5 Dec 2011

Kiwifruit agency organisation says girdling still safe

6:20 am on 5 December 2011

Kiwifruit Vine Health says the practice of girdling does not increase the chance of the PSA vine disease infecting a kiwifruit orchard.

Girdling is common orchard practice, done to increase fruit production.

A small ring-bark wound is made to the vine which puts it under stress, so nutrients are sent to the fruit instead of the root, increasing the flavour and size of the fruit. The vine quickly recovers from the wound.

Kiwifruit Vine Health says any open wound on a vine provides an entry point for the Psa infection.

But general manager John Burke says as long as girdling is done in fine weather and a protective spray is applied afterwards, growers don't need to be too concerned.

Mr Burke says studies have shown girdling poses a fairly moderate risk, which is in line with normal pruning activities that occur on the orchards.

He says as long as growers are careful and carry out girdling at the correct times and protect the wounds, then the risks are fairly minimal.