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Kiwifruit and conifers

I HAVE two kiwifruit vines that flower but don't fruit. Any suggestions? And what should you feed conifers? I've given mine a drink of Thrive poured over the foliage.


CONIFERS don't need much in the way of extra fertiliser as they have low nutrient requirements and can generally draw all they need from the soil. The Thrive possibly won't have much effect, as I doubt if conifers absorb much moisture through their foliage.

Mulching over the roots to conserve moisture during summer drought will be beneficial as it can get very dry in your neck of the woods. You could give the soil around them a light dressing of a general fertiliser in early spring, but once well established in the garden, conifers should be able to fend for themselves, nutrient-wise.

Kiwifruit vines are either male or female and the flowers on a female vine have to be fertilised with pollen from a male vine for fruit to form. Commercial kiwifruit growers plant one male for every 10 or so female vines to ensure fruit set. So the lack of fruit on your two vines could be because they are both females and perhaps there's no male vine nearby. It's possible, but unlikely that they're both males. Or if both sexes are represented, it may be there are no bees around during flowering. Even if there are, bees aren't very enthusiastic about visiting kiwifruit flowers as they don't produce a lot of nectar. If there's an easier nectar source nearby, they may ignore the kiwifruit completely, which is why commercial kiwifruit growers place lots of beehives among their flowering vines to maximise pollination.

Other factors such as lack of water or poor weather during flowering can reduce fruiting, but they usually only result in low yields rather than no fruit at all.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 194, 2005, Page 18

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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