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Did I kill my hops by burying the shoots

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jonny24

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Hi guys,

This is my first year growing hops. I got two root balls from a family friend, they were two or three years old.

I planted them last fall, and they were sprouting fine, 2-4” tall plus one bull shoot that was like 18" but got eaten by I suspect a skunk.

My uncle gave me a pail of cow manure, and that's where things went wrong.

They were already in a small depression, dunno how that happened, every other hole I've ever dug ended up as a hill. So I dug off the top layer of dirt, added the manure, and then put the dirt back on top. The shoots were all buried but I thought they would poke back through in short order.

That was last Monday. This Monday I tried to reveal them again, but accidentally took off all the leaves. Tonight (Wednesday) I did a little more work to try to make sure all the shoots were exposed to the sun. So now I have a bunch of scraggly shoots with no leaves, and have lost a week and more of full sun.

Did I screw up for this year? Did I screw them up for good? Is there anything I can do to help them?

Thanks everyone!
 

cyberbackpacker

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First, STOP touching/messing with them and let the plants work. The shoots will eventually make it through your manure, and climb their way out and up!

:)
 

Kaz15

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Honestly I think you'll be fine. It's too early to say for sure, but just a month ago I went through the same emotional turmoil that you're expressing.

My story: In April, I cut back first shoots on my three 2nd year plants just before we had a snow storm. More than a week and a half went by and there were no signs of new life. To make matters worse I took off the top layer of mulch on one and accidentally broke a tiny sprouting shoot. Felt like a total idiot. Fast forward a month, two of those plants are over 10 feet tall and the other is about 4-5 feet and starting to accelerate. When the new shoots did finally come, they also looked a bit scraggly. No need to worry about that. Sun exposure will fix that problem.

Related, I transplanted my mature cascade plant 2 years ago. It took a pretty big step backwards last season. It had LOTS of stored energy from the prior year, but the root system was no longer established and once mid summer came the plant struggled sustaining it's initial growth. This year it's crushing it, once again.

Others will agree with me, hops are really hard to kill. I think the biggest problem many of us have is trying to do too much. Just sit back and let the hops do there thing.

That said, I do add a 14-14-14 slow release fertilizer in the spring and biweekly liquid fertilizer during the high growth phase. Finally I add home compost and manure in the fall before putting the hops to bed for the winter. Seems to be working well.
 

Kaz15

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F0ED4CD4-C1CA-4290-84A0-44161E2B2EEE.jpeg

Fun fact, this is what my 4 year old cascade crown looked like when I dug it up two falls ago. Way heavier than it looks. Also broke my first shovel trying to get it out. Lol

2E0A27AF-D29F-4AEA-AEED-CF38AD403C8F.jpeg
 

bkboiler

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Daang!
I was going back and forth this evening when I realized I used "garden soil" rather than "potting soil" to plant my hops in their 15 gallon pots...
I didn't amend with any vermiculite or sand ..
Have been testing pH and moisture...pH is spot on 7. and moisture is way to wet so I'm taking a day off watering...
I figure it'll heat up soon and then it'll be good to have the moisture retention...
Not ideal, so maybe next year I'll pull them out and repot with "amended soil"...
Right now I didn't want to disturb them as I have 5/6 growing..although 2 of them have yellowing and browning of the leaves ... I just sprinkled nitrogen and a small amount of phosphorous and potassium as well...
Fingers crossed!
 
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jonny24

jonny24

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Thanks guys, I feel a lot better now. I'll leave them and RDWHAHB.
 

Kent88

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I'll share a story as well. A couple of years ago I was moving and we spent a year in a rental. While we were there my parents were hop-sitting for me (the hops were still potted at the time). One time I was back to visit and I gave my hops some fishy fertilizer.

The next morning one of my hops had been half dug up. Freaking trash pandas wanted to see what the smell was.

I went to the barn, shoveled up some old manure, filled the pot back in, and that hop crown has been the better of the two ever since.
 

Saunassa

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I only water mine every 2-3 days. Of course they are in the ground which helps but after 3yrs it seems to be what works for me.
 
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