For fruit to be produced, male and female vines must be present in a block and must flower at the same time. Male flowers produce viable pollen for only the first 2 to 3 days after opening. However, female flowers are receptive to pollen for 7 to 9 days after opening, even when the petals have started falling.
Pollination is extremely important in kiwifruit production. Large Hayward fruit contain 1,000 to 1,400 seeds, and Ananasnaya fruit contain up to 240 seeds. If pollination is poor, fruit will have indentations (narrow valleys) on one side or be nonuniform in shape. If you cut through these fruit, you'll find no seeds in these areas.
Hardy kiwifruit vines, even when well pruned, can have 10,000 flowers per vine.
Kiwifruit flowers are pollinated mainly by insects, although wind may play a minor role. Honeybees are the main pollinator used in kiwifruit vineyards.
Kiwifruit flowers do not produce nectar and are relatively unattractive to bees. About three to four hives per acre are needed to adequately pollinate kiwifruit. Place hives in the vineyard no sooner than 10 percent bloom of the female vines.
In some years, you may have no male vines in flower as a result of cold injury to male plants in late winter or early spring (they are less hardy than the females). In this case, no naturally produced pollen will be available. To get a crop, the females will have to be pollinated artificially. There are presently no sources of A. arguta pollen. Fortunately, A. deliciosa pollen will work well for A. arguta females. Pollen is sent in a pure form with about 20 million pollen grains per gram. To provide artificial pollination, you must apply 10 grams per acre per day starting at about 10 percent bloom of the female vines. You can apply pollen with a special "dry" applicator or in a solution. Call your county Extension faculty for more information on sources of pollen and methods of artificial pollination.
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