06PM
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trianglejohn

My fuzzy's look fine but I won't count them as a success until I see lots and lots of leaves. In the past I have had plants give all the signs they survived winter only to die half way through Spring. In the middle of greening up. Something about enduring the cold temps causes them to run out of gas while waking up in the warmth.

It aint over til its over.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 4:10PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

My impression is that Scott has one of the most favorable Z6-7 climates anywhere in USA. I'm 7-8 according to maps. Figs die back every year. Fuzzy kiwi are toast. My grapes were nearly killed in May last year. One jujube was killed. It's the wide swings in temperature that kill things here. Our low this winter was 15F. Figs are kindling wood down to soil line. We usually swing from about 20 to 70F each week all winter.

My grapes and jujube are pushing buds and we are 5 weeks from ave last freeze.

Even in Victoria TX ave winter lows in 40s and my friends figs freeze back most yrs.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 4:13PM
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WrittenOnWater(N. VA 7a)

Scott - I can tell you that your pomegranates were alive as of late January, at least. 80% of the Salvatski cuttings you gave me rooted, and 10% of the Kazake cuttings you gave me rooted!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 5:49PM
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WrittenOnWater(N. VA 7a)

Scott - I can tell you that your pomegranates were alive as of late January, at least. 80% of the Salvatski cuttings you gave me rooted, and 10% of the Kazake cuttings you gave me rooted!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 5:50PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Scott / Fruitnut
Did you cover/wrap your fuzzy kiwis this year? I think in the past you (Scott) said you don't even give them winter protection.

Mine are still wrapped up up and I'm wondering if I should unwrap them and see how they look or just keep them wrapped. We're forecast to go down to 25 on Monday.

This post was edited by bart1 on Thu, Mar 13, 14 at 10:33

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 10:32AM
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charlieboring

Bart 1 - I read something sometime back on the internet that stated that the biggest problem seen in growing the Fuzzy Kiwi has been frost damage to the lower trunk. While the top of the plant is hardy to below 10 degrees when dormant. Sunny weather with very cold nights can cause freeze damage to the lower portion of the trunk. In many cases this damage is severe enough to girdle the plants causing the death of the top. While plants often send up new shoots, the top growth is lost. After reading this to prevent this damage, I wrapped the lower 2-3 feet of trunk with bubble wrap and mulch heavily around the base of the plant. I am leaving the wrapping until after the last hard freeze.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 12:10PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Bart, I have never wrapped my kiwis. I have also heard trunk splitting is a major problem, if the spring sap is flowing and there is a deep freeze, ka-POW! goes the trunk. I've never had anything close to that on any of my fuzzies.

Scott

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:01PM
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jimmy_va(7)

Hello everyone,

Charlie
Funny thing, I am in Northern VA and I am growing almost exactly as what you have? My celeste and brown turkey figs
and some pomegranates are dead this year.Celeste is coming up from the base.my hardy kiwi is in bloom again for the third time.
Chin

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 9:12AM
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charlieboring

Chin - I planted two new fig trees from cuttings that traded for, "fico nero." This coming winter I am going to try to wrap them to prevent bad die off. My fuzzies have recovered nicely.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 5:04AM
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jimmy_va(7)

Charlie- Great to hear your fuzzies made it.They probably reached the top of your nice pergola already.
I put two Isaac kiwis to go up my second trellis three years ago and they aren't even half way yet.They are only at 5ft.tall,but fruited heavily ever year.I don't think they can take full sun,by August they were fried back to 5ft.every year.That is why I want to replace them with the fuzzies,but hesitated until now.

Thanks everyone for the information, I hope it's not too late to put in two fuzzies next couple weeks.

Chin

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 1:03PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Following up on this thread on fuzzy kiwi hardiness.. two of my deliciosa kiwis ended up splitting their trunks this spring. I think the above March freeze when I thought the plants were fully dormant was the problem - the sap was flowing and the cold spell caused the trunks to split. It was the big old trunks that split the worst, the younger shoots had little or no damage. I have about 10 different fuzzy kiwi plants and the other 8 didn't have any problems.

Scott

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 8:39AM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Also following up.......

When I unwrapped my 2 fuzzies (one male, one female), they both looked ok but were still dormant. I did a scratch test on both and saw green on both.

A few weeks later, the male started putting up new shoots from the roots but nothing from the existing vine on the trellis. The female didn't put out any new growth.

I waited a few more weeks and still there was no new growth from the female so I pulled it out and put in a new one.

As I mentioned up thread, my winter low was -3 and both my plants were wrapped and covered. Based on my one data point it seems like the male is a little more hardy than the female. Then again, maybe age is a factor. The male is a year older than there female (3 years vs 2). I had to replace the female because it died after the first year.

This spring was my second replacement plant.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 11:44AM
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trianglejohn

My two females had splits in their trunks where the morning sunlight hit them after things warmed up in Spring. I figured this year would be a bust because of how extensive the splits were but the vines healed and seem fine now. My 3 year old male decided to bloom this year in sinc with the girls so I am loaded with fruit for the first time.

Next year I plan on caging and stuff with dry oak leaves the lower parts of the vines and to pay attention to the morning light and where it hits the plants.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 1:22PM
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