Author Topic: Trim back first shoots?  (Read 6960 times)

Offline mihalybaci

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Trim back first shoots?
« on: March 31, 2015, 01:15:12 AM »
In the book "Homegrown Hops", David Beach mentions a technique where one cuts back all of the first hop shoots that come out in the spring, and then only letting the second round climb. He mentions that this method may produce enhanced hop production and reduce pests. Has any one tried this and does it produce noticeable results?

Thanks!

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2015, 01:45:39 AM »
Im going to this year simply so that I wont have weathered frost bitten main bines later on.

Offline HobsonDrake

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2015, 04:13:07 AM »
I have been really inconsistent on cutting back the first shoots. With my Centennial last year I didn't and I got an early crop. But it produced a second set late in the season. The Cascades seemed not to make a difference. The others are still too new to know for sure.
This year, I have cut them all but one Cascade back and will one more time this weekend. Then watch them go.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2015, 12:33:12 PM »
you can eat those early shoots like asparagus. reason enough to cut them back right there.

I've heard that you want to skip that step on first year bines and maybe second year unless they are super healthy.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2015, 12:57:05 PM »
I did a test on side by side Cascades last year. I cut back one of the plants at about the end of April and let the already flourishing other plant climb. In my review of the results, I'd say that it improved the quality of the hops from the cut back plant. I'll continue to trim my plants from now on. Be aware that I'm at 40 degree Latitude and my date of trimming will be different from other latitudes.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2015, 01:04:10 PM »
I did a test on side by side Cascades last year. I cut back one of the plants at about the end of April and let the already flourishing other plant climb. In my review of the results, I'd say that it improved the quality of the hops from the cut back plant. I'll continue to trim my plants from now on. Be aware that I'm at 40 degree Latitude and my date of trimming will be different from other latitudes.

How high did they get when you trimmed? Might give it a try this year.

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Offline mihalybaci

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2015, 01:38:37 PM »
Good info. I don't have enough crowns to really do a good side-by-side test myself. I started growing hops after I got the book, so I trimmed from the start without knowing how much affect it had. I have been trimming when most of them were over 4" tall, but I'm interested to know how tall everyone else lets theirs get before cutting back. I'm in Eastern PA and am just starting to see the first shoots (maybe 1" tall) on my Brewer's Gold, and its still getting down near freezing so I want to make sure that the plants are protected.

you can eat those early shoots like asparagus. reason enough to cut them back right there.
Eat the trimmings? I will have to try that this year. How tall do you let them get when you eat them? I imagine they get pretty woody pretty quickly.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2015, 02:07:14 PM »
Good info. I don't have enough crowns to really do a good side-by-side test myself. I started growing hops after I got the book, so I trimmed from the start without knowing how much affect it had. I have been trimming when most of them were over 4" tall, but I'm interested to know how tall everyone else lets theirs get before cutting back. I'm in Eastern PA and am just starting to see the first shoots (maybe 1" tall) on my Brewer's Gold, and its still getting down near freezing so I want to make sure that the plants are protected.

you can eat those early shoots like asparagus. reason enough to cut them back right there.
Eat the trimmings? I will have to try that this year. How tall do you let them get when you eat them? I imagine they get pretty woody pretty quickly.

I think they are generally 4-6 inches for eating. but as you say, monitor the woodiness of the stalks.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2015, 02:59:30 PM »
"Hopscheuten" are considered an expensive delicacy in Belgium (esp. in Poperingen, West-Flanders, region of Westvleteren and Struise Brouwers), available only a few weeks in Spring: http://www.toerismepoperinge.be/images/photolib/5079_me.jpg

To me they taste like expensive bean sprouts.  :P

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Offline Pinski

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2015, 03:20:52 PM »
I usually cut back all the bines once, once all six have begun to grow.  This year the Mt. Hoods. will get a root pruning as well or they may try to assimilate the deck.  Some I let go from there, others I'll select the strongest vines to grow out if I'm trying to contain the growth somewhat.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2015, 04:28:47 PM »
How high did they get when you trimmed?

They weren't trained, yet. So they were all over the ground. I'd say that they were at least 2 ft long and I seem to recall they were actually longer. Those crowns are barely peeping through the ground this year. I guess it has been colder for longer this year, compared to last year.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2015, 12:32:26 AM »
How high did they get when you trimmed?

They weren't trained, yet. So they were all over the ground. I'd say that they were at least 2 ft long and I seem to recall they were actually longer. Those crowns are barely peeping through the ground this year. I guess it has been colder for longer this year, compared to last year.
That is longer than I would have guessed. Thanks for that tidbit.
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Offline b-hoppy

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2015, 06:25:51 AM »
In the first year, especially if you started with rhizomes, you're better to just let everything grow.  The only energy that rhizome has is what's stored inside of itself and it has to use that limited amount of energy to do two things, grow roots and also grow shoots.  The roots will enable it to draw nourishment from the soil in the future and the shoots will enable it to produce additional energy to help sustain growth.  Hops are very very efficient at being able to produce way more energy than what they need to sustain their top growth, so any that's left over ends up being sent back to the crown to be stored and used the following season.  After harvest, being that the plants are still alive but really aren't making any new growth, any photosynthesis that's occurring will be used to allow them to blast off the following year.  When the plant first takes off, those simple sugars can produce some really wild and uneven first growth (bull shoots included) which can lead to a lot of variability when harvest time comes as some will climb faster than others.  Removing the first surge of growth at this time and training the shoots that come later will help with more uniformity at harvest.  Home growers don't really have to be too concerned with this issue.

One other reason for cutting back the first growth is to help with disease control.  I guess the overwintering spores of downy mildew will kind of hibernate in the fall buds that form (near the surface of the crown) and those are the first to blast off in the spring.  If left to grow, the resting spores will begin the disease cycle all over again and provide inoculum for further infection as the season progresses.

There have been years that I didn't have time to deal with mine early on and I ended up removing the first two (sometimes three) flushes of growth of growth and still had good crops.  Have fun and don't forget to beat 'em back into submission about every 3 years, they kinda like it!

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2015, 04:11:40 PM »
Should I just weedwhack them or actually pull them from the crown?  If I whack them they'll probably just split and start making laterals I think, or am I wrong about that?
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Offline b-hoppy

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Re: Trim back first shoots?
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2015, 04:38:56 PM »
The closer you can get them back to the crown the better.  If you end up leaving a little 'nub', additional buds will form near it's base and you'll end up having a crown that looks like a chia, ha!  This is another good reason to shave the top buds off of the crown once it's pretty well established.