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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Hops Growing > Trimming hops at the top
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:15 PM   #1
oly884
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Default Trimming hops at the top

Tried a quick search, both here and google but didn't find much in the way of an answer.

What are the downsides of trimming hop plants at the top when they reach, say, 10' tall and just allowing them to become bushier? Would it even matter, or will they just keep growing up?

The reason I ask is because my hop garden is setup to allow them to grow to about 10' tall. I can rig up a way to have them continue to grow, but it won't be too easy, and it'll have to be fairly hokey.

So with that, I'm wondering if there are any reasons that limiting the height by trimming the top would be detrimental to the growth and yield.

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Old 05-28-2011, 12:53 AM   #2
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Someone wwith more experience will chime in, but it is my understanding that once you top your hop plant, then it will no longer grow upward, this can be good to help cones achieve maturation while allowing the plant to put more energy into cone production rather than upward production.

Take this info with a grain of salt as I have yet to start my own hop crop, but I have done a little research.

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Old 05-28-2011, 01:04 AM   #3
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I'm curious too. My 4 plants are 4-6 feet now, and 10 ft is my max too. I'm considering rigging something hokey up, but afraid a storm may challenge whatever I try to engineer to go higher.

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Old 05-28-2011, 01:12 AM   #4
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i'm curious as well. my hops are rigged up just below my gutters (one story house) so i could get maybe 11 feet of total bine growth (8 feet rise) before rigging something up the roof or lopping off their heads

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Old 05-28-2011, 01:12 AM   #5
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I dunno, but the first thing I would mention is hormones - plants have a bunch of 'controls' or 'signals' - cut the top off of a pine tree and you will (slowly) see what I mean. THe 'highest' point of a plant helps to control the growth (and shape) of the plant.

I bet that you could just let the top of the bine fold over, and hang down. Since it is no longer the tallest part of the plant, you will set in motion the plants own control mechanisms. It would act similarly to pinching the top. How about do a half and half with a control plant, and let us know what you find?

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Old 05-28-2011, 01:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewmonk View Post
How about do a half and half with a control plant, and let us know what you find?
i might do this with my ornamentals. 2 rhzomes from the same crown, with cones i probably won't use, growing in the same planter. sounds ideal. someone PM me in june or so to remind me.
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Old 05-28-2011, 01:30 AM   #7
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I'd have to set a cron reminder to email me. I think I'll just let MINE flop over, too ......

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Old 05-28-2011, 08:16 PM   #8
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At this site I would search "tip".
This is my experience and understanding of what will happen. The plant in early season wants to grow up. When it reaches a satisfactory height it is also the right time of year to begin cone production.
Cutting a tip early in season can encourage the hop to make a substitute vertical lead. So the can compensate for the lost tip. What this means to us is energy that should be allocated for cone production is now being used to grow up.
So the strong suspicion among the hop growers I've talked with is cutting the tip will reduce my yield. It's better to let the hop peak and let gravity do it's thing than to cut the tip and cut your final production.
There are some studies on ten foot trellis designs for pros and profitablilty. There may be a case for the ten foot trellis. This system involves just letting the plant grow. No tip cutting.
My trellis is about twelve feet tall my plants a nearing fourteen feet. They are about to droop and fall. I'm going to let that happen and I'm not cutting any tips.
Hope this makes sense and helps.

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Old 05-28-2011, 08:30 PM   #9
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I just finished building a trellis at my brother-in-laws place that was 16 ft high. Last year they grew that far on the flimsy one we made and drooped over, growing another 3 or 5 ft. Never hurt the plants at all.

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Old 05-28-2011, 09:42 PM   #10
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Right. It's likely better to grow and droop than grow and clip.

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