How to prune hop vines

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Hopper5000

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Hey All,

So I got two hop plants growing in buckets. It's the start of the second year they have been in there. They have been sprouting up for about 6 or so weeks now.

I wanted to limit the vines to about 3 this year and it appears that I have about 5 to 8 vines sprouting out of each pot.

I was reading that I should let the grow to be about a foot and then see which ones look the strongest and go with those.

I am wondering what the proper way to prune them is. Do I just snip the ones I don't want off at the soil level or am I supposed to dig down and do something at the root level? Thanks.
 

B-Hoppy

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The closer you can remove them to the crown the better. I found that if you just grab them as far down as you can and pull with an even/steady motion, you can essentially pull them off right from the crown. The only problem with cutting is that you leave a very small portion of the shoot in tact. That portion will manage to produce a few buds which will usually remain dormant until next year. As the crown gets older and you continue to snip off the excess shoots, that number of buds multiplies geometrically to the point that you have zillions/oodles/MANY (however you want to put it) of additional shoots the next year which creates a sort of 'chia' crown over time. Believe me, if you're in it for the long-haul, try to get them as close to the crown as you can ~ unless you like to see how many beers it takes to thin your crowns. Been there and ran out of beer many times! I hate running out of beer . . .
 
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Hopper5000

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that makes sense. is the crown usually kind of close to the surface? I won't be home to to this for about 3 weeks, is that going to be a problem?
 

B-Hoppy

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Yes, the upper buds of the crown are usually right at surface level. If they live in happy buckets, they may be half way up to your roof by then! They'll grow A LOT quicker than last year now that they've got roots established.
 
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Hopper5000

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I see, so is it worth it to actually snip the actual crown where the vine is coming off of?

I don't trust my room mates to a good job on this... which is why i would rather do it myself
 

B-Hoppy

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Why carry snippers when your hands will do the job? A good steady pull will dislodge them right from the crown. If you must snip I'd get as close to the crown as possible without actually snipping it.
 

CastleHollow

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Man, she was brutal! I felt like I was watching someone pull teeth with pliers--poor hop plant....

Got the job done, though!
 
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