When you’re planning to establish a new kiwifruit orchard, one of the basic key ingredients is a selection of healthy rootstock plants. Our Southern Cross Horticulture specialists can recommend the best choice considering the soil type and growing conditions of your property. There are two main options: Bruno rootstock and Bounty rootstock. So, what are the main differences, and what is there to consider when you are choosing kiwifruit rootstock for your kiwifruit orchard?
A bit of a kiwifruit powerhouse, the classic Bruno rootstock is a proven industry performer that grows fast and is sturdy and hardy. It’s a good base for most kiwifruit varieties, including SunGoldG3, M33, M91, Hayward and Chieftain. Plants tend to be slightly larger in diameter than the Bounty rootstock plants and grow more vigorously in the long-term. It’s a reliable plant for most varieties in most situations and will deliver good overall yields for many years to come.
Bruno rootstock is relatively intolerant of heavy soils and will grow best in well drained soils with good growing conditions. Bruno plants from Southern Cross Horticulture are at least 1 metre high and grafted at least 40 to 50 cm above soil level with a healthy graft extension to 1 metre or above. We always recommend planting in winter for best results, however, a different planting schedule can be implemented if enough irrigation and shelter is in place. With the trialled and tested methods used by Southern Cross Horticulture, it is possible to achieve a first crop in as little as 21 months from planting. Read more about how golden kiwifruit orchards achieve a high return on investment here.
Bounty, or Bounty 71, is a newer rootstock that was designed to increase yield and fruit dry matter. It is the preferred choice in heavy, poorly drained soils. Some growers also choose it due to its increased flowering characteristic, which results in a larger fruit size and potentially a higher yield . Most kiwifruit varieties can be grafted onto Bounty , including G3, M33, M91, Hayward, and Chieftain.
An increase in flowering and higher dry matter, especially in the early years, is the main point of difference. However, when you are using Bounty rootstock suitable grafting and pruning techniques need to be in place to ensure long-term success. Where flooding is an issue, or whole orchards need to be re-established, Bounty is an ideal choice. It is also suitable for double planting.
No matter which rootstock you choose, since much of the golden kiwifruit industry in New Zealand was affected by the Psa-V disease a few years ago, it’s important to buy plants from a certified provider like Southern Cross Horticulture. We are part of a certification scheme provided by Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) to ensure that plants are grown in pest free and disease free environment.
To find out more about grafting, read our article about grafting kiwifruit plants. For the best planting times click here and find out about ‘Kiwifruit orchard management’.
If you’d like to know more, feel free to give us a call. Or better still, pop in to see us. Alternatively, you can also drop us an email on the get in touch page. Click here to get in touch with us to today.