Actinidia - all about growing miracle berries
Actinidia belongs to the family of tree-like lianas and the family of Actinidia. Under natural conditions, this liana can be found in the Himalayas, Southeast Asia and the Far East. China is considered to be the birthplace of actinidia. As many people know, kiwi is the closest relative of actinidia, but our kiwi does not grow, it freezes out, which cannot be said about actinidia. At one time, around 1910, Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin literally fell in love with actinidia. He has been engaged in this culture all his life and praised actinidia so much that he considered such cultures as gooseberries and grapes as secondary and requiring replacement by actinidia.
Currently, actinidia is grown mainly in private-sector gardens. There are no industrial plantations occupied under this crop in Russia. In culture, you can often find types of actinidia - argument, polygamum, Giraldi and colomict, as well as hybrid. Most of the space is occupied specifically for actinidia colomict, because this species is characterized by high winter hardiness and relative undemanding to growing conditions, the actinidia of the argument and polygamous are also grown in the center of Russia.
The main differences between the types of actinidia
Actinidia colomictus (Actinidia kolomikta) - a liana up to ten meters long with a trunk diameter of only 2-3 cm. Variegation is clearly noticeable: the tip of the leaf changes color from snow-white at the beginning of summer to bright raspberry - at the end. The flowers of this species are very fragrant. The mass of fruits is up to 6 g.
Actinidia is acute, or Actinidia argument (Actinidia arguta) - This is the most powerful liana, can grow up to three tens of meters. In perennial plants in the wild, the trunk diameter reaches 20 cm. The plant is dioecious (male and female individuals grow separately). The fruits reach a mass of 6 g, ripen closer to the end of September.
Polygamous actinidia (Actinidia polygama) - reaches a length of five meters. The diameter of the trunk is 2-3 cm. The mass of fruits is up to 3 g. Often confused with actinidia colomict, but the polygam is less hardy.
Actinidia Giraldi (Actinidia arguta var. giraldii) - similar to actinidia argument, but has larger and more palatable fruits. It is extremely difficult to find these plants in nature.
Actinidia Purple (Actinidia arguta var. purpurea) - named for the purple color of the fruit. The main disadvantage is that it is practically winter-hardy. Fruits are maroon, weighing about 5.0 g.
Actinidia Hybrid Is a hybrid of arguta and purple actinidia. The result was a winter-hardy hybrid with large fruits.
At present, actinidia: Giraldi, purple and hybrid in plant taxonomy, is considered to be subspecies of Actinidia argument (Actinidia arguta)
Description of Actinidia
As we already know, actinidia is a vine, it has fancy leaf blades, usually thin and leathery, painted very interesting. In early summer, about a third of the leaf at the tip is white, as if immersed in white paint, this place turns pink during the season. Scientists have found that in this way actinidia attracts pollinators to their flowers, which, by the way, have a unique, simply magical aroma (especially in Colomict actinidia), somewhat reminiscent of the smell of jasmine, but only more “sweet”. The stems and shoots of actinidia are quite thin, they require mandatory support, otherwise they will spread along the ground, thicken and lose their decorative appearance. The kidneys are interesting in actinidia, they are hidden in the scars of leaf blades and the tip is turned down.
Boy or girl?
Actinidia is a dioecious plant, that is, on one plant there can be as soon as male flowers, so only female ones, like sea buckthorn flowers. Therefore, in order to get a crop, representatives of both sexes of actinidia must be landed on the site. There are, however, individuals that have both male and female flowers, but it is not worth the risk, it is better to trust the professionals when choosing planting material. To understand what gender the actinidia seedling is in front of you, you can only during the flowering period by carefully inspecting the flowers: female specimens usually do not have stamens, and male specimens do not have a pistil. However, there are female flowers with stamens, but they are poorly developed, have sterile (non-viable) pollen, while the pestle is much better developed.
