How warm before hops start growing?

I’m new to hops growing. I planted rhizomes last year and actually got some usable hops the first year. I’m anxiously awaiting signs of life in my hop garden this spring, but nothing yet. It’s been a long cold winter here in Upstate New York, but I’m wondering if anybody has a rough temperature range when they see their hops starting to grow. I’ve read how hops shoot out so early in the spring that the first shoots freeze. Is this true? Thanks.

It’s still cold in Wisconsin but my hops are all poking up right now. They’re tiny and purple but I can see them coming up. If you have mulched your hop beds over the winter, you do need to remove the mulch if you want to see what’s going on, but be careful not to damage them – use your hands, not tools. My Cascades always get a much later start than my Hallertau. Hallertau is at about 1.5 inches up right now, whereas Cascades are teeny tiny, maybe a half inch. Most tips are purple – look for purple and you might find some.

Yep, if I carefully dig a little through the compost I put over them back in the fall, I can see the shoots.  Thanks, Dave.

OK, so this is my second year on my hops as well. Last year I just let them grow as they wanted. No trimming or pruning. THis year I guess I should manage them. I started with 3 rhizomes last year. So this year, how should I proceed. Do I just let them go crazy or do I have to limit them? I have heard people say to trim away all but 2 or 3 vines from each rhizome. Is that what I should do?

Shoots will always come up in clusters. I break off all but 2 or 3 from each cluster, or enough for 2 or 3 per string available for them to climb. If you want more hops, put up more strings on your trellis, as high as you can. If climbing a fence or other broad structure, then you can just let them go crazy if you want.

I have always seen pictures of the hops growing vertically. I have run lines horizontally along a fence. Although I think it sounds ludicrous to even ask this, but do you think there is a difference. I thought it should not but I never seem to see anyone growing them horizontally like grapes.

I have seen hops grown on chainlink before. It works. Without something tall to climb they will grow just fine like a bramble. They climb up each other also. When like 8 or 10 bines get together, they can climb each other pretty high until a high wind comes along and blows them sideways.

Second year for me, too. Just yesterday, I saw some purple shoots coming up through the mulch. The Chinook is well on its way, the Cascade just starting to show. I grow up a six foot fence, then run back and forth horizontally. I’m sure I could get more by going higher, but I’m just going to take what I can get…

I use clotheslines in my backyard and the harvesting at eye level is easy, but I’m pretty sure I get less of a crop this way. Once they’re going you have to gently train them fairly regularly to go horizontal

Well, I woke up to snow this morning in New York and a weather report that stated it will feel like 23 degrees today, and it sure did! I checked my hops (some are about 5 inches long), and they look just fine. I thought the first hops shoots were likely to freeze. Are they fairly hardy?

I didn’t think they could handle 23 F, that’s awfully low. Wait another day or two and then let us know if they survived! They might shrivel up, I don’t know.

I use clotheslines in my backyard and the harvesting at eye level is easy, but I’m pretty sure I get less of a crop this way. Once they’re going you have to gently train them fairly regularly to go horizontal[/quote]

Good to know this is what I’m going to try this year. I’m not trying to get a high yield just want to say this is a beer I made with my own hops :mrgreen:

Dave, the hop shoots are still alive! I think what saved them was that the base temperature remained around 32 degrees and was 23 with the wind chill factor (I hate to even use those words at the end of April. It’s just not right!). Anyway, my hop garden is somewhat protected from the wind by a 3 foot rock wall, so I think they basked in the sun free of wind at 32 degrees. Hard to believe, but I even think they grew some this week. BTW, I noticed they can easily grow through 4-6" of compost, and they seem to grow more straight up covered this way instead of outward and flat along the ground like the ones that I didn’t cover so well. I’m thinking it will be easier for me to get them on the twine this way. Is this what others do?

That is a great idea. I remove most of the mulch in spring to give the young shoots more light but I am sure this is really unnecessary.

I am glad it only felt like 23F and did not actually get that low! My hops have seen temps as low as 27-28 F and they always do fine but if it got much colder I would worry a little. Still there are always smaller shoots that would easily take over later on anyway so worries are mostly over nothing.