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Old 04-16-2010, 10:33 AM   #1
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Default Relocating with hops mid-season

I am going to be moving from Upstate NY to the Atlanta area at the end of June. I have one hop plant in the backyard that I would like to bring with me. Normally, I would just leave it and start over next season, but this is kind of a family heirloom.

My Great-great Grandfather grew hops on his farm here back before Prohibition and the blight and this is a descendant of those Cluster hops. I think it would be nice to bring that bit of my family history with us as we head into our future. My question is: would it be feasible to dig it up and put it in a container now and move it with us in the summer? My other option would be to leave this plant here and take a rhizome from my Grandmother's place (the original farm) after the season is over.

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Old 04-16-2010, 11:24 AM   #2
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You could try either or both, if the one in your back yard doesn't work, it's good to know you have a backup at grandma's house.

It's very hard to kill hops, that being said I've never tried to transplant a crown.

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Old 04-16-2010, 12:15 PM   #3
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I agree with COLO but I would first try digging up a nice sized root ball and toss in a big container and see how it takes. If you do it now and it doesnt make it you can still either try again from more roots at your place or go with plan B and get a new rhizome from the g-ma's. Either way...good luck preserving the family heirloom!

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Old 04-16-2010, 12:24 PM   #4
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i'd dig around the edges to see if you could pick out a few small rhizomes now, and get them started in some pots. just like starting from scratch but being that hops aren't that intelligent, where they end up being planted will be a mystery to them. if that fails, go back to the farm. back in 1985 or 86 i got some roots from a guy named norm soine. he was up in madison county (cazenovia/morrisville area) and told me that they were from hops that were used to establish the first commercial yard in the county back in the early 1800's. one variety i had tested at oregon state turned out being canadian redvine which was grown 'bigtime' in the north west until it was replaced by clusters which have similar qualities. maybe we got roots from the same bloodline? best wishes with your move and remember to B-Hoppy!

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Old 04-16-2010, 02:28 PM   #5
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Yes pot it now, but you will need a big pot, like an old Tree pot from a nursery. 2ft size

It will relocate easily enough when you move as long as it gets water.

When you get to June/ July , just cut back the growth to leave just about a ft of growth to make it easy to move, next year it will go mad.

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Old 04-17-2010, 10:21 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, guys! I will grab a big pot this weekend and get it transferred into it. Should I just let it grow wild rather than allow it to climb something? Right now it has shoots that are maybe 9-12". From what I have read about the history of hop yards, IIRC, the first year, they would leave them to their own devices and then trellis them the second year. Don't know how its done today...

@B-Hoppy: I have always thought them to be Cluster since that seemed to be the prevalent commercial hops variety in NYS during it's height. I also compared the leaves & cones to pictures and to my untrained eye, seemed a match. Maybe i will put a call into Cornell and see if they could test some for me

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Old 04-17-2010, 01:20 PM   #7
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Most hop yards put bines on twine the first year. Due to improved methods of cultivation, mainly drip irrigation and liquid fertilizers, a hop yard can get as much as 80% yield the first year.

I'd at least give them a bean pole to climb to reduce the chances of a mildew or fungus taking hold.

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Old 04-17-2010, 04:00 PM   #8
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I have always thought them to be Cluster since that seemed to be the prevalent commercial hops variety in NYS during it's height.
I'm in Syracuse, but I have done a lot of historical research on hop farms in Oneida/Madison county for the past few years now. I even have a few hop plants I dug up from an abandoned hop field not far from my parents place. Turns out that most CNY hop farms in the mid to late 1800's actually grew 3 types of hops, those being English Cluster, True Canada, and Humphries varieties. Each of these usually made up 1/3 of the total production, as each variety was ready for harvesting at different times. If the hops you have are from an old hop farm, then chances are they are a variation of these three types. My hops tend to be extremely grapefruity - they make the beer taste like grapefruit juice - have an open cone structure, and drop lots of yellow lupulin when dried.
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:25 PM   #9
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Thanks for the advice David, I will do just that.

Interesting about the varieties. That sounds very similar to what I have here lots of lupulin everywhere when dried and quite citrusy. If I have a chance later, I will try to post some pictures.

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