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Off Balance Brewing

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Last year during my harvest I noticed the top of two of my plants had some gray/black spotting. I didn't use them because I wasn't sure if it was mold from moisture or something else. Any ideas? Also how to prevent it this year? Thanks for the help.
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B-Hoppy

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Aphids get inside the cones and start feeding and as they do, they exude a sweet sticky substance called honeydew which attracts sooty mold. Take care of your aphids and you shouldn't have any mold.
 

kumah

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Last year during my harvest I noticed the top of two of my plants had some gray/black spotting. I didn't use them because I wasn't sure if it was mold from moisture or something else. Any ideas? Also how to prevent it this year? Thanks for the help.View attachment 772681
B-Hoppy is correct, this is early Sooty Mold. This is caused by aphid honeydew so you aren't doing anything wrong, and fungicides won't help. You'll have to address the aphid problem.

Insecticidal soaps or neem oil early on might help. You will definitely want to avoid spraying close to harvest. The bottles will say the latest you can spray it.

Attracting some predators will help you more in the long run though if you have the room: places for lacewings or beetles.
 
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Off Balance Brewing

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Thanks guys. I've never noticed aphids before but I'll take a look under the leaves now. Would this be the right time of year? Is it possible my cascade are more susceptible than my centennial?

I do cut the lower 2 feet of leaves. I'll try hosing off the bines/leaves and cut off another foot of leaves.
 
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Off Balance Brewing

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B-Hoppy is correct, this is early Sooty Mold. This is caused by aphid honeydew so you aren't doing anything wrong, and fungicides won't help. You'll have to address the aphid problem.

Insecticidal soaps or neem oil early on might help. You will definitely want to avoid spraying close to harvest. The bottles will say the latest you can spray it.

Attracting some predators will help you more in the long run though if you have the room: places for lacewings or beetles.
Any recommendations on how to attract the lacewings and beetles? I saw someone say you can Amazon ladybugs.
 

kumah

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I am not familiar with hop susceptibility genes, but definitely possible some are more susceptible. It looks like you're starting to harvest (unless those are gherkin cucumbers in the bowl!) So I wouldn't spray any insecticides at this point. Neem oil would be the safest but I gag to think of what that could do to the flavor of beer if any got in. If you're going to rinse them really thoroughly before using, you could start spraying the plants with a thin mixture of soapy water (15mL dish soap to 1L water). Be warned though the plants won't love it either. Do it early in the mornings and not on a day it might get heat stressed.

Tall ornamental grasses can attract predatory beetles and lacewings. If you want to look up some more details, what you'd want to make is called a "Beetle Bank" - it is to butterflies or bees as butterfly or pollinator gardens.

Beetles spend most of their lifecycles in tall grass roots. Lacewings will use the tall blades to hunt and warm up their wings.

Aphids reproduce insanely fast (it's pretty disgusting actually) so your best bet would be to catch them early next season.

Take pics of any insects you do see. Aphids are surprisingly diverse. One time I thought I had a bunch of downy mildew on my hops, only to see it take flight when I was watering! Turned out to be a very nasty woolly aphid infestation. I had no idea they could be so fuzzy!
 
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Off Balance Brewing

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I am not familiar with hop susceptibility genes, but definitely possible some are more susceptible. It looks like you're starting to harvest (unless those are gherkin cucumbers in the bowl!) So I wouldn't spray any insecticides at this point. Neem oil would be the safest but I gag to think of what that could do to the flavor of beer if any got in. If you're going to rinse them really thoroughly before using, you could start spraying the plants with a thin mixture of soapy water (15mL dish soap to 1L water). Be warned though the plants won't love it either. Do it early in the mornings and not on a day it might get heat stressed.

Tall ornamental grasses can attract predatory beetles and lacewings. If you want to look up some more details, what you'd want to make is called a "Beetle Bank" - it is to butterflies or bees as butterfly or pollinator gardens.

Beetles spend most of their lifecycles in tall grass roots. Lacewings will use the tall blades to hunt and warm up their wings.

Aphids reproduce insanely fast (it's pretty disgusting actually) so your best bet would be to catch them early next season.

Take pics of any insects you do see. Aphids are surprisingly diverse. One time I thought I had a bunch of downy mildew on my hops, only to see it take flight when I was watering! Turned out to be a very nasty woolly aphid infestation. I had no idea they could be so fuzzy!
Sorry for the confusion. Those pics are from last harvest.

Just checked my lower leaves and only found a couple aphids so far. Maybe early enough.

Harvest by me is end of August. I'll look how late you can spray or if I can get a beetle bank.

Tall grass near the hops will just let the aphids get up the binds easier...right?
 

Sylvain

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I am not familiar with hop susceptibility genes, but definitely possible some are more susceptible. It looks like you're starting to harvest (unless those are gherkin cucumbers in the bowl!) So I wouldn't spray any insecticides at this point. Neem oil would be the safest but I gag to think of what that could do to the flavor of beer if any got in. If you're going to rinse them really thoroughly before using, you could start spraying the plants with a thin mixture of soapy water (15mL dish soap to 1L water). Be warned though the plants won't love it either. Do it early in the mornings and not on a day it might get heat stressed.

Tall ornamental grasses can attract predatory beetles and lacewings. If you want to look up some more details, what you'd want to make is called a "Beetle Bank" - it is to butterflies or bees as butterfly or pollinator gardens.

Beetles spend most of their lifecycles in tall grass roots. Lacewings will use the tall blades to hunt and warm up their wings.

Aphids reproduce insanely fast (it's pretty disgusting actually) so your best bet would be to catch them early next season.

Take pics of any insects you do see. Aphids are surprisingly diverse. One time I thought I had a bunch of downy mildew on my hops, only to see it take flight when I was watering! Turned out to be a very nasty woolly aphid infestation. I had no idea they could be so fuzzy!
yes, some varieties are terribly sensitive like Willow Creek. others no, like Boadicea which is considered totally resistant
 

kumah

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Sorry for the confusion. Those pics are from last harvest.

Just checked my lower leaves and only found a couple aphids so far. Maybe early enough.

Harvest by me is end of August. I'll look how late you can spray or if I can get a beetle bank.

Tall grass near the hops will just let the aphids get up the binds easier...right?
The confusion was mine for not reading closely and getting distracted by pictures!

Now's a great time to get on them. By now, most predatory insects are out of hibernation.

I think the aphids would get to your hops regardless, but it'd be a good idea to plant the tall grasses a few feet away. In my biodiversity class I think our general rule was a minimum of 3 feet from crops so you wouldn't have competition or diseases spreading. I don't recall what the maximum distance was. It was quite a bit though - I think it was something like 250-300 feet.

This would be a long term investment and probably wouldn't yield results right away. The beetle bank would be more of a long term solution. For now, you could probably just spray some insecticidal soap.
 

mashpaddled

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Aphids are a common and virtually inevitable pest in gardening.

Ladybugs will make quick work of eating aphids and you can buy them on Amazon or from garden centers. The problem is you can't train them to stay on your plants so they may eat a little and fly away. You need to get them to lay eggs and build up a stable local population which can take time.

Insecticidal soaps are a fairly good tool although you'll have to reapply frequently through the growing season. In the same way ladybugs will fly away new aphids will always come for your plants.
 

B-Hoppy

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@mashpaddled, did you ever find that info about the 'black variants' of aphids and mites that attack hops that you mentioned before? I'm really curious as I've been hobby growing these things since the mid-late 80's and haven't seen any info on what you've suggested.
 
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