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Old 04-18-2013, 03:32 PM   #1
Oct 2012
Posts: 6

Hi all,
I could use some help with identifying what may have eaten my hop shoots, and how I should protect future shoots. I've posted a picture here of how small they were when they were eaten off at dirt level.

Some information about this plant:
It is being grown in Arkansas.
It lives in a very large pot on the second story of my apartment balcony (not the most ideal growing conditions, I understand, doing the best I can with what I've got).
It was eaten at night.

If I can offer any more information let me know.
Also, will these shoots continue to grow, or are they finished?

Thanks, all!

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Old 04-18-2013, 03:35 PM   #2
Feb 2013
Posts: 79
Liked 10 Times on 9 Posts

My guess is squirrels. Damn squirrels.

To protect them, you could do something like I do in my garden - build a wire cage to put over them. I used some salvage wire fencing and stretched poultry wire over it.

I would guess that once the plant is a little larger, the vermin will likely leave them alone. I don't grow hops, but I am an avid gardener and it only seems that early spring is when the critters like the tender young shoots. More mature plants they tend to leave alone.

Since hops grow from roots as perennials, I would guess they will come out of it. They might struggle a bit and need a little TLC, but I would think they'll still grow and you should still get a harvest out of them.

Keep Calm and Drink Beer

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Old 04-18-2013, 03:39 PM   #3
Barnesie's Avatar
Apr 2010
Fairfax, Virginia
Posts: 360
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The homebrewer's garden book says that deer and rabbits are very fond of hop shoots. Which reminds me that I need to put up some wire around my planter...

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Old 04-18-2013, 03:47 PM   #4
Jan 2012
Virginia Beach, VA
Posts: 5

Rabbits were my downfall on my 1st attempt at hops growing last year. Ate the tops off all my shoots and killed the whole year.

This year I've smartened up and put them in large planters, no problems so far!

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Old 04-18-2013, 04:51 PM   #5
Nov 2012
Posts: 3,613
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On a second story balcony I would doubt the culprit are deer or rabbits

It's possible that it could be a squirrel if you have squirrels nearby/around.

One bug I'm aware of that likes to trim a stem (soft greenage) perfectly at ground level is the cutworm. They crawl out of the soil at night to do their damage. The cutworms I have around are medium-large, green caterpillars. You can usually spot the hole they crawled out of if they are any significant size. If you spot a hole you can usually dig them out a bit below the surface of the soil (a few inches); or just jam a stick down in hopes of squishing them .
:: St. Pug ::

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Old 04-18-2013, 05:04 PM   #6
Jun 2012
Posts: 718
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A lot of growers trim off the first shoots anyway, to allow the second, bigger shoots to sprout up. You should not have any problem with the plant coming back. Hops grow like crazy, and its hard to keep them from growing, once established.

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Old 04-18-2013, 09:33 PM   #7
Oct 2012
Posts: 6

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone! I appreciate the feedback. It's my first time growing hops, so this is a learning experience for me. Squirrels are a bit of a concern; they are certainly around. I'm also worried about a bug problem - I will look for signs of cutworms. Thanks again!

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Old 04-18-2013, 09:35 PM   #8
Jan 2012
Rochester, NY
Posts: 1,266
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Garden gnomes. They're legit.

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Old 04-18-2013, 10:08 PM   #9
Senior Member
Oct 2010
Posts: 959
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Throw the vegans out befor it gets dark! But I have had crows eat some shoots in my field. Put some hardware cloth over them, should work fine.
Got Hops?

There is no problem to big or small not to be fixed by enough beer!
Just do not have your beer held hostage by the wife or you will never get anything halfway done!

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Old 04-18-2013, 11:33 PM   #10
Mar 2013
Posts: 48
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Chicken wire is going to be youre best friend.

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