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Old 01-21-2014, 05:50 AM   #1
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Default I'm getting buds already

I'm coming into the second year for my Magnums. At the end of last growing season, I cut my vines down to about 10-12" and let them dry out. I'm already seeing sprouts/buds on one of my plants and I'm wondering if that's OK this early in the year. We've had a very dry and warm winter so far here in the central valley of California. My hops havent had any irrigation for a few months now, and we are getting a light frost about once or twice a week. Should I leave it alone and just go with it; cover the plants to prevent frost damage; pinch off the buds; or water and fertilize to get the season started early. Thanks!


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Old 01-21-2014, 12:48 PM   #2
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I am so jealous right now. If I wanted to find my hop plants I'd have to dig down through 3 feet of snow right now.


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Old 01-21-2014, 02:39 PM   #3
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I am so jealous right now. If I wanted to find my hop plants I'd have to dig down through 3 feet of snow right now.
Gotta love winter! I tilled up four new spot in my yard, and now I'm thinking I didn't make enough....so I'm planning for even more.
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Old 01-21-2014, 03:08 PM   #4
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I am so jealous right now. If I wanted to find my hop plants I'd have to dig down through 3 feet of snow right now.
Same here...with lots more on it's way tonight
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:06 PM   #5
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The "problem" you have is common in warmer climates. If you left them to grow, the plant would be perfectly find and healthy.

The problem is your yield would be quite low. The plant will go into burr formation before side arms can fully develop so you will not get as many hops as normal. There are also some that claim the chemistry of the cones changes as well.

One option is that you can keep chopping off the new growth until the mid march timeframe when they would normally pop up. Of course at 2nd year, there is only so much energy in the root mass so you may put it at risk if you cut too many times.

My suggestion is to wait until they are a few inches long but still white and tender. cut them off and fry them up in some butter. Delicious. Do that maybe two more times and then let them grow. The only other option would be to freeze the soil to halt their growth.
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:42 PM   #6
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I'm already seeing sprouts/buds on one of my plants and I'm wondering if that's OK this early in the year.
If what you're seeing is similar to these, it's perfectly normal. Late in the season, once the plants are done putting energy into the cones, any additional energy produced from photosynthesis is directed downward to be stored in the crown. As this occurs, the buds in the crown begin to swell and those will give you your first growth the following season (one of the factors as to when they begin to blast off is temperature). Leaving the plants up to make energy after harvest is a good idea for this reason alone. These were taken on a nice fall day a few years ago.
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:13 PM   #7
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From what I have read (only going to be my second year as grower) most hop farms leave the initial shoots alone for a bit. Then they do one cut of everything, to the ground, and the next growth are the bines they will harvest from.
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:25 AM   #8
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Thanks; and I apologize if it sounded like I was complaining. My biggest complaint these days is how to deal with all this beer and all these gorgeous women... (just kidding honey, it's just a joke!)

Seriously though, I wasnt able to get a photo before the sun went down, but the buds are actually green shoots, not the white parts in the photos above. From what I've gathered from previous posters, it sounds like my best bet is to leave it alone until mid march then trim them back to allow the new growth.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:28 AM   #9
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One other thing: it looks like California is experiencing a record drought year, should I be watering now? If so how much and how often. Thanks!
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:10 PM   #10
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If its warm, the soil appears dry, and the plant is starting to send out green growth; There shouldn't be any harm giving them some water.

Just make sure you don't start watering everyday leaving them in a soggy mess. When they are dormant they need very little water. Growers in the northern states don't have to do any watering this time of year. However, if you're down south and you start to see green growth, the plant is likely going to need some water.

It seems like the biggest issue growers have with hops that cause them to either thrive or die is directly related to water. Paying close attention to how saturated the ground is instead of watering on the same cycle all the time can reduce most of these issues. If the ground is dry, give them some water. If the ground has been saturated for multiple days, it doesn't hurt to let them dry out a little. It can be specific depending on variety too. Some hops don't care if they sit in water, other's seem to hate it.

Good luck!


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