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Proper time to remove bottom foliage?

2nd year bines are approaching 10’ tall. When is the right time to remove the bottom 2 to 3’ of leaves to promote air circulation? They are not making horizontal branches or burrs/buds yet.

The sooner the better. The whole idea behind it is to promote airflow down in the crown area to help it dry out. Residual moisture on foliage in that area helps to promote disease formation and allows it to spread very easily. Most of the time I’ll strip the lowest 3-4 sets of leaves when training because if you wait too long, the laterals associated with those lower leaves will start forming and before you know it, you end up with a mess down there. If you allow a bunch of foliage to accumulate near the base of the crown, and if a disease (downy mildew) was present, by the time you get to thinning you may have a serious problem on your hands. Better to be safe than sorry and try to minimize things you have some control over.


I should probably remove some of mine this weekend. Hope it is not too late

I pulled “sucker” shoots early on as my main bines grew tall. Now I let things alone, I figure at this point the leaves will help feed the plant.

I generally cut my bottom leaves in increments. When they hit 5 feet tall, I cut off the bottom foot of leaves. At seven feet, I take off another foot. When they hit ten feet tall, I take off the last three feet and leave them alone after that except for additional sprouts that tend to pop up.

I just removed the bottom 2-3’ this morning. The bottom leaves on several plants were yellowing and wilting, so I hope I caught this in time.

Why is growing your own hops such a time consuming, worrysome and cost ineffective pain in the arse, yet we still do it? Because it’s awesome brewing beer with stuff from your backyard!


Good question and answer. I spent two hours in 94 degree weather doing this and it is hard on the back and knees. I waited too long to do it because they were very thick at the bottom and it took quite a while. Even my first year plants are growing like crazy. My wife is likely to kick me out of the garden soon.

I feel your pain my friend… I feel your pain…

Our kitchen window faces my backyard where my hop trellis is, and my better half gets endless amusement out of watching me speculating for bugs, squeezing my cones to determine if they’re ready for harvest, dumping my brewing grains in the hop bed for mulch… yada yada, you know the routine…

Just thankful she is amused by it, and not pissed off by my shenanigans (unless I commit the travesty of doing anything brew related on our “day together” once a week)… Good women are hard to find, and I am lucky to have one. I am also fortunate enough to have a woman who has an unsoiled alcohol nose and taste buds because she doesn’t drink very often. I trust her implicitly to take a sniff or taste of my beer and tell me what it actually tastes or smells like. She is always spot on with master judges, even though she doesn’t like beer all that much. It’s quite interesting!

Wow, removing the lower leaves game me a whole new world of new shoots coming out of the soil to deal with. Anyone else ever have that issue?


I had 2-3 per week from each plant before. Now I am looking at 8-10 each

Yes sir. They’re almost hard to keep up with!

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