Pruning Fuzzy Kiwi: Taming a Wild Beast

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Little does Boz realize that as he stands (make that sits) watch…

…a fuzzy kiwi vine kidnaps the napper.  (Later, Boz drags me out in a daring rescue.)

Fuzzy Kiwi vines are notoriously vigorous, so vigorous in fact that I almost went missing one summer day. Cloaked by coiling vines with questionable intentions, an afternoon nap almost resulted in a search and rescue. (I’ve seen Little Shop of Horrors.) After seven years of kiwi vine domination, which at one point included the summit of my second story house,  I was determined to tame the beast and domesticate its demeanor. Lucky for me, an ice storm accommodated my plan by pulling the vine off of the house for easier pruning. Thank you Mother Nature.

My tools of the pruning trade included a reciprocating saw with pruning blade, floral pruners, sturdy loppers and Felco pruners (not shown).

After locating five to six of the strongest and healthiest canes, I kept them intact and clipped out the wild mess of remaining vines like an army barber takes on a head of hippie hair.

Working from one end to the other–prune, separate, repeat–I pulled the intact tangle of vines away from the parent vines in one fell swoop. While the newly pruned kiwi vines seemed a little naked and a lot diminished, I knew my pruning tough-love was necessary for the health, productivity and life of the vines. My new plan is to build a strong (very strong) wire trellis arbor that will guide as well as corral growth, resulting in a vine focused on production, not abduction.

Boz has no idea what it is, but he’s certain it’s edible (and he did rescue me from the clutches of Kiwi the Creeper, after all) .

16 COMMENTS

  1. Tom: Mercy !- I thought you were going to buried alive! Thank the heavens Boz rescued you before you were devoured by the ever spreading kiwi vine. Thanks for yet another fine chuckle…or I should say,make that two or three mighty hard good laughs! 🙂

  2. Your Kiwi looks like an anorexic aracnid; scary enough to frighten young children and send Granny running for her double barrel, or perhaps to retrieve Uncle Jed’s large hobnail for the killing. Land o’ Mercy.

  3. Renae, yes I do and they are great. I pick them before the first heavy frost and they ripen slowly off vine in a month or two in my pantry. Who would have thunk, huh?

  4. We had a kiwi fruit vine when I was growing up. It was in the chicken coop, providing them with a lush roof in the summer and dappled sunlight in the winter.
    In those days of course, they were called Chinese Gooseberries.

  5. Just found your blog and I LOVE it! I gave my trumpet creeper the same haircut. My neighbors, who love the flowers, actually came running out into the yard yelling, “Why are you killing the vine?” I assured them the only way to keep its flowery head off my pillow and out of the pantry was to prune it into submission. So far it’s working but I fear revenge…

  6. Tom, I like your photos and stories that you have in your farm:))
    For kiwi riping, after the harvest we collect all the fruits in one box and put an apple in the box with the kiwis, they’ll be ripen easier.
    Have nice days.

  7. My home’s former owner planted grapes, hops & wisteria on the same wall. The saw idea is sheer brilliance and will save me at least two days and a six pack of beer 🙂 Thanks for another great blog & fab photos.

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