2nd Year Hops Sprouts


    Here in Minnesota the general date for frost safe planting is May 15th.  I kept my hop plants buried under leaves to try and keep the ground cold and the hop crowns dormant as long as possible.  I checked on them today (April 8th) and the hop sprouts were pushing up the leaves so I had to un-bury them.  Hopefully they won’t freeze (down to 32 degrees last night).

    Cascade hop sprouts

    Cascade Sprouts

    These are second year hops so I am expecting a much better yield than last year (about 3 pounds between the 3 hop plants – a good first year harvest).  I guess we’ll see if they freeze or not.  Even if they do, there will be new shoots to replace them.  Second year hops with an established crown / root stock and stored energy from last year.

    Nugget Hop Sprouts

    Early Sprouts

    I am still contemplating a new hop trellis rigging.  If nothing else, I will go with 2 ropes per plant instead of the one rope per hop hill used last year.  That in itself should at least double my harvest.  The established hop plants will have plenty of energy to support 6 bines per plant (3 per rope).

    Magnum Hop Sprouts

    Magnum Hops

    The sprouts look albino and growing sideways from being weighed down and have not been exposed to sunlight yet.  I will also have to trim the rhizomes to keep the plants from spreading in all directions.  I will cut a circle with a shovel about 8 inch radius from the center of the plant and pull out the hop rhizomes on the outside of the circle.

    Categories : Second Year Hops


    1. Geo,
      Generally, the sunnier, the better. It is possible the soil is not as fertile as where the hops came from. You did not state when you moved them – before any shoots or bines were growing or after they started growing. Usually you want to move them before sprouts or bines appear. Like any plant, transplanting stresses them. They could still take off this year. Try some liquid Miracle-Gro in case of a fertility or trace mineral deficiency (see my posts on boron deficiency this year – my first hop challenge).

      Best of luck with your hops!

    2. Geo says:

      Hi, I live in upstate NY and have a few Cascade Hops I moved to a sunnier location this spring.
      Last year was their first year and they did better last year.

      Although they survived the transplant, they are not growing like their sisters that remained in their original location.
      I suspect with a little TLC they’ll be producing well next year.

      In response to Jan’s Q? about the old bines, I left the bines up from last year and as far as I can tell, it did not seem to be a problem, the new ones just grew over the old.

    3. Jan says:

      Thanks for your responce and help. So I need to get out there and cut it down to the ground about now.

      Hops is a host plant for the Eastern Comma butterfly. The butterfly will lay eggs on the plant, the eggs of course hatch and the caterpillars eat the hop leaves. They are beautiful butterflies and overwinter in the adult stage and you may see them in early spring on a warm day – over 65 degrees.

    4. Yes, you want to cut down the old hop bine growth. You can do this late fall through early spring. Cut them off at ground level.

      I never heard of hops attracting butterflies (at least the eastern Comma butterfly) – thanks for that bit of info.

    5. Jan says:

      Do I cut down last year’s growth in the spring? If so, how far
      down should I cut. I grow hops as a host plant for the eastern comma butterfly. They grow up a trellis and are now actually beautiful with the light stems catching the light.

      Thank you to anyone who can help.

    6. Sir Hops-a-lot,

      Q – can i safely move a rhizome location in year 2?
      – I would think you could though I have not done it myself. You might be surprised by the size of the root stock / crown! I would do it sooner than later. If anyone else that is reading this has experience moving hop plants after year one, chime in.

      Q – some shoots took off and are above ground… I fear more freezing, should I clip them and cover? or leave them?
      – Some people cut the first shoots every year – I don’t. I have had shoots survive below freezing temps unfazed ( Hop Sprouts Survive Freezing ). Worst case the shoots die and the plant will send up new ones – hops are hardy plants.

      Q – does the freezer preserve hops well?
      – To preserve hop freshness, you need to keep them out of light, freeze them and remove as much air as you can from the packaging. Vacuum sealed is best but not mandatory. I would not keep them more than a year unless vacuum sealed. Besides, you will have new hops this fall!

      I am not an expert but these generalities should hold true.

      PS – It friggen snowed 6 inches here today where I am in Minnesota. I am anxiously waiting for growing weather.

    7. Sir Hops-a-lot says:

      Planted 12 rhizomes last year…. all did better than expected their first year. A few questions for anyone who may know:

      * can i safely move a rhizome location in year 2?
      * there was a teaser week … warmer than usual and now cooling down… some shoots took off and are above ground… I fear more freezing, should I clip them and cover? or leave them?
      * does the freezer preserve hops well?

    8. Hop Mama,
      Glad I could help. That’s the whole purpose of this blog is to inspire and share the hop love and ideas. There are many ways to go about this and I want to share what works and what doesn’t (at least in my experiences). Hops are amazing to watch grow. The first year went great, this year should rock. I’ll post some pics soon as they are going CRAZY and it is not even May! 8 varieties, front and back yard – you are ambitious! Keep us posted on your experiences and I’ll do the same. Happy hoppin.

    9. Hop Mama says:

      GH, thanks so much for your posts. You’ve been a ton of help to me, as this is my first year growing hops. I am in Northern California, and have 8 varieties planted in my front and back yard. So far so good, and I’m excited to watch them grow. Thanks again, and let us know how your second year works out!

