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How many years do hop plants produce?

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humulene

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I'm wondering how long a hop plant will produce and when it peaks. I have read that it establishes itself in 3-5 years. When does production start to decline?

Thanks!
 

nagmay

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I am not a botanist, but since no on else has chimed in...

Considering the growth cycle of hops - a perennial rhizome that regrows from the ground - there may not be an upper limit. Given optimal conditions, a single plant may be able to produce for hundreds of years.

If you do start to see lowered production, it would likely be do something like:
  • Viral infection
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Crowding of the rhizome
 

flars

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A hop plant that is taken care of will outlive you and your next x (super script) generations.
 

DarkCoder

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Even feral hops growing now wild on old farms can produce cones- and they are well over 100 years old.
Yes, but feral/wild hops "move"... they spread their young rhizomes and establish new crown a little bit further than the original crown. The original crown may die for wathever reasons and you wouldn't notice it because younger crowns in the surrounding would continue to send bines.

For hops under cultivation with someone cutting the new rhizomes each year, preventing the plant to "regenarate" the crown ?!? :)
 

Yooper

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For hops under cultivation with someone cutting the new rhizomes each year, preventing the plant to "regenarate" the crown ?!? :)
No. You can try all you like to trim the crown- hops are invasive and you'll never be able to get it all, let it alone cut all the new rhizomes. Once you plant hops, you own them forever, and so do succeeding generations because you will never get rid of them without something like round-up (and even then, probably not).
 

day_trippr

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There's a thread in here somewhere about a huge 90-something year old hop "plant" that sure as heck didn't do a lot of moving around...

Cheers!
 

B-Hoppy

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No. You can try all you like to trim the crown- hops are invasive and you'll never be able to get it all, let it alone cut all the new rhizomes. Once you plant hops, you own them forever, and so do succeeding generations because you will never get rid of them without something like round-up (and even then, probably not).
I don't really think they technically fit the definition of being invasive as they're native to N. America and can be controlled/eliminated if you take care where you plant them. But, if you plant them in an location where the soil extends to an area that can't be cultivated due to physical barriers (next to a permeable type wall, say made from RR cross-ties, or at the edge of a deck, etc.), the rhizomes will follow the soil and find a weak point and continue to grow outward. Like Nagmay said, if they hit a solid barrier they'll normally just pop up at that point or more likely follow the soil/obstruction interface and can come up many feet away in the course of one growing season.

Like others have said, they can live for a long, long time as long as their growth isn't compromised by some sort of pest or extremely unfavorable soil conditions. I have a Canadian Redvine that I brought back from NY in 1989, still dominating my little garden!

http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/docs/council/isacdef.pdf

The only member of the Humulus family that I could find as being considered invasive is H. Japonicus, and yes it does tend to steamroll an area once it gets established: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/huja1.htm
 
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humulene

humulene

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Thank you all for your reply. I am still left wondering if there is a a "peak" in production. I have heard of those old plants surviving for decades and still producing cones but I don't know if they are producing like they used to.
 
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humulene

humulene

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Perhaps I should clarify that the plants would be on a farm in a commercial operation and would not be left to wander.
 

nagmay

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Perhaps I should clarify that the plants would be on a farm in a commercial operation and would not be left to wander.
Still, I don't believe that "peak" will ever decline based on age alone.

This is a strange notion. Indeed, most plants have a finite production span. I guess the most comparable plant would be asparagus - also a rhizome that dies back each year. A properly fertilized asparagus bed will be productive for decades (or longer).

Anyway... in a commercial setting, I imagine that if crowns started to decline, you could just dig them out and replant a single section of rhizome. However, it would be prudent to do nutrient/disease checks first.
 

Experibrew

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Agreed. Just look at the many FDA strains of corn that have been selected and catalogued. That's another definition of lineage. Your hops after 100 years become "Noble" by default. JK. They will continue to produce until threatened by winter kill. They will spread as a survivalist plant to ensure optimum chances for perennial continuance. That's inherent nature and we are grateful. Some varieties aren't as vigorous and unfortunately aren't in the same supply chain of availability anymore (even some lucrative dwarf varieties that don't need 25 feet of growing length for arms). That it's ultimately less about peak years (not a notion with any fact) and more about the proliferation and commercial yield decisions that affect their being cultivated for the general public or commercial needs further than hobby farm level in the current climate.
 

BigTHopDog

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25 years usually is a good life span. Depends how well you manage their soil.
 

j_sheely

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I'm wondering how long a hop plant will produce and when it peaks. I have read that it establishes itself in 3-5 years. When does production start to decline?

Thanks!
We have a hops plant that has been growing at our family farm for well over 100 years.
 

Ruint

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Soil management is key. They will survive in lesser soil, but will thrive in properly cared for soil. It is a little harder than you think, keeping the soil at optimum. But, as said in earlier posts, pests and diseases could take your plants down before their time. Some plants have been producing premium cones for 35+ years.
 
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