Kiwiberry: Recommended cultivars, verified varieties, and pruning tutorials for 2020

During the 2020 Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention, Dr. Iago Hale shared updates from his kiwiberry breeding and production research at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). The program has recently released a free online production guide.

This year, the UNH kiwberry program has also released variety recommendations and sources of verified varieties. The following is an excerpt from the program’s recent communications:

Variety recommendations and sourcing vines: Over the last year, we have been working closely with Hartmann’s Plant Company, genetically analyzing their entire kiwiberry inventory and cross-referencing it to our collection in order to validate the identities of their offerings.  That undertaking is complete, and we are very happy to be able to direct commercial producers to Hartmann’s for sourcing verified varieties.

Current recommended commercial cultivars for the northeast, now available as verified varieties from Hartmann’s:

Females:      

  • Geneva 3 (strongly recommended)
  • Ananasnaya (also commercially viable)

Males:           

  • Meader Male
  • 74-46
  • 74-52
  • Optiz Male

For male pollinator varieties, our recommendation is to plant Meader Male (early male with a flowering window that encompasses the above females), in combination with at least one of the other male varieties listed, all a tad later but still overlapping strongly with the females.  Hartmann’s inventory of 74-52 and Opitz Male is just now being developed; but 74-46 is currently available.  When buying from Hartmann’s, be sure to specify that you want UNH-verified vines.

Oregon State University Pruning Video Tutorials: Dr. Bernadine Strik at Oregon State University recently released a set of online training videos, covering proper pruning and training techniques for kiwiberry.  This online resource is excellent – clear, thorough, and well worth the $50 cost.  These videos are highly recommend for folks with commercial aspirations for this crop.

Additional Resources: Dr. Hale’s presentation from the Specialty Fruit session at the OFVC is available for download at http://www.ofvc.ca/session_notes.html

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