Pruning Bines?

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Tim_Hall

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So I've been to Hallertau during the harvest and the Hopfenfest, so I've seen how these things are grown conventionally, and I know what I'm going to suggest here is totally unorthodox.

Anyone know if hops can be pruned into a 'shrub' like some other vining plants? Will pinching off tips encourage side growth, or just stop the bines altogether?
 

Bensiff

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You will probably get some lateral growth, how much I don't know. However, you will probably get a limited crop and what you do get will get mold, mildew, fungus, or bugs from being so close to the ground. You prune back the leaves and stems from first 4 feet of the bine once it gets high enough to limit the impact of being near the ground for just that reason.
 

BootsyFlanootsy

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I have never pruned the main growth tip on purpose, however I have by accident. I never found it to be a good thing or beneficial in any way. I grow my hops on a fence and train the growing tips through the links so the more growth I can get the better. I never found the lateral growth to compensate for the vertical growth. That being said, I could envision someone with enough time and skill creating some sort of an orb out of fencing and training the growing tip around and around, wrapping the structure all the way until the growth covers it. But as Bensiff says, I would imagine mould and bugs could easily take over in such an environment due to the limited ability of air to flow through.
 
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Tim_Hall

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Thanks for the replies. I may just experiment with a couple of the bines, and try something more conventional with the rest. I don't think mold will be an issue (bugs maybe) as the plants are already elevated in a pot and they don't stay damp in my climate.
 

tchuklobrau

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Perhaps you will have different sucess in tx than here. My buddy tried that last year on some of my bines because their cousin excels when u pinch em. On the 4 he pinched(pinched at about 5' off the ground) They did nothing for about 3 weeks before putting out 2 new shoots at the pinch and continued going up. However the pinched bines never got to 1/3 the height of the others. cones were smaller, and less of them.
 
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I have very limited experience of growing hops but my largest cones were towards the top of the bines so although a “shrub” effect would be ideal for the look of the front of my house where I have them growing in large pots I’d rather let them grow naturally up a trellis. This photo was taken on 24th August and I picked them two weeks later.
I’d like to add that this was a first year’s growth so was very pleased by the crop given that I was told to not expect a very good harvest.
 

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