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Old 08-14-2009, 02:05 PM   #1
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Default Root pruning

So I am approaching a time in my yard that I shall begin to root prune. I have read all manner of practices regarding timing, approach, and benifits.

What I have yet to read is if there is any benifit to root pruning prior to dormancy. That is, while the plant is still collecting energy from the sun and building it stores for the following spring.

My curiosities are these;

Is the act of root pruning so demanding on a hop plant that shock would result?

If hops do not shock as a result of the rhisome root pruning, doesn't it make sense to prune immediately after harvest when the plants energies are focused on propagation and winter storage?

It seems to me that much of the plants stores and energy would be lost by the act of pruning in that much starch reserves would be bound up in the rhisomes and unavailable to the host plants once those are pruned off. i would surmize that if pruning were done immediately after harvest that all of the plants stored energy would be more readily available to the host in the following spring.

I know this is not a commercial practice for reasons of value added sales of the rhisomes but, I am curious as to the benifit of the plant health by such a practice.

Also, what could be gained by processing the pruned rhisomes into a pulp and returning them to the soil? The processing, I think, would eliminate the potential for rooting but would return nutrients to the soil as well as add to the organic matter.

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Old 08-14-2009, 09:15 PM   #2
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Root Pruning, Whew! I had to read this. Sorry, I don't know anything about growing hops - Yet. - Dwain
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:25 AM   #3
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While I cannot speak from any type of scientific background I can speak from experience. Ive never pruned the roots on my mature cascade and I busted up the whole crown and have had outstanding results. I basically had three of the "jumbo" rhizomes that I've seen for sale. Each of the three plants has outdone or matched it's mother's crop in the first year. I split mine this spring and hopefully will be updating the thread with some pics soon.

As far as propagation goes I disagree that this happens in the fall. I'm no botanist (obviously) but all of the plants that I have send white shoots out horizontally just underground in the spring that put up a bine after getting some distance from the crown. If the bine takes that is the start of a new rhizome the next year with new bines coming from that node.

The picture on the pamphlet from freshops always screws up my way of thinking about how rhizomes are formed. They make it look like they're under the crown quite a bit and around here that just isn't how it happens. Maybe it's just my yard but the wild cuttings that a fellow brewer took from a plant growing along the road this spring were formed in the same manner.

I'm not sure if this pertains to your specific questions but I wanted to throw it out there. They seem so easy to work with in the spring and bounce back so well I wouldn't even think about messing with them now. Just my .02
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