What Type of Fertilizer to Use on Kiwis

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Kiwifruits grow in more than 50 species, with fuzzy and hardy kiwis being the most common. These are tropical fruits, but are hardy to 0 to minus 20 degrees F, respectively, and succeed in many areas of the country. The vines always require the right soil, nutrition and planting, with careful feeding schedules.

Site and Planting

  • Even hardy kiwifruit vines need warm-weather starts and protection during their youth. Plant these vines in mid-spring to void early frost damage. Put them in pots, or in garden locations that get full sun to dappled shade, with good air circulation. In outdoor sites, avoid low-lying areas, which collect cold air and frost.

Soil Nutrition

  • According to the Oregon State University Extension, kiwis do best in quick-draining, slightly alkaline soil, with a pH of 5.5 to 6.0. Standing water leads to root rot and death. Mix any kiwi planting site to a depth of 3 feet with 1 foot of quick-draining garden loam, sand or decomposed granite. Add 6 inches of organic compost or well-rotted manure for moisture retention and starting nutrition. The soil additions create a naturally raised bed for better drainage.

Starting Fertilizer

  • Kiwifruit vines respond well to frequent, heavy feedings. Start feeding the plants one month after planting with 1 oz. of 10-10-10 fertilizer per plant. Sprinkle the fertilizer onto the soil in a 12-inch circle around each plant and mix it into the top 2 inches of soil. Give the plants repeated monthly feedings until mid-summer. Always water the plants immediately after feedings.

Continuing Fertilizer

  • Resume feedings in early spring of the second year, with 2 oz. of fertilizer per plant. Fertilize an 18-inch circle around each plant, and mix into the top 2 inches of soil. Increase to 1/4 lb. of fertilizer and a 24- to 36-inch circle in the third year and thereafter. Follow the same schedule of monthly feedings from March to June or July, and water generously after feedings.

References

  • Photo Credit Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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