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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Hops Growing > What's this fungus / disease?
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Old 09-09-2012, 02:30 AM   #1
tonyolympia
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Default What's this fungus / disease?

I have a first-year Columbus plant that has produced what appears to be a respectable yield. I've been picking cones periodically, trying to gauge the right moment for the big harvest. (It's my first year, too, so I'm flying blind a little bit.)

Tonight I cut open a cone and found, for the first time, black spots on the petals. Can anyone tell me what this is? Mold? Some other disease? The waste left by some pest? (The bines have a fair number of bugs living on them--lots of spiders, aphids, ladybugs, and another funny spider/beetle looking thing that I can't find in the books.)

Another question--at harvest time, I might not be able to tell how many cones look like this on the inside, without cutting each one open. Let's say that most or all do have this black stuff inside. Would you dry them anyway and brew with them, or should they go in the compost?



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Old 09-09-2012, 02:46 AM   #2
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Sure looks like mildew/black mold from here. What's the weather in the PNW been like over the last couple of weeks?

I wouldn't use moldy/mildewed hops...


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Old 09-09-2012, 02:55 AM   #3
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Damn! The weather here has been mostly warm and dry. A couple of mornings recently it has been a bit moist, so I've watered less or skipped watering.

I just picked three more cones and tore them apart. One cone was black on the inside, and the other two were clean. How the hell do I know what to do with these hops?!? I have enough trouble just telling how close they are to being ready for harvest.
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Old 09-09-2012, 02:59 AM   #4
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Hey man,

You said all the key words! Mold, waste left by a pest, aphids etc.. It sure looks like 'sooty mold' which is caused by an organism that thrives on the waste left by aphid feeding. You can usually get an idea of how much of the crop is affected while picking. Once you find a few cones that "just don't look right" as you're picking, take a second to lift a few of the petals and examine them. You'll see the tiny black spots of mold. The big tip-off is that the plants are usually crawling with aphids. I've had problems like that from time to time over the years and have used cones from harvests that weren't too bad and had good results. You just have to make a call as to 'how much is too much' and run with it. It's a learning curve. Certain varieties seem to be more prone to aphid damage than others in my experience but you'll find a way around it. Do a search for Sooty Mold of Hops and there's a bunch of stuff out there. Now, time for a beer!
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-Hoppy
Hey man,

You said all the key words! Mold, waste left by a pest, aphids etc.. It sure looks like 'sooty mold' which is caused by an organism that thrives on the waste left by aphid feeding. You can usually get an idea of how much of the crop is affected while picking. Once you find a few cones that "just don't look right" as you're picking, take a second to lift a few of the petals and examine them. You'll see the tiny black spots of mold. The big tip-off is that the plants are usually crawling with aphids. I've had problems like that from time to time over the years and have used cones from harvests that weren't too bad and had good results. You just have to make a call as to 'how much is too much' and run with it. It's a learning curve. Certain varieties seem to be more prone to aphid damage than others in my experience but you'll find a way around it. Do a search for Sooty Mold of Hops and there's a bunch of stuff out there. Now, time for a beer!
Thanks a million. That all sounds like good advice.


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