Preparing first year hops for the winter

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Anthonie

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I have read several articles about “winterizing” hops and still find myself confused about the best approach to doing so. I am wondering how far to cut the hops back and exactly when to do so? As expected I did not yield any actual hops this year and do not anticipate that I will given that I live in the north east and we have already hit 30’s over night. However, I also do not want to cut the hop bines to early.. if there is such a thing. When should they be cut? Lastly, I want to ensure that the roots do not die off over the winter and am wondering how to prepare the soil for the snow to come. I have read to cover with a mound good soil, hay, or tarps… Are any of these options more or less successful? TIA for any tips! I love gardening and growing hops has been great. Now I just want to keep them going!
 

CascadesBrewer

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What zone do you live in? How cold do winters get? Are your hops in the ground? Hop plants are fairly cold hardy. The regions where they grow best are fairly far north. USDA Zone 5 with a consistently cold winter is probably ideal.

I live in Virginia on the edge of Zone 6 and 7. The biggest issues here for plants are the thaw/freeze cycles that occur and the cold damp soil that can occur.
 

Kickass

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I live on the boarder of 8a and 8b at 4400 feet elevation and at a latitude of 35N (very souther portion of recommend growing). My plants are 4 years old. I may not be doing it correctly but here’s my process:

I cut my bines about a foot from the ground in Aug/Sep to harvest. Then do nothing else. I get about 10 days of snowfall a year but my plants are fairly sheltered, planted alongside the house. I’d estimate the ground above them sees 15 to 20 days where it’s covered in snow.
 
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Anthonie

Anthonie

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What zone do you live in? How cold do winters get? Are your hops in the ground? Hop plants are fairly cold hardy. The regions where they grow best are fairly far north. USDA Zone 5 with a consistently cold winter is probably ideal.

I live in Virginia on the edge of Zone 6 and 7. The biggest issues here for plants are the thaw/freeze cycles that occur and the cold damp soil that can occur.
I live in Maine. Not sure what zone that would be. Winters certainly drop into the negatives several times a year and can reach -15.
 
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Anthonie

Anthonie

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I live on the boarder of 8a and 8b at 4400 feet elevation and at a latitude of 35N (very souther portion of recommend growing). My plants are 4 years old. I may not be doing it correctly but here’s my process:

I cut my bines about a foot from the ground in Aug/Sep to harvest. Then do nothing else. I get about 10 days of snowfall a year but my plants are fairly sheltered, planted alongside the house. I’d estimate the ground above them sees 15 to 20 days where it’s covered in snow.
I certainly see much colder weather. Although we have local hop growers that have great success up here. Sounds like maybe cutting back the bines and covering the ground they are in wouldn’t be a bad approach.
 

Leezer

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I live in western MA, and cut mine down to about 6 to 12 inches and cover with a little layer of leaves. I used to put a really thick layer of leaves but now just do a few inches or so. I haven’t yet done all that yet this year, but usually do so by the end of Oct.
 

khannon

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Also in Western MA, I cut them to ~18" to harvest, leave them at that over-winter, and run a trimmer in the spring to clean things up.

Also, @Leezer, SPARGE homebrewclub is looking for members in Western MA, Next meeting is at Progression in Nothampton on the 9th of Nov. SPARGE Homebrew Club
 

lurker18

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When I did grow them, got a lot colder than any of you. -40 C in the winter. They came back every year. Hops are very hardy plants, actually when I wanted them out, they are harder to kill than grow. I did absolutely nothing to mine and they were fine.
 

mashpaddled

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Easiest thing to do is let them die back in the fall and then cut them back to about six inches tall. (Don't rip them out of the ground, you'll damage the rhizomes.) If you want you can spread a layer of mulch or hay over the hill until the spring. If your winter is dry it can help to watch an inch every other week in dry times.

If you cut them back and leave them alone, they should grow back just fine. Keeping moisture and a cover will help with better growth the following year.
 
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