Actinidia flowers form in the sinuses of leaf blades. During the flowering period, it is not always possible to notice the flowers, they are as if hidden under the leaves. Sometimes, to make out a flower or make a spectacular shot, you need to raise part of the vine. Actinidia blooms quite long, but depends on the weather: if it’s hot, then the flowers please the eye for no more than a week, if it’s cool, then the flowering is brighter, the aroma is strong, and it lasts 10-12 days. After pollination, the ovary begins to develop, which eventually turns into small fruits of elongated actinidia and most often a deep green color.
The fruits of actinidia ripen closer to the end of summer - the beginning of autumn, when fully ripened, they soften and can be eaten. The taste resembles something between a kiwi and wild strawberries, sometimes there is a pronounced strawberry aroma. Each berry is a storehouse of vitamins and minerals, but there are especially many ascorbic acid actinidia fruits - up to 3000 mg%, which is close in indicator to rosehips.
It is possible to plant actinidia both in spring and in autumn, but, given the southern roots of this plant, it is preferable to still do it in the spring. We recommend that you choose actinidia seedlings in the nursery for at least two years for planting, because one-year-olds take root pretty badly and the older the seedling is, the better. Ideally, it is better to buy a seedling with a closed root system three or four years old, the chance that it will take root, in this case the maximum.
After you have bought an actinidia seedling, you need to choose a good place for planting for it. It is better to choose the most open and well-lit place, flat, without depressions and depressions, with a groundwater level no closer than one and a half meters to the soil surface. Ideally, if the wall of the house or the fence will protect the actinidia plant from the north side. Of course, you need to choose a place with the ability to install supports in the future, that is, there should be quite a lot of free space. Given the advice of professionals, you should not plant actinidia near large trees, for example, apple trees, because the powerful root system of the tree will consume most of the moisture and nutrients from the soil and inhibit the vine. Actinidia can well be planted next to shrubs, there will be no harm from this to anyone.
As for the type of soil, the ideal option is, of course, the soil is loose, nutritious, with plenty of moisture and a neutral reaction.
Actinidia spring planting
So, spring is the best time to plant actinidia. Be sure to do this before the buds open, otherwise the seedling may not take root. Before planting, the soil in the selected area must be dug up to a full bayonet of shovels with a selection of weeds and the planting of 2 - 3 kg of well-rotted manure or humus, 250-300 g of wood ash and a tablespoon of nitroammophoska in the soil. When the soil is ready, you can start digging planting pits. You need to dig them in accordance with the planting scheme, and it is determined by the type of planting you are planting.
If you place an actinidia of an argument on the plot, a very vigorous vine is by no means modest in size, then you can leave a meter and a half or two better free spaces between the pits, and if you plant an actinidia colomict (polygam, Giraldi, hybrid), which grows less actively than the argument, then You can leave a meter. In the event that you decide to encircle the arbor with the vine, the wall of the house or the fence, you can plant the plants a little more often, leaving 75-80 cm between them. You should not plant more often, because it will be difficult to care for the plants, the vines can be intertwined, shading each other friend.
Before planting, prepare actinidia seedlings, carefully inspect them, if you notice broken shoots, then remove them. Dip the roots into the talker from a mixture of clay and nutrient soil in equal proportions. Further, when places of future pits are marked, they can begin to dig. The size of the pits usually depends on the volume of the root system of the seedling, if the actinidia seedling is small and its roots are small, then there is no need to dig a large hole. The main thing is to dig it with a size so that the roots fit freely in the hole, there is a place for drainage from expanded clay, pebbles or broken brick at the base, a layer of a couple of centimeters, and for a couple of kilograms of a mixture of nutrient soil and humus in equal proportions, with the addition of 45-50 g of ammonium nitrate, 120-130 g of superphosphate and 50-100 g of wood ash.
Then, about half a bucket of water can be poured into the hole and a seedling can be placed on nutritious and moist soil, carefully spreading the roots. It remains to fill the hole with soil, so that the actinidia seedling (or rather its root neck) is at the same depth as before that it grew in the nursery, compact the soil, pour a bucket of water and mulch the surface with a 1 cm layer of humus.
