Grafting female fuzzy kiwi onto male plant
Hello, We planted 2 fuzzy kiwis 4 years ago, one labeled as a male 'Matua' and one labeled as a female 'Saanichton', which are now flowering for the first time. That's how we discovered that the female plant was mislabeled, and is actually a male. The plants are very healthy and have substantial trunks and large root systems. I thought I might buy a female plant and graft parts of it onto one of the males during the dormant season to effectively turn it into a female plant, rather than replacing it with a small plant and waiting another 4 years for it to flower. I'd appreciate any advice on how feasible this would be. Thank you.
Benton County Oregon
Thank you for your patience as we researched this question.
Unfortunately, there just hasn't been enough research into this plant to give you a definitive answer. Typically kiwifruit are not grafted because of issues with cold-hardiness during the winter months here. This observation comes from plants that are grafted using the rootstock and scion method. It sounds like you are interested in trying a version of budding propagation instead? It's unknown if this type of grafting will speed up the time to fruit production. I was unable to find a compatibility chart for kiwifruit rootstocks so this might not be an issue like in other fruit trees.
If you have the space, it would be a fun experiment that might end up being successful in the microclimate of your yard. Some specifics on the types of grafting and recommended times for grafting can be found in this University of California publication: http://fruitandnuteducation.ucdavis.edu/fruitnutproduction/Kiwi/Kiwi_Propagation/
You can read much more on propagating and growing kiwifruit in the OSU Extension publication, "Growing Kiwifruit". https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/pnw507
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