Hops trouble

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Uncle Ike

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Hi! I got three bins with hops: Fuggles, Golding, and Hallertau.
Last year I lost the crop due to browning (fungus?)
This year it started fine but now I'm in trouble again.
Is it a fungus? How do I get rid of it?
 

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kumah

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Budding (pardon the pun) plant pathologist here.

I think this might be a nutrient deficiency. Possibly potassium. My only hesitation on that though is the very crispy edges. What is your fertilizing routine? It might be a compound of deficiencies.

Alternatively, it might be Verticillium wilt, which is pretty common and nothing to be ashamed of (I already lost a few potatoes to it this year). If it's verticillium wilt, your best bet would be to plant a resistant variety and keep things clean near the hops.

If anyone else has seen this and has a dead ringer on the ID, I'd appreciate a correction. I'm more of a wheat/corn person!
 
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Uncle Ike

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Once a week, 1/4 cap dissolved in water for each bin. Each bin supports three plants. Fuggles and Golding (in bins 1 and 2) are most affected, but near the base not for all leaves. Hallertau (bin 3) is least affected, but there the ends dry out. I provide plenty of water. There are no aphids or ants milking them. I see no other bugs. I think it's a fungus. I had a reasonable harvest -last week- very early, I think. Two ounces of Fuggles, two of Golding. I want to buy a copper-based fungicide to see what it will do. If it works, I can tackle it earlier in the season, next year. Coming Spring, I need to cull the roots; if you live near Hamilton, Ontario, you can pick up some root cuttings to try your own!
 

kumah

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I was wondering if maybe it was nitrogen burn after your reply, and I found this reddit thread:

This person has very similar symptoms and it turned out to be spider mites. They're basically microscopic so you might not even see them.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Once a week, 1/4 cap dissolved in water for each bin.

Personally, I stick to organic fertilizers (and compost as well).

One thought on brewing beer is that the brewer's job is to create an environment where the yeast will make great beer. I look at gardening the same way. The garden's job is to create an environment where nature will grow healthy plants. Proper moisture and proper sunlight are part of this, but a healthy soil full of nutrients, organic matter, and teaming with life is the key. Chemical fertilizers can destroy the soil microbiome and create a dependent cycle on chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides & fungicides.

Plus, organic gardening is just easier than trying to micromanage chemical additions.
 

kumah

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Or you know, you do you.

This was a thread asking for pest ID, not how to garden.

Synthetic is fine if that's what you can afford. Organic gardening is not easier, the biggest reason for more cost in Organic food is more labor.

A garden's job is what you want it to be. They don't exist beyond human constructs.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Hi! I got three bins with hops: Fuggles, Golding, and Hallertau.
Last year I lost the crop due to browning (fungus?)
This year it started fine but now I'm in trouble again.
Is it a fungus? How do I get rid of it?
Budding (pardon the pun) plant pathologist here.

I think this might be a nutrient deficiency. Possibly potassium.

Whilst hops are generally hungry plants, you wouldn't get that kind of damage/death just from nutrient deficiency. With hops 80-90% of visible damage/death are down to the Big 4 - here in the UK we worry more about verticilium and mildews both downy and powdery, traditional varieties like Fuggles and Goldings are susceptible to just about everything. Spider mite is also common, particularly in drier climates.

You should always rule out the big 4 before worrying about anything more obscure. Then check for visible signs of sucking pests like aphids (which will be still attached to the less affected parts of the plant) and chewing pests like caterpillars (which may have moved on but you will see evidence of them having chewed the leaves). Then worry about the long tail of other problems like nutrient deficiency, but it's almost always the big 4 (at least here).

It's always difficult to diagnose remotely but my first guess would be spider mite, particularly since there seems to be webs in the top-left of the last photo. In which case you should be able to find them on the less-affected leaves, particularly the undersides (always the first place to look for plant pests!) If it's that bad then this year's harvest is probably past saving, but next year take appropriate controls based on local advice and whatever products are available locally.
 

kumah

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Whilst hops are generally hungry plants, you wouldn't get that kind of damage/death just from nutrient deficiency. With hops 80-90% of visible damage/death are down to the Big 4 - here in the UK we worry more about verticilium and mildews both downy and powdery, traditional varieties like Fuggles and Goldings are susceptible to just about everything. Spider mite is also common, particularly in drier climates.

You should always rule out the big 4 before worrying about anything more obscure. Then check for visible signs of sucking pests like aphids (which will be still attached to the less affected parts of the plant) and chewing pests like caterpillars (which may have moved on but you will see evidence of them having chewed the leaves). Then worry about the long tail of other problems like nutrient deficiency, but it's almost always the big 4 (at least here).

It's always difficult to diagnose remotely but my first guess would be spider mite, particularly since there seems to be webs in the top-left of the last photo. In which case you should be able to find them on the less-affected leaves, particularly the undersides (always the first place to look for plant pests!) If it's that bad then this year's harvest is probably past saving, but next year take appropriate controls based on local advice and whatever products are available locally.
Would you say the Big 4 are Verticillium, Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew, and Spider mites?
 

Northern_Brewer

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Would you say the Big 4 are Verticillium, Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew, and Spider mites?
That's what I just said. Certainly from a British perspective - our generally damper weather (albeit not in the current heatwave!) means fungi are more of a problem here but powdery mildews prefer drier conditions and spider mites tend to be more of a dry-climate problem.
 

kumah

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That's what I just said. Certainly from a British perspective - our generally damper weather (albeit not in the current heatwave!) means fungi are more of a problem here but powdery mildews prefer drier conditions and spider mites tend to be more of a dry-climate problem.
Thanks for the clarification. From how it was written I couldn't tell if you were including spider mites with the other 3.
 

mashpaddled

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It's always difficult to diagnose remotely but my first guess would be spider mite, particularly since there seems to be webs in the top-left of the last photo. In which case you should be able to find them on the less-affected leaves, particularly the undersides (always the first place to look for plant pests!) If it's that bad then this year's harvest is probably past saving, but next year take appropriate controls based on local advice and whatever products are available locally.

Yeah the webs are a dead giveaway there is a spider mite problem. With spider mites the plants are getting sapped (literally) of nutrients and moisture which causes nutrient deficiency, dehydration and makes the bines vulnerable to other bugs and diseases. With spider mites there might be aphids, too.

If you can get spiders and ladybugs to take residence in your bines they will handle these bugs for you but you can't force them to stay. Ladybugs will eat and leave when they run out of food. You may need to use insecticides but you need to start early in the season to prevent spider mites from getting a serious foothold. Once they start turning leaves brown you're losing and by the time the photos look like the ones above the season is a total loss.
 
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