Hardy Kiwi - which females for Ken's Red Male

rjcantorMarch 12, 2013

Hi! I have a Ken's Red Female, an Issai and a Ken's Red male (Or that's what it's labeled) What other females can be pollinated by that male and what ones do you recommend for flavor and size. Thanks.

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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

Hardy kiwis can be pollinated (arguta species). I like annasnaja, Issai, and Ken's Red.
John S

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:02PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Does Ken's Red come in a male variety? I've never heard of a male Ken's Red, but then again, I haven't heard of a lot of things.

I'd be concerned that you have all females and no males.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:54PM
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It wouldn't make any sense to call a male tree Ken's Red because it makes no fruit and presumably the "Red" describes the fruit.

More likely the nursery simply suggests that male tree as a pollinator for Ken's Red to make things simpler for the buying public.

Either that, or somebody got confused by the fact that "Ken" is a man's name.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:32PM
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I'm in the same boat as Bart--never heard of a male Ken's Red.

FYI Anna and 49er are tops for flavor. Best by far for me. Ken's Red has a unique flavor among the hardy kiwis though. And Issai's flavor to me is two notches below the rest. All the rest are extremely similar in flavor and just a half a notch below 49er/Anna IMO.

Another tip in case it helps, the whole self-fertile thing with Issai is a bit irrelevant since space limitation is not really an issue--you can keep males pruned to 10% of a female--just need some flowers on it and shady spot is even more OK for the male since it doesn't need to ever ripen fruit. 1 male can pollinate a few females (maybe 5ish?). Not worth it for the flavor drop off with Issai--it really is the worst one to me :(.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:34PM
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It's the male they recommend for the KR female. Whether anyone but them call's it a KR male I don't know.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:49AM
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Thanks for the tip on Anna & 49er. Do they have flowers at the same time as KR? Would my male be likely to pollinate those two as well?


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:53AM
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I don't know anything from experience yet, but I've never heard of notable differences in bloom times, and my understanding is that any hardy male will pollinate essentially any hardy female. Does anyone have any reason to think otherwise?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 7:00AM
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FYI- Wellspring Gardens does list a "Ken's Red Pollinator (Male)". Which I take to mean that it's just a male plant that will pollinate the Ken's Red female.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ken's Red Pollinator

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 12:59PM
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Good question re bloom time but I *think* any male pollinator will do. Ken's red Female I think can be pollinated by the same male pollinators that pollinate Anna/49er and all the rest of the gang. I think this would suggest they overlap bloom quite nicely--that a male specially for Ken's Red would also pollinate the others then.

BTW here's a more specific breakdown of the flavor IMO in case anyone is wondering:

-Main difference with hardy kiwis and regular kiwis to me (besides not having to peel them and just popping them in the mouth like berries) is that most hardy kiwis do not have the sometimes harsh acidic after bite taste of a regular kiwi. Of course they are tangy sweet balance but that sometimes flash millisecond uncomfortable intense kiwi bite on the acidic side is missing--I think that's a good thing. I think hardy kiwis overall are superior to big regular kiwis in flavor.

Anna and 49er have a beautiful tangy and sweet balance--just excellent. I can't imagine any better tasting hardy kiwis. I taste tested them two seasons in a row on 3 tastings total (with the first one blind to the variety names) and thought the same each time--those two were also the top two favorites of EL owner. Independent, blind, and repeated results agreeing with him is a good sign.

Issai was the worst each time having a weird astringent taste afterwards and a bit of that overly acidic bite at the end (don't get me wrong I am in love with acidic fruit--but this is just an annoying astringent acidic weirdo taste). It is still an 7 or 8 out of 10 I'd say though. The rest were all 9's with no differences just a tad of that astringent/acidic bite of a regular kiwi and not as full of a sweet/tart balance in the initial flavor. Anna/49er were clear 10's and I could never choose on any sampling which was the better. Equal 10's. Ken's Red I think was a bit unique but I did not like it too much. Perhaps it tasted like a real kiwi more but without an aftertaste in a bad way--just in a good kiwi way but in that same spirit of a bit more harsh acidic. To me though it defeats the purpose of a hardy kiwi though when you start tasting exactly like a real kiwi... I think the hallmark benefit of these guys is that they are an IMPROVEMENT in flavor to kiwi--not an equal. But if you are really in love with regular kiwis--you may want to avoid Anna/49er possibly. So Ken's Red would be a 9 with a slightly different flavor profile.

In summary, Anna/49er the best, then all others including Ken's red with a unique taste I can't quite recall, then Issai. They're not worlds apart in flavor. But I care a lot about nuances in flavor.

BTW some do ripen at different times but I don't know if they bloom differently. I'd bet you'll be OK with any male.

Hope this helps some get an idea of their flavors without having taste tested them side by side :).

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:32PM
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Persian, thanks for sharing those details. Do you remember the names of all the varieties you call "the rest"? Was '55' included in the taste test, or was it not ripe at the same time as the others? Do you think your taste tests were neutral as to stage of ripeness or might the timing of the test have contributed at all to the results? I, too, think hardy kiwis over and above the fuzzies are an incredible tasting fruit, but I'm still just at the beginning stages of growing my own vines.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 6:48AM
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Good point regarding ripening times having affected taste test as that is culprit I suspect for about half the taste tests I ever read of. I think 2/3 samplings were around same time of season but the third one was different time by 1-3 weeks and still same results. Sorry for the imprecision but there were also Anna/49ers tasted at different stages of ripe (just ripened vs crinkled/bit over ripe) and it seemed pretty consistent--actual taste improvement in the cultivar. Issai was also always bad. Kens Red I only had once and it was good.

The "others" I didn't bother to pay close attention to all the variety names since they were all the same but this was at EL planting site and I think they were Dumbarton, Geneva definitely, Meyers, and very possibly 55 because they have that one in ground--but don't remember it specifically same with MSU don't remember it specifically but may have been in. Sorry don't have any more specifics--but I was pleasantly surprised when I got the same taste test winners blinded as the owner has over many seasons of fruiting. I would bet a good bit that 49er/Anna are true champs.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 3:36PM
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