Quantcast

hop plant health degradation - cut losses or what?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

AndytheBeave

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2014
Messages
234
Reaction score
67
Location
Vancouver Island
hey guys, I was wondering you gurus could provide a bit of insight and advice. I want to improve my hop growing for next year and learn from my mistakes this year.
I have 4 different varieties growing right now, and all of them are in vastly differnt states of health. They are as follows:

1) 2nd year magnum - 12ft high and all leaves are brown or missing and almost dead (Suspect powdery mildew)
2) 2nd year magnum - 12 ft high and mostly brown (except for the top) and almost dead but with some flowering (potential mildew on this one too)
3) 1st year mt.hood - 14 ft high, plenty of cones but was eaten alive from 8 ft down - tons of browing on the leaves but green at the top
4) 1st year goldings - 10 ft high, tons of cones almost ready to harvest all leaves are still bright green.

I find it interesting that the 2nd year plants are almost dead and produced hardly anything, but I guess this is the nature of a diseased plant.

The Goldings are looking great, and this is the only plant that I allowed 2 bines to grow up the same sting.

My questions are:
1) did allowing 2 bines (Golding) to grow up the same string help protect the plant?
2) on the 2 plants that are almost dead, is it advisable to cut them down to the dirt and literally cut my losses? Will this kill the plants for next year?

Any advice you guys could provide would be great. Thanks!
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
2,187
Reaction score
185
Location
Home, where the beer is
Your first year hops usually don't produce more than a few ounces, they're focusing on building the root cone. Second year hops usually are better, but still not up to full production yet. The third year and beyond is where you get your full production. I'd leave your second year plants alone, and let them do what they do. They may be too weak to survive the winter, but leave them alone until the first frost, then cut them down. If they come back next year, then tend to them, but don't cut your losses yet. What was eating the Mt Hood? You can buy frozen lady bugs next year, and that should help with the aphid problem, if that's whats eating them.

And by limiting the number of bines, you've helped the plant develop its root cone. I typically let only three per string grow, but two works too.
 
OP
AndytheBeave

AndytheBeave

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2014
Messages
234
Reaction score
67
Location
Vancouver Island
Thanks for the reply and advice.
For some reason there were tons of wasps buzzing around the mt.hood but I haven't heard of wasps being attracted to plants before. I wonder if they were the culprit. I suppose it could have been aphids. I wonder why they left the Goldings alone though. They are like 2 ft away.
The second year plants are pretty sad looking though. There's a few scattered new leaves that are valiantly trying to save the day but generally they look pretty brown. We have also been in drought conditions all summer so we have been trying to conserve water. We only water every other day at most.
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
2,187
Reaction score
185
Location
Home, where the beer is
That's strange, I've never heard of wasps going after hop plants. I wonder if there was an insect on them that they were after. Some varieties of hops are more susceptible to pests than others, that could be why the Goldings were left alone.

Hops like plenty of water, so the drought may be the problem. Watering every other day should be sufficient, unless you're not giving them enough when watering. The soil should be wet all around the root cone.
 
OP
AndytheBeave

AndytheBeave

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2014
Messages
234
Reaction score
67
Location
Vancouver Island
That makes good sense. At least I'll get a few ounces of Goldings and an ounce or 2 of mt.hood so this year's plants aren't a total write off. I am a bit bummed about the Magnum and Willamettes though. There were wasps actually crawling on the leaves of the mt.hood - so maybe they were hunting aphids or whatever pest it was. So instead of letting a wasp be an ally, I took 'em out with the zapper and contributed to the decline of my plant.
I appreciate the advice and insight. Cheers!
 
Top