After planting for about a month you need to shade the seedling from direct sunlight and protect it from cats, they love the aroma of actinidia and can literally eat a seedling.
Autumn planting actinidia
The subtleties of planting actinidia are the same as in spring, the main thing is to have time to place a seedling on the site before the start of frost for 15-20 days.
Support for actinidia
When the actinidia seedling lives on the site for two or three seasons, he will definitely need a support, of course, you can install it right away or plant a seedling with the expectation that the vine will cling to an existing support in the form of a house wall, a fence and other things. If we talk about artificial support, then it can be absolutely any shape - such as an arch or pergola, or just a pair of pillars with three or four rows of wire stretched between them, on which creepers will gradually pounce and tie to it with ordinary twine.
Caring for actinidia is not very complicated. At its core, these are standard processes: loosening the soil, removing weeds, watering, fertilizing, pruning, sheltering, harvesting.
It is advisable to loosen the soil under actinidia in the first 3-4 years after planting a seedling, then the liana will grow and the need for loosening will disappear by itself. At the initial stage, it is necessary to loosen the soil after every heavy rain or watering, in order to prevent the formation of crust.
Weeds must be dealt with four or five years after planting; later on, weeds can be simply mowed in the near-mouth zone.
Actinidia loves moisture, but moderate, in any case it is impossible to overmoisten the soil. Do not allow excessive drying of the soil. It is advisable to carry out watering in a drought, pouring 2-3 buckets of water under the plant. He likes actinidia and bathes, about once a week in the evening you can well water it by sprinkling, moistening the maximum of the leaf surface. The main thing is to try not to water during the flowering period, this can worsen pollination.
Actinidia top dressing
Feeding actinidia not only allows the shoots to grow and develop normally, but also increase productivity, as well as drought tolerance and winter hardiness of the plant. In the spring, actinidia is preferably fed with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers. You can use both nitroammophoskos (a tablespoon for each plant), and individual elements - 25-30 g of nitrogen, 18-25 g of phosphorus and 12-20 g of potassium. It is desirable to carry out the second top dressing as soon as the ovaries begin to form; nitrogen fertilizers are needed in minimal quantities, 16-19 g is enough, but phosphorus and potassium can be more - 20-22 g for each plant.
The final time in a season actinidia can be fed after harvesting, this is approximately mid-September. Nitrogen fertilizers can not be applied during this period, you can add a tablespoon of superphosphate and potassium salt under each bush. Fertilizers are best applied in the form dissolved in water, if applied dry, then first loosen the soil and pour it with water, and then mulch with a humus layer of 1 centimeter.
Actinidia grows quite actively, especially on nutrient soil, so it can begin to thicken. To prevent this from happening, it is necessary to periodically trim the actinidia, which should be started from the fourth year of life of the seedling on the site. Trimming actinidia is best done in autumn, after leaf fall. There are no clear instructions, you just need to visually inspect the trellis, find out which shoots compete with each other, interfere, thicken each other. If you notice dry shoots, then they must immediately be cut. If you see unripe shoots with green tips, then it is better to pinch them, so they may have time to ripen.
As soon as the liana reaches the age of 12-13 years, you can proceed to the anti-aging scraps. To do this, it is desirable to trim the actinidia strongly, leaving only a part of the growths 30-40 cm long from the ground. Anti-aging pruning of such a degree of force should be carried out only in late autumn.
If you do everything right, then actinidia will begin to produce crops already from the age of three, sometimes it can proliferate a year later. Of course, at first it will be only a few berries, then the yields will begin to grow and reach their maximum by the age of six or seven years, and with a systematic anti-aging pruning, the vine can bear fruit for several decades.
