It’s been awhile since I last posted on this forum and in fact my previous name (hopstoopid) is currently disabled and pending reactivation from an administrator. Whenever that happens I will been posting on this topic under that name. So here’s the dealio. I have NEVER had such a horrible time trying to grow hops! I should mention before anyone reads too far into this that I’ve completely given up on any sort of harvest for the year and have cut all of my vines in the hopes that the rhizomes will kick out new growth and hopefully continue to develop their roots for next year.
I previously lived on the coast of Humboldt County and simply put the damn rhizomes in the ground and watched them take over my front yard and vegetable garden. I moved from Humboldt to Boise, ID and took a single Willamette rhizome (from my Humboldt hops) with me. The rhizome took off and then started dying from the base up with leaves turning yellow, never producing. I later discovered this was most likely due to a nitrogen deficiency.
From Boise I relocated to San Francisco and brought with me my previously nitrogen deficient rhizome. I amended the soil as spring came, bought two cascade and two chinook rhizomes and kicked back hoping for an excellent first year harvest in San Francisco. The Willamette took off and had large leafy growth. As three dominant vines began to stand out, I trimmed back the rest. As the Willamette vines got to be about 4ft tall, growth stopped all together and the tips of the vines died. At first I thought this was due to the climate. It was pretty damn windy throughout May and June and I figured that the weather had stunted growth. However, my neighbors hops were unstoppable cone producing monsters close to 15ft tall and vibrant! The leaves on the Willamette began to die one at a time and I unfortunately did not photo document what they looked like before I cut all growth 2 weeks ago. What I can say is that the die off was not at all like last years where they were turning yellow. They kind of just browned and yellowed in irregular locations and began dying from the top down.
The Chinook and Cascade rhizomes I purchased sucked and I’m amazed that anything grew at all. I ordered from some farm in Idaho and had them shipped to CA. Both varieties SLOWLY began to grow and never developed any sort of large foliage. In fact, all of the leaves are less than 1" in diameter. This did not happen at all with ANY rhizomes that I have previously planted and is entirely new to me. Perhaps the weather?? But again, my neighbors hops are crushing it. The tips died first, the leaves began to brown around the edges and drop, and growth has stopped on all but one Cascade plant. What I am starting to think now, is that the rhizomes I ordered from Idaho had some sort of virus or disease that infected my Willamette. I was up visiting my former roommates in Humboldt in May and snipped a rhizome from the original Willamette and brought it down to SF. The tip of it died, the leaves began to die just like all of my other plants.
I’ve been doing a far bit of reading on this and so far I can’t identify what disease this may be or how to remedy the situation. I have chopped all of my vines (except for the one first year cascade that seems to be surviving). Any suggestions as to what may have infected my vines from experienced growers would be much appreciated.
Chinook (recently watered)
Top of Willamette (rhizome taken from original Humbolt plant when visiting in May)
Body and leaves of Willamette (rhizome taken from original Humbolt plant when visiting in May)
Cascade foliage on the only plant that is still growing. This guy I’m pretty sure has a bug problem.
Found these guys nibbling away away on the cascade and killed like 8 of them