Do you "top" your bines?

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Randar

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Ok, folks. Sort of a survey question here, but I have not had to deal with this issue before. I have a 14 ft trellis and the record warm weather here brought spring a full 3 weeks early (according to farmer friend of mine who keeps his farming almanac passed down in his family, this is the earliest spring in NE Illinois in the last 100 years or so)...

And so what, you ask? Well, some of my hops are now 3 full feet above the top wire. I have not had this issue in past years (last year was a late spring, for example) and haven't had to deal with bine going more than a foot or 2 over the wire, which is no big deal.

However, now I have 3+ foot bines flopping, snagging, trying to climb into trees, etc. So my question for those of you on shorter trellises like mine, do you clip the top of your bines to force leaf-out and side arm creation or do you just let them go and flop around? I imagine they will eventually snap here the way they whip in the wind, but as I mentioned, I have never had to deal with this to such a degree. I only have a few plants with active side arm growth going but all of them are at the top of the trellis and flopping around.
 

B-Hoppy

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i've seen this happen in different situations and usually, the growth at the tip of the vine will become so heavy that it will weigh itself down and then begin to climb back onto itself. i've never weighed the matter of cutting the top vs. allowing it to climb back up when it comes to yield amounts, but i would think that either technique would produce nearly the same amount of hops.
 
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Randar

Randar

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B-hoppy, that is basically what I have seen as well at times, but I have adjacent varieties that each have 3+ foot tips swinging in the wind and it won't be long before it is a tangled mess. I don't know if I have any other option than to clip them, frankly, was looking for others who have done so to see some kind of confirmation, but I suppose I already know that it's "ok" to do... just curious what others have experienced here.
 

HoppyDaze

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I am dealing with the same thing...but I think Im just going to let them do what they do. I really don't see any amount of wind that can break my thicker bines. So, maybe a person can cut the thinner/weaker bines of the bunch and let the thick ones go? I don't know...but I am going to be dealing with this every year. It would be nice to get someone with experience on this to chime in.
 

B-Hoppy

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you could always EXPERIMENT! top a couple and let the others 'free range' like they do in nature. you're never too young to experiment. i grow on 18 -20 ft poles and almost every year a couple chinook vines fall off the poles then find their way back on and continue to grow back up to the top. problem is, if allowed to grow unrestricted, they would likely reach about 25 -30 feet. this tends to make a birds nest at the top of the poles. hard to pick. topping would only increase the snarl in my situation.
 

DrawTap88

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If they usually climb back up on themselves, why not start the process for them by "looping" the bine back onto itself using some zip ties or something?

Otherwise, I would agree that you should experiment by clipping some and/or letting some go free range.
 
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Randar

Randar

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If they usually climb back up on themselves, why not start the process for them by "looping" the bine back onto itself using some zip ties or something?

Otherwise, I would agree that you should experiment by clipping some and/or letting some go free range.

Well, I can clip them with a pole-pruner, if I have to get up there to train them I have to get my stepladder out and stomp all over the garden where I have various other things planted.

I won't have time to mess with them for another week, so I guess I will see where I am at that point.
 

brewyourown4life

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mine are doing the same thing except mine were about 6 feet higher, i just got on a 9 foot step ladder, my pole is 13 foot tall, and i carefully bent the bines down a couple of feet or so and started wrapping the bine back around my twine, seems to be working good.
 

brewyourown4life

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yea they will but the 2 or 3 feet you bend them down and start to train them back up should get you about an extra 2- 4 feet of extra growing height
 

Hopfarmer

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This happens when you do not cut back the first growth.The bines are racers and produce half as much with fewer laterals Cheers glen
 

GilaMinumBeer

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so lateral arms should not be clipped? how long are they typically? ive been training them up the twine.
Depends on the varietal. Can be anywhere from 20" to 40".

Just let them be what they want to be. If they entangle themselves so be it. Train the main bines and let the rest do what they were grown to do.
 
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Randar

Randar

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This happens when you do not cut back the first growth.The bines are racers and produce half as much with fewer laterals Cheers glen
Glen,

What do you consider "first growth"? I cut back bines for a few weeks before training some strong candidates. My crowns had at least 30-40 shoots that were trimmed back before selecting these.
 
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