Fertilization of Young Kiwifruit Vines
It is relatively easy to burn the roots of kiwivines, so apply fertilizer cautiously. The following recommendations are based on Hayward in California and New Zealand.
Fertilize young kiwifruit vines monthly with small amounts of nitrogen. Ammonium nitrate and urea are good sources of nitrogen for kiwifruit.
In the first year, apply no more than 0.4 oz of actual N per plant per month in May, June, and July (total of 12 lb actual N/acre based on 160 plants per acre). Spread the nitrogen in a circle 6 to 12 inches from the base of the trunk.
In the year after planting, apply 0.8 oz of N per plant per month in April, May, June, and July (32 lb N/acre total). Spread the fertilizer in a ring about 12 to 36 inches from the trunk.
Fertilize third- and fourth-year plants with 2 to 3 ounces of actual N every other month from March through July (60 to 90 lb N/acre).
You may liquid feed nitrogen to young plants on a 2-week to monthly interval instead of using granular fertilizer.
Do not fertilize young plants with liquid or granular forms of nitrogen later than July. Late fertilization forces late vegetative growth that is very sensitive to cold injury. Once plants bear fruit, the crop load tends to suppress late vegetative growth and reduce risk of fall frost damage.
Other nutrients may be added in spring either foliarly or to the soil surface. Base applications on nutrient needs/analysis. Kiwifruit vines tend to take up a considerable amount of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Test soil for P and K prior to planting and incorporate nutrients preplant if necessary.
Bernadine C. Strik, Extension Berry Crops Specialist, Oregon State University.
This fact sheet is adapted from Oregon State University Extension Publication EC1464, Growing Kiwifruit.