On good, nutritious soil, with plenty of moisture and good care, actinidia will produce from one bush up to six tens of kilograms of delicious fruits. Fruits ripen at the same time, sometimes in order to collect the entire crop, it is necessary to carry out up to five harvests. Do not rush and pick the first ripened berries of actinidia, you can wait a little and harvest in two or three doses, but it is not worth too much, too much overripe berries can begin to crumble. The first fruits in early varieties of actinidia usually ripen in mid-August, the latter can be found on vines and in late September. Immediately after collecting the entire crop, the liana can be fed, either wood ash in the amount of 250-300 g per bush or a tablespoon of potassium salt and superphosphate under the bush is suitable for this.
Winter actinidia preparation
Colomict actinidia is a winter-hardy culture, in the southern regions it tolerates winters without problems, but if you grow a different species or live in more northern regions, you will have to hide actinidia. To do this, approximately at the end of October, when stable cool weather is established, the vine should be removed from its supports and carefully laid on the ground. After this, the vines should be covered with dry leaves or spruce branches. To cover actinidia, you can use any covering material such as lutrasil.
The main thing is to provide protection from mice, for these purposes it is necessary to put poisoned baits under the shelter or next to it. It will be possible to remove the shelter in the spring, when a stable plus temperature is established, in the center of Russia this is the month of April.
If you want to propagate a varietal plant while preserving all its cultural characteristics, then you need to use only vegetative propagation methods. This can be propagation by layering (usually arched), as well as green or lignified cuttings.
Reproduction of actinidia by arcuate layers
This method of propagation of actinidia is quite simple and guarantees the receipt of a small amount, but high-quality planting material. They begin to propagate in this way in the spring, immediately after the leaf blades open. It is necessary to choose the longest, youngest and well-developed shoot (shoots) of actinidia, then tilt it with its crown to the soil and pin it with a wooden or metal corner. The attachment site itself should be covered with soil, a layer of 12-14 cm, after which it should be abundantly watered (3-5 liters of water), the mound formed from the shoot must be mulched, it can be sawdust, or it can be humus.
The main thing is that the top of the shoot itself should not be covered with soil. Further, during the growing season, you need to water the soil near the actinidia bush and moisten the mulch, as well as fight weeds. The layering, which will necessarily appear from the mother’s shoot, weighed down, must be separated, trying not to damage the young roots and planted in a permanent place. This is best done in the spring.
Propagation of actinidia by green cuttings
This method of propagation of actinidia is most effective in terms of obtaining planting material, however, it requires the presence of a greenhouse covered with a film. Usually, young growths are cut and cut into cuttings 12-15 cm long approximately in the middle of June, although the terms, depending on the region, may shift in one direction or another. Cuttings of actinidia should be cut in cloudy weather and in the morning, when they are saturated with moisture. Try to cut the cuttings so that each has three buds and a pair of internodes. Ideally, the lower section should go directly under the kidney and be oblique, at an angle of 45 degrees, but the upper one is better to do above the kidney by a couple of centimeters, it can be both flat and oblique.
After that, you need to remove all the leaves except for a pair on the crown or one if they are very large. You can not delete the leaves, but cut them in half. When the actinidia cuttings are ready for planting, they can either be soaked in a solution of any growth stimulant (root and the like), or planted in a greenhouse without soaking. In the greenhouse, by that time, it is necessary to prepare the soil, which should consist of equal parts of humus, sod land and river sand. At the base of this mixture you need to put drainage, in the form of expanded clay, a couple of centimeters thick.
On top of the mixture you need to pour river sand with a thickness of 2-3 cm and moisten it well. It is in this mixture that actinidia cuttings will penetrate. It remains only to water the soil well and plant the cuttings, deepening by 2-2.5 cm according to the 5x5 cm scheme. Next, you will need to monitor the soil moisture in the greenhouse, it will often have to be watered: in the heat 6-7 times a day, and in cloudy weather - 4-5 times a day. It’s great if you have the opportunity to install automatic watering in the greenhouse, if not, then it is advisable to water from a watering can with a nozzle having the smallest openings and use the settled water at room temperature.
