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Crazy May and June, Opinions?

All my 10 varieties of hops are second years and the rhizomes came from freshhops. They had a tough year last year (had to be moved, got buried in a landslide, knocked down in storms, overwatered…)

They came up strong in early May for me (Northern Virginia) and I’ve got a Galena that’s probably 17 feet x 5 bines, my Cascades and Centennials are 8 feet or so, Chinooks 12, etc.

I’m wondering if the veterans could comment on what I’m seeing, which is a ton of flowering activity. My Galena (no pic) is healthy and stout, but flowering like mad. Hundreds of burrs. Is it confused and giving a fall harvest early or is this just a huge early season output?

My Chinook has already given me the hops you see in my hand. Far fewer cones there, but I hope that isn’t the extent of what I can expect.

Oddest yet is my Perle (top two pics). It’s male. I have read that cascades and centennials can go male due to stress, but this Perle hasn’t had a lot of stress. It’s pretty comparable growthwise to the rest of mine right now, and we had a cool spring, fairly wet in big storms, dry in between, with a few 90 degree days mixed in and some 40s for lows. Variable, but hardly stressful. But I’m not a hop.

Anyone ever seen their plant go male? Do I need to hack it up? Just pull the flowers? Or do you think Freshhops sent me a male by mistake?

You’re located on the South end of the optimum growing zone so your weather may play a part in the early production. Another thing, if you trained the early shoots rather than having removed them, this will encourage an earlier harvest. Those first shoots are usually removed for a number of different reasons so that may be an option next year for you.

That Perle sure looks like a male to me. Usually when the plants get stressed there’s only a few clumps of male bloom scattered amongst the cones but it doesn’t look like yours has any. I’m sure that if you get in touch with Dave he’ll replace it. When the rhizomes are dug they all look pretty much the same and if there’s a male mixed into a row, you may have gotten one. You could try picking the bloom off of that plant so it won’t pollinate the other girls or just let it go. Personally, I like to see a few seedlings in the Spring. Who knows, one of those may end up being the next Simcoe!

Looks like it has the extra plumbing and dingleberries for a male. Maybe got one mixed in like the above person posted? I might hack that one down so it doesn’t start pollenating.

I live in Florida (not supposed to be able to grow hops here), and my first year Cascades went explosive and are going to be ready to harvest next week already with hundreds of cones. They hit 17 feet long after being planted at the end of May. My Kent Goldings just hit 10 feet and are only now starting to burr after being planted at the same time.

We’ve had a lot more rain than is typical this time of year, and it’s been a little cooler than normal here (cooler being in the mid 80’s here in Florida), but the temp has been pretty consistent so far.

I’m also wondering if the high pressure sodium light my utility company installed for some reason on the power pole in my backyard has something to do with the explosive hop production? I’m not complaining, but it’s curious for sure!

I’d yank the male ASAP, you don’t want it pollinating this years crop or spreading in the ground.

Also you want the hops to hang a good while to get mature, thats after they are full size.

[quote=“tom sawyer”]I’d yank the male ASAP, you don’t want it pollinating this years crop or spreading in the ground.

Also you want the hops to hang a good while to get mature, thats after they are full size.[/quote]


I’m just wondering why everyone seems a little paranoid about having a male in the garden?

Aren’t bad things supposed to happen when a male plant flowers and pollenates a female plant? From what I understand, this will cause the female plant to begin producing cones with seeds, which causes undesirable off flavors in the hop cones.

I don’t know about flavors but I’d think the cone would quit putting energy into making oils and make seeds instead. Plus, the male will not produce any cones so it is unproductive in this respect. Sometimes environmental stresses will cause a female to make male flowers, maybe this is what is happening with the plant. I’d at least pick off the flowers before they release pollen to protect your other product.

And finally, I offer the wise saying: no stems no seeds that you don’t need, Acapulco Gold is bad ass weed.

Two thoughts-
As far as having male plants around, I’m not sure it will impact the females. There are plenty of wild/untamed/unattended hop plants around where I live and I’m sure the pollen from male plants can travel a long way.

The shot of the Chinook cones look like they were picked too early- the cones look very green and I’m not seeing any yellow-orange lupulin on them. If they aren’t real pungent I’d hold off on harvesting.

The only reason I asked is that I’ve made good beer with certain varieties that were loaded with seeds (no off taste at all). Also, in a book called “Hops” by R.A. Neve, the topic was covered about seeded hops that were routinely grown in England (days gone by) stating that the increased surface area that was created by the seeds allowed for greater amounts of lupulin to accumulate. They did mention that the brewers were wanting to buy a pound of hops rather than paying for a percentage of seeds. So it looks like Tom Sawyer’s right on! Hoppy Growing!

Jason Perrault says
males on spontaneous monecious plants tend not to be fertile (p. 2).
Seeds have fats in them (energy for the embryo), and fats can oxidize (go rancid). That’s why brewers don’t like them much–they seem to think rancid fats shouldn’t be in beer… But if you’re using whole cones (not grinding the seeds up) and storing them properly (cold, dark), I don’t see a huge problem with having seeds in your home-grown hops.

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