Kiwifruit in California
Kiwifruit is dioecious with separate female and male plants. Traditionally eight females were planted for every male individual (Reil 1994), however a five to one ratio is more commonly used now (J Hasey, pers comm) to increase pollination. The characteristic green flesh of kiwifruit results from high levels of chlorophyll within the fruit. There are also yellow flesh cultivars commercially available, although they are not commonly grown in California.
Growth Habit & Management
Kiwifruit has a distinct growth form from other commercial perennial fruit and nut crops commonly grown in California. As a result of this distinct growth form orchard establishment and management of kiwifruit differs from general training and pruning practices used in other fruit and nut crops. In commercial production the plant is pruned and trained to a single trunk, supported on a trellis. Two vigorous canes are allowed to grow in opposite directions down a central wire to form the two main arms called cordons. Fruiting canes originate from nodes along each cordon and develop flowers which produce fruit the following year (Hasey 1994). Annual pruning of fruiting canes maintains strong replacement cane growth ensuring good fruit production (Beutel 1994). Each cane has a distal coiling portion that growers anchor to the trellis because, unlike other vines, kiwifruit do not have tendrils. Plants require winter chill, adequate summer irrigation, and protection from wind. Fruit is harvested in the fall and stores well, extending the availability of California kiwifruit to consumers from October through May (Beutel 1990).