Usually, by the autumn, a full-fledged root system forms on the actinidia cuttings, but it is not advisable to dig them out of the greenhouse in the fall. The greenhouse needs to be opened, independent plants already insulated with dry leaves and left until spring. In spring, actinidia cuttings with roots should be carefully dug and planted on a bed with loose and nutritious soil according to a 10x10 cm pattern for another season, for growing, after which two-year-old actinidia seedlings can be planted in a permanent place.
Propagation of actinidia by lignified cuttings
This method is used less often, because lignified cuttings root worse, but it also gives a positive result. Harvesting lignified actinidia cuttings, unlike green ones, should be carried out not at the beginning of summer, but practically at the end of autumn. After harvesting cuttings 12-15 cm long, as green, they must be placed vertically in boxes and covered with river sand. Shanks should be stored at a low plus temperature + 2-4 degrees.
If there is no place to store, the actinidia cuttings can be cut before planting, that is, in early spring, as soon as the snow melts, but it is absolutely necessary before the start of the growing season. Next, cuttings in spring need to be planted in a greenhouse with the same mixture as for green cuttings, but they should be watered much less often - usually once a day. In autumn, actinidia cuttings should form roots, it is also better to dig them out and plant them on a bed for growing in spring.
The State Register currently has 44 varieties of this wonderful culture. First of all, you should pay attention to the news, these are actinidia cultivars: Dachnaya (2016), Kivaldi (2016), Red Maiden (2017), Monti S (2016), Solnechny (2016), Hayward Russian (2016) and Allison (2016) .
Consider these varieties in more detail.
Variety of actinidia "Country" - received from actinidia argument, it is very winter-hardy and does not require shelter in the center of Russia. Leaf blades have no variegation. The mass of the fruit is about 9.7 g, the maximum reaches 13.6 g. The fruits are green in color, elliptical with an average skin thickness. The taste is pleasant, but the acid is felt, so the rating of tasters is 4.7 points. Fruits practically do not crumble. Resistant to pests and diseases.
Variety actinidia "Kivaldi» - more suitable for the North Caucasus region. Has no diversity. Requires pollinators. The fruits are very large, up to 101 grams, the color is dark brown, elliptical in shape, densely pubescent and have a thin skin. The taste is pleasant, tasters rated at 4.8 points. Alas, it does not have winter hardiness.
Variety of Actinidia "Red Maiden" - obtained from polygamous actinidia. Strong variegation of leaf blades. Fruits weighing up to 5.7 g, their color is orange, the shape is cylindrical, the skin of the fruit is thin. The taste is without signs of acid, but freshish, so the tasting score is 4.6 points. The variety does not require shelter, is resistant to pests and diseases.
Monty S Actinidia Variety - This variety is slightly winter resistant and is more suitable for the North Caucasus region. The fruits reach a mass of 85 g, they are brown in color and obovate in shape, with strong pubescence and thin skin. Shedding fruit is absent. The taste is very good - up to 4.9 points. Pollinating varieties are required.
Variety Actinidia "Sunny" - A variety from actinidia argument, it is winter-hardy enough to do without shelter in the center of Russia. It is a good pollinator; it itself does not produce fruit. There is no diversity. Pretty winter hardy. Not sick and not affected by pests.
Actinidia variety "Russian Hayward" - Designed for warmer regions of the North Caucasus. There is no diversity. Fruits weighing up to 135 g, brown in color, elliptical in shape, pubescent and have a thin skin. The taste is pleasant, although the acid is felt, evaluated by tasters at 4.7 points. A pollinator is required.
Allin Actinidia - suitable for warm regions of the country. Fruits weighing up to 66 g, brown in color, pubescent and have a thin skin. The taste is pleasant, with the aroma of strawberries, a tasting score of 4.7 points. A pollinator is required.