It’s almost time for the first cut of our 42 acres of aroma hops.
We trim back the bines every March. It’s good for the health of the bines and it prevents uneven growth.
Hops are susceptible to mildew and fungal diseases, which are most likely to start in early spring because that’s when we get the most rain during growing season. The first cut removes diseased leaves and spores. As the the bines and leaves grow back, the weather turns drier and the crop is more likely to be disease free.
We also want to give the bines a “fresh start” so they grow and ripen at the same rate. I’s important that the all the hops are ready for harvest at about the same time. The harvest is usually spread out over a two or three week period in August and September. That gives us enough time to process one variety while the other varieties finish ripening. But what we don’t want is a situation where half the Revolution hops are ready for harvest, but the rest won’t be ready for another week. That’s a hop growers nightmare.
And so, the first cut is almost as big of a deal as the second cut, aka the harvest.