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Old 11-10-2008, 06:34 AM   #1
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Default Winterizing Texas hops

I got another 4 oz out of my first year cascade today, and I think it is about time to tuck her in for the winter. I am about 3 weeks away from mean date of first frost, so I figured it is about time to cut her back and mulch over the rhizomes.

How far should I cut it back tis far south, since we will have warm spells of 75+ for days on end, and since we are still in a drought, how much water?

I know normally you want it to go dormant completely, but I am not sure if I'm too far south for that!

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Old 11-10-2008, 01:58 PM   #2
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Thats a really good question, your kind of in a confusing area for full on dormant conditions!

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Old 11-14-2008, 05:56 AM   #3
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I haven't grown hops yet, hoping to get a rhizome or 2 this coming season. However, I do have a ton of experience with all sorts of carnivorous plants, which surprisingly have about the same exact requirements. What I'd do is start easing up on the water, and let the vine die back naturally. When that happens, probably in the next couple weeks, I'd dig it up and put it in a bag of slightly moist peat/perlite/vermiculite in the fridge until March. That way the dormancy is controlled.
When plants go dormant, dormancy is necessary. They can usually skip it for a season or two, but they will weaken and die in the long run. Also, if you skip dormancy, you will have diminished yields the following season. They need all that time they can get to strengthen for the next season.

As I said, I've done this with other stuff, and I know it works with a ton of rhizomatous plants, but I've never specifically done it with hops.

If hops are anything like some (most?) other rhizomatous herbs, temperature is unnecessary for dormancy, it just happens to be associated with it. What I mean is that dormancy is mediated by photoperiod. I've witnessed this myself in some of my other plants.

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Old 11-14-2008, 08:45 AM   #4
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I wouldn't recommend digging up the root ball. Hops have extensive root systems and digging it up will only stress it and essentially make it 'start over' making the root ball again. Just cut the bines off at ground level and cover em over with mulch, that should help stabilize the temps.

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Old 11-14-2008, 03:16 PM   #5
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Cut it to the ground, cover and wait for the spring.

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Old 11-14-2008, 06:31 PM   #6
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Most rhizomatous herbs do, which is why you carefully remove them. Trust me, breaking a few roots is much, much less of a problem than not giving a plant proper dormancy. The plants I've done it with have had ridiculous root systems too, and have never been adversely affected. I mean we're talking 1' roots with a 1' diameter coming off a rhizome the size of a quarter. Here's an article about the efficacy of giving rhizomatous plants an artificial cold dormancy in warm climates: ScienceDirect - Landscape and Urban Planning : A dormancy extension technique for biotechnical streambank stabilization in warm regions

As I said in my first post, you'll probably be absolutely fine just with light levels dropping. My suggestion is just a well performing feasible alternative in the event you are worried about it not getting cold enough.

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Old 11-16-2008, 04:55 PM   #7
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I keep hearing that Cascades do well here -- how large of a plot did you have to get 4 oz?

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Old 11-17-2008, 01:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drux_tx View Post
I keep hearing that Cascades do well here -- how large of a plot did you have to get 4 oz?
You should be able to see in my gallery. I have a 2x4x1 planter I built with 50/50 topsoil/manure mix on top of native, unprepared soil. I don't know if the roots got deep enough to get into the native soil, but the plant did very well all year. Next year I will go with a teepee taller than 10', need at least 15.
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Old 11-17-2008, 08:00 PM   #9
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Having dug 1 of mine up this year to move it, I'll also say, DO NOT DIG IT UP..

It most likely did go deep enough to hit native soil. My plant is a first year that had roots shooting 7 feet in all directions. I had to chop a few in order to get it moved, but I'm hoping it will recover next year.

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You should be able to see in my gallery. I have a 2x4x1 planter I built with 50/50 topsoil/manure mix on top of native, unprepared soil. I don't know if the roots got deep enough to get into the native soil, but the plant did very well all year. Next year I will go with a teepee taller than 10', need at least 15.
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Old 11-17-2008, 11:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quickerNu View Post
You should be able to see in my gallery. I have a 2x4x1 planter I built with 50/50 topsoil/manure mix on top of native, unprepared soil. I don't know if the roots got deep enough to get into the native soil, but the plant did very well all year. Next year I will go with a teepee taller than 10', need at least 15.
Aha! And, so I see.

Yah, the soil I have here is that nasty-nasty-nasty clay, so my garden is all up in boxes. I'll just construct me a nice little planter this winter and be ready for my new adventure in hop growing.

I'm not sure if I can set up a 10-15' trellis, but I'll figure something out.

Thanks for the tips! I'm really stoked about the prospects.
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