Trellis recommendations needed for Kiwi vines

happy_fl_gardenerMarch 23, 2009

I bought 2 one-gal. pots of Kiwi at the Leu Gardens plant sale last Saturday from Hopkins. They put the male and female plants together in one pot, so I have 2 of each.

I want to plant them, but I'm not sure what style structure to make for them. I remember some conversation about kiwis a few months ago, so I'm hoping some kiwi growers can give me some advice.

Even if they didn't produce fruit, they are a surprisingly attractive plant. (...and cold hardy too)


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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Christine
I was given as a gift a male and female kiwi in a pot. Probably the same size like yours.

I planted it by the fence on one trellis from Lowes. Everything was going fine, till the heat came and one of the vines died.

I could not buy a replacement since I didn't know which one was female or which one was male. The one left was growing so vigorously, that it was going to the neighbors yard. We decided to pull it out.

Make sure that you give your vines enough support and lot of space. Maybe a cattle panel?

When you are done post a picture to see what you decided to do.

Did you ever try the variety of kiwi without the fuzz, it is a yellow variety and my favorite!


    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 7:14PM
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Hi Silvia,

Well, since I have the plants I will plant them. Cattle panel is the only idea that I have too. Then I have to find a place to put it where it won't be in the way of other plants. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. No, I haven't tasted the fuzzless variety.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 9:17PM
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Well it's a day late and a dollar short (perhaps more like a couple weeks late), but here is the trellis I built for my Kiwi pair (also purchased at the Leu Gardens sale). I plan to have the female vine run up the left-hand post and the male up the right, and then bring them both in to the center across the top.

From what I've read, while they're normally trained to a single trunk, but sometimes multiple trunks are used to provide redundancy in the event of freeze damage. I might train the male/female to two vines each, and run one of each up the two posts. I'll have to see how it grows.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 7:10PM
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oviedo apples--- Thanks for posting a picture of your trellis. I ended up planting my kiwi at the base of the field fencing that encloses my property. So, I didn't end up making anything. It will be interesting to see how nicely the vines fill your trellis.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 9:37PM
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I hope it's a strong fence. Several of the links I found on the Web when researching requirements indicate that after a few years, the kiwis will need something that can support a couple hundred pounds. One site was indicating that on a T-Wire trellis, the support wires need 300 pounds of tension. Another was indicating that a mature kiwi can have up to 200 pounds of fruit. Sites which didn't give numbers tended to use words like 'sturdy' in describing the trellis requirements.

I suspect my trellis as designed is overkill, but I'm pleased with how it turned out.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 10:32PM
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sass36(9b Lakeland)

oviedo apples, that is a great trellis. Could you give some basic measurements and what kind of wood you used. Are there two posts on each side to support the slats on top? Thanks, Andrea

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 7:05PM
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There are only two vertical posts. The materials list follows (all generic pressure-treated pine from Lowes):

2 4"x4"x8' boards
4 2"x2"x8' boards
1 2"x6"x8' board
1 1"x4"x8' board
1 2"x4"x8' board
8 4.5" lag bolts (3/16" diameter, I believe)
I must admit I didn't count the number of screws.

The 2x6 was cut into 2 4' pieces and a 45-degree cut taken off both ends of each.

The 2x2 boards were cut into 16 22" long slats for the top. I then took a 45-degree 'nip' out of both sides of each. You can't see it from the photo angle, but if you saw the trellis edge-on, they have a similar profile to the 2x6 boards.

The 1x4 was cut into 2 3' pieces.

The 2x4 was cut into 4 pieces about 10" long and given a 45-degree slant at one end. They're easy to miss in the photo, but you can see them in place at the top of the trellis between the 2x6 and the vertical posts. They are basically to provide some additional distance between the 2x6 pieces to make up for the fact that I used only two vertical posts rather than four.

Once the 2x4 pieces were attached to the top of the 4x4's with 2.5" PT lumber screws, the 2x6 top was attached with lag bolts.

The 1x4 was attached about 26" from the top with lumber screws.

Finally I marked out the spacing for the 2x2s along the top and attached them.

Mind you the above skips a lot of details like drilling and countersinking screw holes, but that's the gist of it.

It's pretty much a half-size trellis, as generally there would have been four vertical posts and the 2"x6" board would have been left at its full 8' length. In designing this, I was more interested in saving space. I'm positive that it will allow me enough space for my kiwi to produce more fruit than my family is going to eat.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 9:48PM
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oviedo apples---The field fencing in my yard is supported at the top with a 1x8 board so the fencing will be able handle a lot of weight. My main concern is the height. It's only about 4 1/2 feet high. If its too short, then I have to make adjustments later. BTW, very nice trellis. Can't wait to see it full of fruit.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 10:02PM
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You should avoid using pressure-treated wood for kiwi vines.

I've had vines growing vigorously for a year while growing vertically up a Cedar trellis. When the shoots hit the top horizontal section that's built with pressure-treated cross beams, the shoots shriveled and died on contact. It seems to be extremely toxic for them.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:58AM
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jethro75(Z 5 N Central PA)

I know this is an old thread but it is close to what I was looking for. I built a T-trellis out of two 9', 7.5" diameter telephone poles sunk 3' into the ground and 15' apart with 4x4 cross arms that are 4.5' long . I have 12.5 guage hi tensil wire. My question is how many wires (plants) could I run and how far apart minimum should they be?


    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 8:37AM
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Hi Jethro - Unfortunately, my kiwi vines didn't survive the very cold winters that we had several years ago (low 20s). When I bought them they had the male and female vines in the same one gallon pot. I would allow at least 6' on either side of the main stem. BUT, I see that you are not in FL, so you must be growing a very cold type/variety. My guess is that they will need plenty of room to grow too.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 6:23PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Actinidia deliciosa (A. chinensis misapplied), the big fuzzy kiwi of the markets makes tree-climbing vines of some height in this part of USDA 8 - losing plants to cold merely in the 20s F. seems curious.

As it is a vigorous plant throwing out long twining growths all in one burst, in the manner of a grape plant or even a wisteria, small compact supports do not seem adequate. Plants seen in a local USDA experiment station were being grown on long sections of wire suspended from posts placed at intervals, and with arms to support the wires.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 4:36AM
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