Pyganic insecticide is a very short-lived contact insecticide that is approved for organic use and is OMRI certified.
It contains natural pyrethrins derived from chrysanthemum plants and can be sprayed right up to the day of harvest. PyGanic is very useful for quick knock-down of pests such as Japanese beetle adults, mites, aphids, and leafhoppers.
It breaks down very quickly when exposed to sunlight. Avoid spraying when bees / pollenators are actively foraging.
Hops are not specifically listed on the label. However -"may be used on most crops because its active ingredient is exempt from tolerances when applied to growing crops". Hops fall under the category of Outdoor Grown Crops.
Note that PyGanic is a non-selective insectide and will kill beneficials and predator insects as well as the target pest.
I would recommended to reserve its use for knockdown when pest levels go out of control. As with all pesticides; read the label carefully before use.
Japanese beetles are proving to be a formidable foe in hop yards located in the Great Lakes region. The beetles can cause significant damage to hop foliage and bines in a very short period of time if left uncontrolled. Two beetles can strip a large hop leaf in a single day and when their numbers reach the thousands, the beetles can strip a hop yard in just a few days. Organic hop growers find controlling them especially frustrating because they cannot apply the synthetic chemicals commonly utilized.
Here are some control strategies for all hop growers – organic and non-organic.
First concept: Beetles attract more beetles.
I do not consider Japanese beetles to be a threshold control type pest where the decision to spray is based on tolerating a certain level of pests before treatment or spraying is done. Female beetles excrete pheromones to attract males and mating is a gregarious affair – a “beetle orgy” for lack of a better term. Beetles fly into the wind and follow the pheromone trail to the plants and leaves where feeding and mating occur. Females apparently leave pheromones on the leaves; as I note that beetles arrive and continue to congregate on the same leaves – even if the original beetles are removed. However, a good hard rainfall seems to wash away this residual pheromone trail.
It is well known that hanging pheromone traps can attract large number of both male and female beetle from great distances. A population of mating beetles will grow exponentially as congregating beetles emit stronger pheromone trails for newcomers to follow to the orgy – just like a pheromone trap. Allowing the beetles to establish a population in a hop yard is exactly like hanging pheromone traps in the middle of your hop yard.
Creating the optimal hop yard that produces maximum yields with minimal infrastructure, labor, and inputs is critical to long term success & profitability of a hop yard. Hopefully the following discussion can help improve understanding of how to achieve the optimally yielding hop yard for those just starting.
Choosing the right Trellis design begins with and ends with an understanding of the hop plant itself. It is very important to understand how hops grow, what makes them produce optimal yields, and what the differences are between varieties and genotypes.
Some thoughts to immediately discard:
Grower notes: Seeing heat-stress symptoms in some hop yards.
The older lower leaves yellow and fall off without any obvious signs of pests or disease. This is more common in years with a wet spring followed by a hot & dry June/July. The side arms are short but usually loaded with burrs in reaction to the stress. The hop plant is attempting to "re-balance" its transpiration losses through the foliage versus what the root system can supply. (The wet spring reduced the root mass.) To help the plants adjust and keep cone development on track, apply a top dressing of a guano or organic manure (we use Naturesafe Stressguard for this) and keep adequate water supplied. (and pray for rain:) )
Hops - Bottom Leaves Turning Yellow
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A male hop plant. Very rare in the wild. Stressed females can show signs of male anatomy but will be sterile and will not self pollinate. If you locate a male plant that shows no signs of female anatomy, you should eliminate it immediately as it will pollinate all the female plants in the area.
Most feral male plants are unknown type because they do not produce cones that can be tested. Hop breeders will use USDA registered males with a known pedigree (like increased resistance to mildews) to breed new varieties. Some triploid hops like Zeus and Columbus have an odd 3 sets of chromosomes (usually 2 male/1 female) which can revert temporarily to male flower production if severely stressed. The male pictured here is USDA19058M (boys are assigned numbers, while the girls get names). It is a registered high-alpha type male.
The Two Spotted Spider Mite in the Northeast Hopyard
The two spotted spider mite (TSSM) Tetranychus urticae Koch is a common pest of many crops and ornamentals. Hop
growers, landscapers, arborists, and vegetable and fruit growers are familiar with these small 8 -legged creatures that
are more closely related to spiders than insects. They can be a major cause of ...
Grower Notes: Low levels of spidermites are being reported by several growers. So far the cool wet weather has kept them in check - watch out if the weather goes hot & dry!
Also, powdery mildew has been seen on weeds around the hop yards; so conditions are right for it to form - scout the lower leaves for visual symptoms. Many varieties of hops are entering the burr stage and burrs infect easily during wet humid weather. An effective protectant fungicide for burr stage is Quintec. Apply it as a preventative if the wet weather continues during cone formation and you have seen foliar symptoms.
The crop in Northern Michigan appears to be running about two weeks behind the Southern Michigan hop yards - so adjust accordingly.
Lynn, the head hop grower at Great Lakes Hops has over 30 years of experience in the horticultural field. Browse the blog articles here to find useful growing information for humulus lupulus, based on personal experience and observations at Great Lakes Hops.