    10. Mel the Mailman says:

      I am also planting rhizomes this year in North Dakota, and since our nights are still quite cold I have them all inside in small but deep pots. The rhizomes are from petersburgh farms in OR and two of the varieties came with small buds already. The Williamette rhizomes looked like yours, wiscobiscuit with no visible growth. They looked questionable but I planted them anyway, kind of at an angle in the pot and they were the second to show visible sprouts. Of the five pots in my living room, only one has yet to show sprouts.

    11. As of yesterday a few shoots were already at 2 feet tall. This is going to be a productive second year.

    12. Wiscobiscuit,
      No little white buds on the rhizome? I would plant the rhizome lengthwise so looking down at it, it would appear to be straight, would not see the V. Hopefully it is not a dead rhizome – sometimes happens. Stick it in the ground and see what happens. If it is alive, it will grow. I don’t know how effective collaring would be for hops. Try it and see what happens, I am curious if it would work or slow down the spread. I just cut a circle around the crown with a shovel (about 18 inch diameter) and pull up any hop rhizomes on the outside of the circle – pretty easy to contain.

      I am not worried about losing the hop plants to frost, just the sprouts – there will be more (27 degrees did not kill the sprouts). They are starting to show color and not be albino like now that I uncovered them. I have friends who lost first year hops to freezing – killed the sprouts and the rhizome (warning to anyone planting rhizomes – protect them from freezing).

    13. wiscobiscuit says:

      Here in WI zone 5a my friend has primary shoots and leaves on his established plant–YAY!–and i have a couple Willamette rhizomes for my first foray into hops. But while one root has shoots and is easy to figure out, the other one is V-shaped, woody, has NO growth yet, and I have no idea which end is up. Any thoughts how to plant? Can I just split the difference and lay it in the ground?

      Also, can/should I collar the rhizome in the ground to control spread? I planted some mint using the top half of an ice cream bucket–the roots don’t seem to like to grow down–and i seem to have had success with that.

      And fwiw, I’ve never completely lost any perennial to spring frost. Plants, and especially naturalized girls like these, know when it’s safe to come out or they would’ve been surprised into extinction long ago. So take heart, but mulch anyway 😉

    14. Jay,
      It seamed way too ambitious for personal use – 25 x 75 foot hop garden. The drip irrigation will save you a ton of time – great idea. My kids are grown but I remember – it’s a full time job keeping an eye on them. I look forward to your progress – keep me posted and feel free to send any pics you wish to share. Wishing you success in your new venture. Most importantly – KEEP THE WIFE HAPPY!

    15. Jay says:

      GH, the container idea sounds pretty good. i’m debating keeping last years separate as the rhizomes i ordered this year are certified organic. the hope is to be selling them locally within a few years as we have a farm here in ontario. needless to say, this assumes we can continue finding the time for these projects. our kids are 3 and 2 yrs, so it’s a busy time. i will definitely be installing a drip irrigation system on a timer this year as i need to make them fairly self-sufficient (to keep the wife happy)…http://www.crannogales.com/ …is where my vision starts. they grow enough hops to supply their microbrewery, but then sell rhizomes and many other market garden type products….harvest will not be a problem as i can think of at least 3 or 4 guys that will be happy to help out as long as the homebrew is waiting for them at the end of the day 😉 I do need to build a good size kiln to dry them though. i think i will worry about that next year. cheers, jay

    16. Jay,
      Good to hear from you. I may try some container hops this year and see how that goes. The day of the 2nd year hops sprouts post, that night it got down to 27 degrees F. The sprouts look ok but we’ll see in a couple of days. Good chance I will also cut back these early sprouts – just too many days it can freeze here in Minnesota until it is frost free (early to mid May for my hardiness zone which is zone 4). Towards the end of April I will checkout a 10 day forecast and if that looks ok, I will let the Bines go (6 bines per plant, 3 bines per rope – 3 bines per rope worked well last year).

      Over ambitious might be an understatement! Holy crap dude, I hope you have help when it comes to harvest time. Working on your own microbrewery? Planning on selling some hops? If not, you will be able to supply a bunch of homebrewers with hops and you might be set for life on beers and ales (in return for the hops).

      Best of luck this year and keep me posted. Hop on!

    17. Jay says:

      hey growing hops!
      nice to see you’re off to a great start. we are expecting some below zero nightime temps here in ontario still, so i’ve kept the 2nd year rhizomes in the root cellar all winter and they look ready to go. the nugget has sent up a shoot over 1 foot in the large bucket already. i plan to trim these first shoots back and hopefully stall the real growth until later in april. as per my usual “all or nothing” mentality, my rhizome order should be here any time. on top of the 8 rhizomes I have from last year, i have about 55 on their way from British Columbia. I am focusing on Fuggles, Goldings, Nugget, and Centennial, but will plant a few Chinook Mt. Hood and Zeus as well. i have a 25 x 75′ area prepared with 5 rows and have staked every 6 feet for a hill. i will keep you updated as to the success of my over-ambitiousness.

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