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Old 05-05-2009, 12:03 AM   #1
darkdog50
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Default Broken Shoots!

I am a newbee at the hop growing game, having planted 16 new rhyzomes ( 10 varieties ) in the last month-and-a-half. I have tried to follow the advice of you old-timers on this forum, regarding soil-prep, fertilizing & watering etc., but I seem to have a problem with the tips of my shoots ( apparantly ) breaking off, when the plants get about 3" to 4" high. Only my earliest plantings ( Sterling Fuggles & Galena ) have managed to get that high, and only the Fuggles have made it to 3" without breaking! I live in So Cal, in a fairly wind-sheltered ( prevailing westerlies ) area, so am doubtful that that is the problem. We get some pretty good Santa Annas here, but those usually come in the fall and winter ( BTW I lived in Oklahoma for 2 years, so I know what REAL wind is like ). I have evidence of deer strolling around at night, but the broken plants are inside tomato cages, which have not been disturbed. Also, none of the leaves have been touched.
I did notice a lone bunny a week ago, so I planted some Marigolds amongst the hops & voila! something ate part of the Marigold flowers, but no leaves, and no hop leaves.
Anyone else had this problem?? If so, what conclusions/solutions were reached?

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Old 05-05-2009, 12:24 AM   #2
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wierd do not know glen

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Old 05-05-2009, 12:25 AM   #3
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Hmmm...have your checked for any signs of insects eating the stems? Any signs of fungus? Where on the stem is this occurring relative to the soil line? What has your weather been like?

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Old 05-05-2009, 12:53 AM   #4
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Im betting its deer. they can get their small heads down to the ground inside those tomato cages no prob. Ive watched them do it.

the story reminds me of Petey, the bird on Dumb and Dumber, and when his head fell off...

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Old 05-05-2009, 01:01 AM   #5
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Something was eating my sprouts too. Chicken wire cages stopped whatever it was.

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Old 05-05-2009, 01:54 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feed-back. As I said earlier, breakage occurs 3-4 inches above ground. could be deer, but soil surrounding the garden is bare dirt, and I haven't noticed any tracks lately in the immediate vicinity of the garden. All my young avocado trees are surrounded by chicken wire, as the deer will go after them big-time. I will have to order more 5' C/W online, as Lowes & HD think the stuff is for plastering houses, and comes in 4' x 50' rolls only.

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Old 05-05-2009, 02:23 PM   #7
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Are the tips breaking or being eaten? If they are just breaking, the tips should still be there. You might want to take a close look. I've got a gopher in my hops this year and it's doing a fair amount of damage.

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Old 05-05-2009, 05:51 PM   #8
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Cut worms will also eat the stem at soil interface

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Old 05-05-2009, 06:00 PM   #9
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The very tip (the apical meristem) is succeptible to disease (virus) especially after periods of cooler temperatures. This happened to one of my shoots of my Cascades. Fortunately, the other took off.

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Old 05-06-2009, 12:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrkristofo View Post
The very tip (the apical meristem) is succeptible to disease (virus) especially after periods of cooler temperatures. This happened to one of my shoots of my Cascades. Fortunately, the other took off.
This sounds the closest to my problem. The broken tips are on the soil ( mulch ) next to the plant they belonged to. Here in So Cal we have been having a spate of up-and-down weather ( overcast 60's to sunny 80's ), so this may be the cause. How do you test for the virus, other than taking the tips to a horticultural lab? I rely on the research done at U.C. Riverside for avocado problems, but I doubt if there are many hop specialists in my area.
I doubt if gophers are doing the deed, as all rhyzomes are planted in chicken-wire baskets, plus no gopher "castings" ( holes + dirt ) are in evidence around my plantings.
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