Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Green Shoots!

No it's not the green shoots in the economy that everybody was talking about a couple of months ago--it's still Hops Week here at Noble Square Brewing, and we are talking about new green shoots on my Saaz hops as you can see in the photo above.

For those of you that follow this blog (we're up to 14 now--15 if you count Señor Brew™ himself), you might remember that I had a little spider mite infestation. Well, I sprayed insecticide twice, and the hops that weren't already terminally ill rebounded and started new growth. You can see the bright green leaves against the background of brown half dead leaves. Now granted, it is way too late in the season for me to expect any hop flower growth--the flowers (or cones, in hop vernacular) being where the bittering and flavoring agents come from, but still, it is nice to see a rebound, and with this late leaf growth I can only assume that the roots are growing as well, which means more hardy plants for next year.

Curious about what a spider mite infestation looks like? I took some photos. This one shows what the early stage looks like. At this stage it's easy to confuse it for other conditions, such as a lack of water or nutrients. The telltale sign of spider mites is a spidery silk web on the underside of the leaves, which unfortunately I didn't get a photo of. The mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye, but the damage they cause and the webbing they leave is highly visible.

This photo shows an advanced stage of spider mite damage. If you haven't already sprayed for mites, and your hop leaves look like this, consider your hops harvest a lost cause by now. However, as I mentioned earlier, it might still be a good idea to spray, to get some late growth. In my case, I'm hoping the late growth leads to stronger plants next year.

This photo shows the ultimate stage of a spider mite infestation. The mites will literally suck your hops dry, leaving a dry, desicated ruin of your hops. Let this be a warning to all the home hop growers out there--if you notice any evidence of spider mites, be sure to spray an insecticide that has been proven effective against them. For those hop growers that want to stay organic, I have read that keeping your hop leaves moist will cut down on the damage that spider mites can do. Of course, moist hop plants can lead to powdery mildew, which is a whole 'nother problem for hop growers.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with the regrowth. Glad to see the new green shoots poking through.