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Old 08-14-2008, 09:31 PM   #1
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Default Growing Hops in the shade

Any others experienced growing hops in heavy shade?

Here's my experience with it.
My back yard is about 100' wide x 50' deep with a 22 x 12 storage shed, retaining wall, 1 beautiful faux cherry tree, and 5 Big Leaf Oaks all with a trunk in the 30" - 40" diameter range (fully mature huge 50+ year old trees, and yes it's a PIA to rake every fall!). This spring I erected a trellis large enough to support 6 plants using treated 4x4's and steel cable about 4 feet from my back patio. I planted 4 hills. 3 survived (the Williamette just wouldn't grow and died). My Kent, rather Mississippi, Goldings did/are doing the best having grown up to the top of the 11' trellis and I've trained them back and forth over a 4' area. I've harvested about 30 Golding hop cones. My 2 Cascade plants did fair. I've pulled off about 13 Cascade cones from one plant already (mmmm they smell good).

Here's the kicker! My Cascades have probably 60 or so inmature cones between the 2 plants, and I should get at least another 50 cones from my Golding plant. The thing is that it's very late in the season, comparatively speaking for my area of the country (Mississippi). I got my plants in the ground late in the season, around the 2nd week of May, I'm in Mississippi and probably could have planted them the first week of March. As our climate here is very conducive to horticulture my plants should be finishing up right about now.

I blame 2 things for my plants 'semi slow' maturation, the extreme amount of shade. The plants recieve direct sun for about 5 hours a day from 8:30AM as the sun rises above my house till 1:30PM when the sun hits the trees. And of course my late planting.

Any others experienced growing hops in heavy shade?
I think the shade has helped my Kent Golding immeasurably as it's been really very vigorous having grown 20' it's first year. I say this as many growing in full sun tend to complain about their Kent Goldings being very slow! But my Cascades have been slow, not quite reaching the 11' height of the trellis and most seem to have the best luck with Cascades in the first year. It's got to be the shade!????

Next year I expect a bumper crop as my hops will probably break soil in Mid March and I'm gonna get my remaining 3 hop hills planted early. If things are slow next year I'll know that only the shade is to blame!

Schlante,
Phillip

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Old 08-14-2008, 10:29 PM   #2
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This gives me some hope.
I have about the same length of sun as you do on my Cascades, only it is from about 1:30 to 7:30 pm. My first-year Cascades are about 8 feet tall and have only recently put out side arms. No flowers yet, but tons of crazy side arms. I put them in the ground in early April but we had a late frost when they were about 2" tall that I think stunted them a bit. They look reasonably healthy and have needed more water in the past month, it seems, than they have all season. If I skip a watering day, they get droopy. I'll be happy if I get one cone, but obviously I would like more.

Perhaps, I should have planted East Kent, I mean Kentucky Goldings.

Thanks for your post.

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Old 08-14-2008, 10:29 PM   #3
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You might also consider Sunbeam. It's a Saaz hybrid that NEEDS shade.

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Old 08-15-2008, 12:41 AM   #4
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Engelramm, I recommend the Goldings! I do believe my Cascades will be productive next year, but it seems our experience has reinforced the fact that Cascades are "Sun Lovers". Good thing for me is we sometimes don't get our first frost untill late Oct.

David, I thought about that, but I'm very much a fan of Ales from the British Isles. Not planning to lager, so the only "in style" use I'd have for Sunbeam would be Weizen, Roggen, and Alt biers. I'm definatly going with another Keng Golding next to the existing KG. Then I have the 2 Cascades in the middle. And I'm either going with a high AAU Mt Hood/Magnum and a Fuggle, or 2 Fuggles. Seems the Fuggles would do good. Isn't Crystal (think I have that right?, I'm thinking of a hop that's a Mid level AAU something like 7AAU) an English hop? I might plant 1 of those and a Fuggle!

Schlante,
Phillip

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Old 08-15-2008, 01:00 AM   #5
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Willamette does not do great in shade. It survives, threw out 3 bines in it's 2nd year, low cone yield, but better than last year, none.

I estimate about 3 hours of direct sunlight, 9am to about 12.

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Old 08-15-2008, 12:51 PM   #6
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I grow 2 varieties in semi shade, Fuggles and Hallertauer. I did this because they are hops from cooler cloudy region, Germany and England. Plants that grow in northern climates in full sun generally do better in hotter climates when grown in shade. Now there is shade and there is SHADE. Really dense shade (no real sun at all) will yield plants but few flowers buds. Plants need some sun. Since you are in the southern area I think most hops would do better in partial shade. Partial shade can be under a tree canopy but not a dense canopy. Morning sun is less intense(temp) than afternoon sun. I think you have the perfect set up because you are protecting them from late(HOT) afternoon sun and they are getting sun for 5 hours. I would not worry about first year plants. They will figure it out by their 3rd year. Charlie

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Old 08-15-2008, 02:54 PM   #7
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I gotta tell ya - My backyard has 80 foot mature trees everywhere - we have a near complete canopy. So I found a small area in the far back corner that get direct sunlight for maybe 2-3 hours a day.

What the heck, I gave it a shot and planted (at end of April) a Centennial and 2 Wiliamette. The CT is about 13' high now and still thickening up like crazy. The Williamette have gotten to 2 feet and growth has slowed to a crawl. None of the plants have started producing any cones yet and I guess probably won't this year - or maybe ever because of such little sun.

I wanna cut down some foliage to let in more light but my wife has some issues with that. Perhaps I will have to make a unilateral ruling and chop something down while she is it work... LOL

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Old 08-15-2008, 02:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brrman View Post
I wanna cut down some foliage to let in more light but my wife has some issues with that.
I did that in my yard just to get the sun on the plants a little earlier. My wife was just happy I was doing something to the yard.

MVKTR2 - I may add some goldings next season and see how they do.
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