The Q&A Archives: Kiwi

Question: I seem to be having problems with four kiwis (root stock) that I bought this year. They seem to be struggling as evidenced by some leaf discoloration. I have some pics I can send if you send me an email to the address above. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Best regards,

Answer: Kiwi vines do best in deep, well-drained soils. They are very sensitive to standing water, especially after bud break in spring. Research in New Zealand has shown that if roots are water-logged for 3 days or more, the root system and vine growth are severely damaged.

In California, it is recommended that kiwifruit be planted on 3 feet of well-drained soil. Another option is to plant vines on raised beds (at least 1 foot high). This is advisable in heavy soils, since it also may protect against phytophthora root rots.

The optimum pH is between 5.5 and 6.0. Vines show poor growth at a pH above 7.2. If you don't know your soil's pH, have it tested. The test results will include suggestions for lowering the pH.

Good irrigation is critical for good growth and production. Irrigate young plants enough to wet the root zone without keeping the crown too wet; otherwise, crown or root rot may occur. In young plants, the range between too wet and too dry is narrow.

Aside from the above information, you can go to the Oregon State University website and read about pruning, training and trellising your kiwis. The address is:

You may find additional clues on this site as to why the leaves on your plants are showing stress. Best wishes with your kiwis!

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