Hmm. I'm in the same boat. Came to start a thread but I'll just post here.
2nd year--grew AMAZINGLY this year and ran about 16' in some spots. But then leaves started browning and falling off. I didn't panic. Cones were starting to produce and things were looking okay up top. Then now I'm noticing... definite atrophy in the cones and things are likely going to die off completely this year.
Hopefully the photos aren't too large (if they are I'll repost).
I'm quite bummed as they had insane production this year and was looking forward to many ounces. That's life 'as a farmer' though I suppose.
I did use Miracle Gro I will admit. Once a week (sometimes every couple weeks when I'd forget) and to specified manufacturer dosage/mix.
Maybe I scorched them. Or maybe it was all the rain we've had this year. I thought maybe it was too much direct sun.
Suggestions? Don't want to have it happen again next year. I should just do what my neighbour down the street does. He grows his in the alleyway up against his fence and basically lets nature run its course.
The really INTERESTING part about the browning/leaves falling off is the REGROWTH that you'll see on the bines!