Virus and Disease Free HopsBy
A little information on virus and disease free hops. Generally you do not need to worry about virus and disease free hops. If a hop rhizome or hop plant vendor sold a diseased product, how long do you think it would take in today’s connected world for word to get out? There is an actual disease free / virus free hops product out there, but they only come from the Pacific northwest – Oregon and Washington states – nowhere else at the present time to my knowledge. These VF (virus Free) plants are certified by Washington State University.
Hops, like any other plant are susceptible to viral, bacterial and fungal diseases as well as pests and nutritional (to the plant) deficiencies. Here is a list of hops diseases. If you chose to buy a virus free varietal, make sure it has documentation to back it up. Some unscrupulous vendors have been claiming their hop plants to be disease and virus free because they are created from cuttings as opposed to rhizomes – THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DISEASE FREE PLANTS. Below is an excerpt from an actual hop farmer who knows what he is talking about.
For those of you with questions regarding potted hops. We have noticed some people are selling potted hops as virus and disease free. They have claimed that the plant is virus and disease free because it comes from a cutting and not from a rhizome. That is not true. You see, the diseases that they are talking about are systemic. This means it is and will be all throughtout the plant or as stated in the dictionary: Systemic = “Relating to or affecting the entire body or an entire organism”. Always. So any new growth will have these diseases. Namely hop stunt viroid (HSV), powdery mildew, and vert wilt.
If the claim is that the cutting is virus and disease free then it has had to come from a plant that was certified virus free(VF). The only people in the country offering those, to my knowledge, is the Washington State University Hop clean program. And these have only been offered to individuals in the Pacific Northwest.
The other consideration is the fact that almost all of the propagated varieties come from the northwest. Many of them from the Oregon State, and Washington State Universities hop programs. I know the OSU Hop program has been developing varietals at least since the 1960’s. So i’m wondering. Where did these people get their plants from? Almost certainly from rhizome stock. And guaranteed from the northwest.
Buyer beware. Ask for proof of VF lineage.
In conclusion, don’t be fooled by individuals selling hops as “clean and virus free.” And certainly anything that is “certified” will have paperwork. Don’t be afraid to ask.