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Growing vine fruit on other fruit trees  RSS feed

 
Angela Aragon
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Mark Shepard talks about successfully growing grape vines on apple trees in his book. I was wondering if anyone has had similar success with other vine fruit, such as kiwi, passion fruit, etc. and what fruit or nut trees you have used as a trellis? For example, geoff lawton has talked about using mulberries as a trellis in this way, but I do not know if he, or anyone else, actually has done it.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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To me, a vine is a vine, and a tree is a tree. They are pretty interchangeable.

Here's photos from my place of grapes using lilac bushes as a trellis, and squash using an ash tree.

grapes-using-tree-as-trellis.jpg
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Grapes growing on lilac bush
squash-using-tree-as-trellis.jpg
[Thumbnail for squash-using-tree-as-trellis.jpg]
Squash growing on ash tree
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Using trees as trellis for squash
 
Michelle Bisson
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Location: Quebec, Canada
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forest garden hugelkultur trees urban
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We are trying to grow hardy kiwi and some grapes on the trees in the forest.  They need to be on the sunny side of the trees. Or maybe they will just seek the sun since they are vines.

They are still very small so I cannot testify yet of their success.  But I am thinking that my kiwi will have to be moved to a more sunnier location, but I do not yet have a way to trellis them.
 
Tj Jefferson
Posts: 157
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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Interesting Michelle! I am actually removing a kiwi from near the house and moving it to a tree I was going to fell anyhow. I want to see what it does. I have heard they will do the job for me! I have read they actually need to be on the shady side in the winter, which may or may not be the summer shady side, something to do with sunburn when they are metabolically less active. I do have grapes on trees, I want to pick my vine layer as much as possible. I am also looking at some other vines as well. Right now I grow Chinese wisteria and hack it way back every year to pay back the tree it is on, but I am interested in what other vines people are using...
 
Michelle Bisson
Posts: 199
Location: Quebec, Canada
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TJ,

Thanks for sharing your experience with Kiwi.  We can learn from each other. Do continue to share your experiences with Kiwi as I am sure that there are others who are interested in this plant.

I am not an expert on kiwi or any other plant.  Since Kiwis can be super vigourous they are not good plants  that can grow onto the house.
 
Angela Aragon
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I had thought about doing this, but I had heard that kiwi, passion fruit, and even grapes can choke out the trees that they are on. Then, I read Mark Shepard's book and saw that he was doing it successfully with grapes and my interest was renewed.

Does anyone have experience with this "choking out" problem? Is there any way to manage it?
 
Tj Jefferson
Posts: 157
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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I currently have grapes and squash planted with trees. Look at your area and see if the trees get felled by the vines. Here the grapes don't seem to do it much, wisteria will do it for sure, and I'm looking for other local attempts. I think passionfruit would be very safe, it dies back to the ground here! I have that growing but not planted on anything yet. I'm also trying true yams of a couple varieties, those also should die back here.

Kiwi is super cool, likes to be rooted in a shaded area and reach for sun, but WOW they are some big vines. They are supposed to give you many bushels of fruit pretty quick, like in 4 years! I mean mine grew two feet the first month from a cutting size plant from last year. They also tend to be unable to support their weight much like a grape even when woody, and so they can bow over small trees and pull down big branches. The way this thing is growing I think it could get to be a pruning nightmare, and you have to prune them carefully to get fruit, which makes it hard to do on a tree. I am probably going to trellis one of them with a small male and watch it for a while, and plant the other one on a grown tree and see how long it takes to wreck it. These are softwood trees, so I'm thinking maybe 5 years. Then I can formulate a plan to selectively prune the vine after seeing its growth pattern. Giving away cuttings is not a problem! Don't pay for these things! My neighbor has five of them and is very experienced, but says it is hard to keep up with. Her trellis is 4x4 uprights and bending visibly. This is a plant you have to really respect. Worst case you take some cuttings and plant them somewhere else.  Hardy ones give you a little fruit at a time, real kiwi is like a deluge of fruit.

 
David Hernick
Posts: 57
Location: Oakland, CA
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I have had good luck with Passion fruit on a chinese juniper that I pruned a little a little too heavily so the vine fills it in nicely.  I am prettysure Chayote could choked out a tree.  I had a a massive lima bean almost chock out a cherry. On a fruit tree I would worry about the effects of the shade, the branches need a certain amount of sun to produce fruiting buds.  As long as the vine and tree elements are balanced it should be alright.  I might try planting a small Kiwi by one of my trees that is starting to take-off since they like shade.  Controlling a grape vine sounds like a lot of work but could be worth it, I guess you would prune the grape back in the late summer to get some more light into the tree,
 
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