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Old 10-18-2013, 04:00 PM   #1
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Default Help with Hop Plant @ end of season

My son and I planted 4 different hop plants this year and had very very good results with all of them and even got a pretty substantial from two varieties in our first year and both of those harvests were very very fragrant which we never expected.

However, now that we harvested and took most of the plant vines down to just a few feet of laced vines at the base, I am not sure how best to winterize the plants so they can come back strong next year? we were told to cut the vines all the way back to the base and plan on doing that but right now the vines are still giving off new shoots and leaves, should we wait or do it already, I dont want to harm them in any way?

Any hop heads out there that know????

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Old 10-22-2013, 12:21 AM   #2
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There is really no rush to cut the bines all the way down. I usually wait until all the leaves have fallen. This allows the plant to pull all the nutrients back to the crown, giving it the best possible change for winter.

The important thing is to not cut it too low. You don't want to damage the crown. Some varieties will even create the shoots on the stems a few inches above the ground. Cutting these off will stunt the growth for next year. Try to leave a few inches.

If it starts to frost in your area, you can throw some mulch over the crown to protect it.

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Old 10-22-2013, 01:10 AM   #3
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Interesting. I've read to cut the bines short before bedding the crowns in mulch for the winter. As well, I've read that commercial hop yards actually mow the crown tops to take off the first shoots in the spring, preferring the next set of shoots for production. Hence I don't think there's much potential to harm a crown to clip the bines short in the fall, and in fact it may well be preferable, as the shoots that emerge above grade are probably not the ones you want to grow and train next season...

Cheers!

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Old 10-23-2013, 12:08 AM   #4
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day_trippr,
What you say seems logical, but I believe research has contradicted many of these practices. Greatlakes has a number of articles about the topics:

Pruning by variety
http://www.greatlakeshops.com/1/post/2013/02/hop-pruning-bine-removal.html
"Nugget is a hybrid variety that has been selected to produce just a few main primary crown buds; which are formed quite high on the plant stem"


Protecting crowns in winter
http://www.greatlakeshops.com/1/post/2013/05/hops-crown-winter-damage-minimize-it.html
"leave the hop bines cut at 24 to 36 inches high over the winter. The old bines supply extra sugars to the crowns"


Eliminating first vines in spring
http://www.greatlakeshops.com/1/post/2013/05/selecting-the-right-bines-to-train.html
"The first largest bines ... have a large hollow core, like a straw; and easily kink or are damaged by late spring storms"

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Old 10-23-2013, 01:03 AM   #5
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Curious content in a couple of those articles. But I won't throw rocks at them.

That said, the practices I related were provided by commercial growers within the last couple of years. Considering how crammed full of hops my freezer is, I'm comfortable with continuing to follow their advise

Cheers!

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Old 10-23-2013, 01:23 AM   #6
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In 1st year especially, I would encourage as much / long of growth as possible, the more root development the better. Once dead, cut them back and mulch.

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