The kiwi, a delicious and nutritious fruit, grows on vines that require a very strong trellis or arbor for support. Since these vines can grow upwards of 15 feet in a single year, they must be pruned annually to keep the plant under control. Similar to grapes, kiwis form fruit on one-year-old stems and, also like the stems of grapes, must be trimmed and trained regularly.
Choose two or three strong vines to develop as a permanent trunk. Do not allow them to wrap around the centre trellis or arbor support or they could constrict each other in the future. Tie them to the centre support at intervals of 20 to 24 inches apart.
Cut stems growing from the front or the back of the centre stems. Allow side laterals to develop on opposite sides of the permanent trunk. Prune the side laterals to 10 to 16 inches apart. Tie laterals to the support structure.
Prune old laterals, during the winter, where they connect to new shoots from the previous summer. Remove the old laterals and tie the new shoots in their place.
Remove canes that are weak, tangled, twisted or broken. Remove vines that have crossed sides. Maintain approximately 8 to 12 inches between each cane.