Are Hops an Invasive Species?

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iamdaph

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Is Humulus lupulus an invasive species? If I plant these will they eventually spread and start to take out the native plant life? I love home brewing but I also love keeping an ecosystem running properly.

I'm not talking about the Japanese Hops, I asking about the hops rhizomes you can buy on the internet (Casscase, Nugget, etc...)
 

Yooper

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They are not on any "invasives" list as far as Public Agencies are concerned, but they have invasive characteristics, so you've got to watch where you plant them. They can take over a yard and spread. - quote by Bob, my wildlife biologist/botanist guy.

That said, Bob has planted quite a few rhizomes in our yard! They are fine, if kept under control. I've noticed that some of the cascade crowns/roots/rhizomes whatever they are are under our deck. The hallertauer are spreading near the garden. They really do grow like weeds, and in our area we see old farms with falling barns covered with hops! They aren't growing through the fields, though, or invaded into the woods.
 

Brent_in_Aurora

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Invasive? Not really as the female plant will only produce the hop cones that we use in beer. They will spread by their roots.

Invasive defines those plants that produce copious amount of seed, such as dandelions.
 

Yooper

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Invasive? Not really as the female plant will only produce the hop cones that we use in beer. They will spread by their roots.

Invasive defines those plants that produce copious amount of seed, such as dandelions.

Off-topic, but invasive plants aren't only those that produce copious amount of seed! Those that spread other ways are just as invasive. For example, kudzu and Japanese knotweed, too of the worst in the US for being invasive!
 

peregrinebio

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Like Yooper's Bob, I too am a wildlife biologist. I believe hops would fall under the non-native or exotic category, but not invasive. That is they can establish here, I've found them growing wild out west, but they aren't outcompeting other species or altering ecosystem function in any way.

That said, I would recommend being responsible in planting. I read some post on here where a guy was "guerrilla" planting hops around the SE which made the conservationist in me shudder.

Oh yeah, and my second year plants are looking great :D
 

srdorothy

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They are not on any "invasives" list as far as Public Agencies are concerned, but they have invasive characteristics, so you've got to watch where you plant them. They can take over a yard and spread. - quote by Bob, my wildlife biologist/botanist guy.

That said, Bob has planted quite a few rhizomes in our yard! They are fine, if kept under control. I've noticed that some of the cascade crowns/roots/rhizomes whatever they are are under our deck. The hallertauer are spreading near the garden. They really do grow like weeds, and in our area we see old farms with falling barns covered with hops! They aren't growing through the fields, though, or invaded into the woods.

When I read the question about whether hops are 'invasive' and the answer about only plants that produce lots of seeds--I thought immediately, what about English ivy?! Glad to see the above response that speaks to this.
 

Apimyces

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Something being "invasive" will depend on your location. Assuming you are american, I would let you know that hops are native to North America. Humulus lupulus, on the whole, is not a very "invasive" species regardless of locale, populations don't tend to spread all that much, though they do tend to be quite persistent.
 

leidemann

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They are invasive through spreading underground. They can be controlled by digging them up. The crown will get bigger and bigger with time. The can be divided and rhizomes planted elsewhere. You can also give them away to friends. They are actually very beautiful plants when grown on some type of structure.
 

Apimyces

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An invasive species will spread, taking more and more space, and smothering out competitors.

Humulus lupulus does not do that. They are persistent, some populations dating back many centuries, where they'll have pretty impressive rhizomes, over an inch thick.

But they don't really smother out nearby plants. And they don't spread all that much. Sure, if you cut it down, it'll come back, but that's not invasiveness. They always are found in mixed populations, with plenty of other species on which to climb. Their capacity to "choke" trees is greatly exaggerated.

Sure, if you plant them in the middle of your garden, right next to all your veggies, they'll make you swear for years to come. But again, that's not what invasive means.

In the end, native plants cannot be invasive by definition, and Humulus lupulus is native to just about the whole northern hemisphere, north of roughly the 30th parallel (mostly past the 35th). There's little reason to believe this species could become invasive in any locale. It takes years to flower. It's dioecious. Bines die back every winter. It's photo-period sensitive, many seedlings will never flower due to photoperiod mismatch, or if they do their seeds may not have the time to come to maturity. Seedling success is poor. Seed spread is poor. It is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases.
 

Dland

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Nice necro thread action... anyway, I concur that hops are not invasive or considered invasive by the botanical authorities that determine these things. I would delve into this further, but details likely of little interest to most on this forum.
 

shetc

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Yes, they are
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The roots will only go down about 6 inches below the surface. If you put some kind of barrier around them that goes down to about 8 inches, you'll hamper the spread. But, they are determined devils, and they will find a way around the barrier if you don't prune the roots every year after the third year. At least that's what I found with mine.

And I just noticed that this thread is from 2011...
 

Kaz15

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My wife and I jokingly call our cascade plant an invasive species. A couple years ago the plant found a weak spot in our house’s substructure and several bines grew over 6 feet into our basement before we noticed! Something to keep in mind if you’re planting right next your house.

That incident aside, the growth is super aggressive. Once established, hops really try to take over your yard. But otherwise I’d say the plants are easy to kill if you really wanted to eradicate them.
 
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