Hop, being a vine, needs an aid for climbing. On the stem of the hops plants are “rough hairs” (Better description: armour) located which makes it possible for hop to climb up at everything that is within reach.
A rope or wire is sufficient as a climbing aid. It should be stable enough that it carries the weight of the plant over a vegetation period. Of course wind and rain have to be taken into account.
At the end of the growing season, when the above-ground shoots die off, it is almost impossible to remove the cord or wire. Therefore it is helpful to dry the whole shoot. Only when the shoots are very dry and breakable, the wire can be removed.
A fence, as beautiful during the growing season, poses the problem of how to remove the unsightly shoots in autumn. As an alternative it is possible to leave the old shoots as they are, however this will look unkept and unattractive during the winter months. More important, the dead wood poses a good place for pests and diseases, including spider mites and spores, to survive winter. If you had problems with spider mites or fungal diseases during the previous vegetation period, removing the old wood would be one of the most important and effective hygiene measures and would save a lot of trouble in the coming growing season.
Suitable climbing aids:
wooden poles
metal bars
Wooden fences (wooden stakes)
The height of the climbing aid depends on the hops variety. Our variety ‘Gimmli'; is a dwarf version and needs approximately 1,5-2,5m. All other varieties should have at least 3m climbing possibility!
The growth performance of hops also depends on how many shoots a plant has to supply. The fewer shoots are left on the plant, the stronger the remaing shoot will grow. Are there just 3 shoots left on an adult plant it can reach a height of up to 10m if good care is provided.