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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Pest Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #379241

Research Project: Biological Control and Community Restoration Strategies for Invasive Weed Control in the Northern Great Plains Rangelands

Location: Pest Management Research

Title: The pollination and fruit quality of two kiwifruit cultivars (Actinidia chinensis var. chinensis- ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ and ‘AU Gulf Coast Gold’) (Ericales: Actinidiaceae) grown in the southeastern United States

item ABBATE, ANTHONY - Auburn University
item Campbell, Joshua
item VINSON, EDGAR - Auburn University
item WILLIAMS, GEOFFREY - Auburn University

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/22/2021
Publication Date: 6/1/2021
Citation: Abbate, A.P., Campbell, J.W., Vinson, E.L., Williams, G.R. 2021. The pollination and fruit quality of two kiwifruit cultivars (Actinidia chinensis var. chinensis- ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ and ‘AU Gulf Coast Gold’) (Ericales: Actinidiaceae) grown in the southeastern United States. Journal of Economic Entomology. 114(3):1234-1241.

Interpretive Summary: Kiwifruit requires cross pollination to develop marketable fruit. Despite the need for cross pollination, how best to achieve cross pollination is unknown for cultivars grown in the United States. Growers currently use managed bees (e.g., bumble bees and honey bees) and hand-pollination techniques for most cultivars. We surveyed flower visitors and conducted a bagging experiment to determine pollination requirements for two kiwifruit cultivars grown in the Southeastern United States. Overall, we found bees and other pollinating insects do not readily visit kiwifruit flowers and are inadequate for kiwifruit pollination. Thus, in order to attain adequate pollination and marketable fruit, hand/artificial pollination is necessary within the Southeastern United States.

Technical Abstract: Kiwifruit is a new emerging crop for the southeastern United States that requires cross-pollination to set fruit. However, the pollination requirements for varieties grown in the southeastern United States are unknown. Through insect surveys and a bagging experiment, we assessed the pollination requirements of two female kiwifruit cultivars (Actinidia chinensis var. chinensis ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ and A. chinensis var. chinensis ‘AU Gulf Coast Gold’). For each, fruit quantity (fruit set) and fruit quality (weight, size, seed count, firmness, soluble solid content, and dry matter) were compared among three pollination treatments (wind, insect, and artificial pollination). Low abundances of insects were observed visiting female flowers of both kiwifruit cultivars, and therefore likely minimally influenced kiwifruit pollination. Artificial pollination resulted in the greatest percentages of fruit set and marketable fruits, followed by insect and wind pollination. Artificial pollination resulted in fruits that were greater in weight, size, and contained more seeds, than insect and wind pollinated fruits. Firmness and soluble solid content, did not vary greatly between pollination treatments, yet were greater in ‘AU Golden Sunshine’. Dry matter content did not vary greatly pollination treatments or between each cultivar. To maximize yields and optimize fruit quality, these results suggest that kiwifruit producers should place more effort into artificial pollination compared to wind and insect pollination. Future research should explore the use of managed bees (e.g., honey bees and bumble bees) within kiwifruit orchards to determine ways to utilize them as a secondary source for pollination needs.