Evan Elford, New Crop Development Specialist, OMAF and MRA
Hop yard stringing and trellising is taking place across the province, with hops reaching 1.6m or more in some areas. In the Norfolk County area, established hops are at the principle growth stage 1, ‘Leaf Development’ (stage 19 with more than 9 pairs of leaves unfolded) and approximately 1.6 m high.
Let’s review a few basics for those who are about to string or are in the process of stringing their hop yard.
Stringing and Trellising
Tying the Knot:
To attach the coir twine to the top wire, a Lanyard Hitch knot, also known as a Cow Hitch knot, is commonly employed (Figure 1 and 2).
Figure 1: Loose version of a Lanyard Hitch/Cow Hitch knot. Figure 2: Lanyard Hitch/Cow Hitch knot tightened onto the wire.
Here is a link to an animated tutorial on tying a Lanyard Hitch: www.animatedknots.com/cow/. Do you use a different type of knot? If so, please share why in the comments below.
Securing the Coir Twine:
W clips (Figure 3) are used to secure the coir twine into the soil using a W clip tool (Figure 4 and 5). The coir is pinched in-between the two bottom points of the ‘W’ and the ‘arms’ will open up to resist against the soil, securing it in place (Figure 6). W clips and tools are available from suppliers in Ontario. These particular clips and tool were purchased from Oakland Shading Company in Scotland, Ontario. Some growers across Ontario have been very resourceful by making their own anchors for coir twine. If you have an anchor method you would like to share with other growers, please do so in the comments below.
Figure 3: W clips; Figure 4: W clip inserted into the W clip tool.
Figure 5: W clip tool; Figure 6: Inserting the W clip and twine into the soil with the W clip tool.
And in your ‘spare’ time, have a look at this YouTube video for some interesting footage of stringing a large hopyard (HOPSTV – Episode 10 – Stinging Hop Yard): http://youtu.be/EE7wi11M9DQ.
If you haven’t done so already, you may need to start irrigating your hops. Hops require approximately 700-800 mm of water during the growing season, however, there are two critical periods when hops require water for adequate growth and yield. The first critical period occurs in spring as hop plants begin to grow and the second critical period occurs just before flower initiation through to cone development.
Studies have shown that supplemental irrigation can improve yield and quality of hops and may positively effect alpha acid concentrations. Supplementing rainfall with irrigation to achieve approximately 25-35 mm of water twice per week during dry conditions should be adequate for crop growth in established hop yards. Some studies have reported irrigating a total water volume of 3-8 L of water per plant twice per week during dry periods. It should be noted that first year hop plantings typically require more frequent water applications but in lesser amounts.
Thank you to the University of Guelph for lending their W clip tool to develop this article.