Are your hops already skyrocketing out of the ground? Ours are! While it might seem that there isn’t much to do until the hops are ready for training, it is important to be vigilant in fighting disease.
This week we plan to spray Champ WG copper-based fungicide on our yard as a preventative measure against downy mildew. The disease is now capable of releasing zoospores, which leave from infected tissue and spread to other shoots and plants. Since the plants are small, it is easy to cover the whole plant, reducing the amount of downy mildew spores that are spread, and making life much easier later in the season.
Many fungicides labeled for hops will have an early-season application recommendation. Check your label for that information.
While most nitrogen uptake will happen in June, July, and August, it is still important to supply some early N to your hops so that they can have fertility there when they need it. This week we will apply enough fertilizer to deliver 50lbs of nitrogen per acre. We recommend supplying 75lbs/acre of nitrogen to first-year hops over the course of the season and 150lbs/acre for all subsequent years.
For more detailed guidance on hop fertility, read this great paper from Oregon State on hop nutrient needs: OSU Hop Fertility