I was tending to the hop plants yesterday afternoon, and I realized that a couple of plants (Saaz and Hallertauer) are already putting out side arms just 7-9 inches above the ground. I know these varieties are early finishers, but is something like this normal? They're only a few feet high. I'm certainly not worried or anything like that, just curious. This being their first year, I'm pretty much going to let them grow wild anyway, though I will be trimming the lower foliage once the plants are tall enough.
Upon reflection, I wonder if I didn't somehow coerce them into putting out sidearms. After my Crystal took a beating in some wind, I attached the young bines to some sticks to give them a little strength. We finally got into some good weather, and the bines quickly grew beyond the tops of the sticks. I was a little late in getting the trellis up, so for a week or so the bines were flopping around a bit before getting trained onto their ropes. I wonder if this didn't trigger some side arm development, as they're coming in right above the tops of the sticks.