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Old 08-04-2008, 02:52 PM   #1
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Default My hops are done, advice?

I planted three hop plants this past spring. Centennial, Kent Goldings and Willamette. All three did horribly! In June I thought atleast the Willamette might make it, it grew about 4 foot high but then stopped. Currently after 3 months of being in the ground the Cent is at 6 inches, the Kents at about 1 foot, and the Willamette stopped at 4 foot where it peaked in June.

They stayed green and healthy most of the summer but now are all three shriveling. I at first thought it was getting to much water as Missouri flooded with tons of rain in May / June, then to little water as in July we dried up. I babied them as much as I could, made sure they had nutrients and didnt dry up or get swamped. But they just would not grow! Obviously this season is lost, I was hoping to get them established but I failed. I even build the structure for them and it stands bare making me look foolish for even attempting!

My question is what should I do now? Should I dig them up and plant them in large pots with tons of rich soil? Or should I turn my head and just forget about them hoping they will come back next year? I am guessing they would of done better large pots then the ground, atleast not of drowned as easy. We will have about 2 more months of hot weather, if transplanted do you think they could still progress?

Thanks for any advice!

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Old 08-04-2008, 03:05 PM   #2
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First year plants can be hit or miss with actual cone production. Out of 13 I had 2 that didn;t seem to grow much.

Well draining soil is definitely a must. If you have a lot of clay in your area than it's possible they could be getting bogged in during the wet times and not getting enough moisture in the dry time as the clay doesn;t take water easily.

Hops in pot can be done but they do require a different kind of care and can get root bound easily.

Your best bet is to have them in the ground but the soil might be a disadvantage until the plants can establish a solid root base.

I would suggest that before you dig the plants up you get very familiar with your soil composition and how it handles the water.

I have excellent draining soils in a rasied bed garden for my hops and a good nutrient balance but, in this time of year I have to shower the hops daily to keep the foliage hydrated and deep water weekly to keep the soil moist.

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Old 08-04-2008, 03:15 PM   #3
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how do the leaves look? I know you said shriveled, but have they turned yellow, brown, are they turning black at the edges? A picture might help. If the soil was too waterlogged you could have developed root rot, if that's the case, if you want to keep growing hops in the ground you will have to condition the soil to make it better draining. Mix sand and peat moss with the existing soil, don't try replacing the soil or adding more soil on top of it, that will only make drainage worse (unless you're planting in a raised bed, in which case you might want to make sure it's at least 12 inches deep.)

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Old 08-04-2008, 03:26 PM   #4
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Leaves are turning a dark green and are shriveled. I made an area about 12 inches deep, 6 foot long and 4 foot wide by digging out the original clay soil and mixing up some tree / shrub / potting soil with miracle grow. Then I planted each and put a light layer of mulch down to keep my dog out of it. Drainage I am sure is still an issue, that is why I was thinking I could control the watering better with a massive pot. I do have a raised veggie garden but there isnt much room left to plant these in there that is why I made a seperate area for them. I should of created a raised bed, and was very stupid to not think of it before hand! At this point what would you guys do, can I remove them and replant in pots or remove them and raise the bed? I just didn't know if thats possible.

I will take some pictures tonight to show you guys what happened!

Thanks for the help!

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Old 08-05-2008, 03:33 PM   #5
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If it were me, I would wait till this fall, dig up the hops and replant them in a raised bed. Hops do like a lot of water, but they don't want to be in real swampy conditions, the raised bed will help with getting proper drainage, and then next year maybe set up a soaker hose so you can keep the bed well watered when it's not raining.

Hops end up with a massive root structure, so they would be much happier in the ground than in a pot.

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Old 08-13-2008, 11:33 PM   #6
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Kent Goldings & Hallertau: I've not had any luck with mine either.
I planted them about 5 (or more years ago), and they do the same thing every year 4-6 feet tall and no cones.

I've had much better luck with Cascades (also planted 5 years ago), yielding cones every year. Last year I propogated to 2-3 plants (so far I've picked about a 12 cups full).

I also planted 4 new ones this year:
Centinnial- grew about 12 feet, got a small harvest (about a cup full)
Mt Hood grew about 10 feet, got a small harvest (about a cup full)
Williamette - grew about 8 feet, but no cones (yet).
Horizon -only grew about 3 feet, and no cones.


In the past, I grew them for fun not really watering or fertilizing, but started taking it more seriously this year, due to the shortage & rising expense.

I'll probably weed out the non-producers since they are just taking up space, and propagate the ones that do produce.

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