Experienced hop growers will be the first to tell you that a regular weekly schedule of checking your hopyard for problems can save big headaches, time, and cold hard cash. Being a good grower isn't about who has the biggest pesticide budget! Catching problems like pest and fungal outbreaks early is critical to controlling them successfully; with minimal treatments - before the damage is done. Proper scouting includes a close examination of the entire hopyard's environment (including the surrounding fenceline perimeter's).
(This pest is capable of defoliating entire plants in less than a week)
For quick knockdown of a Japanese beetle /Potato leafhopper outbreak for growers with RUP certification - check out Brigade 2ec or Leverage 360/2.7. Both are labelled for hops.
TO DO LIST
If this sounds like too much work; please do consider hiring a professional crop scout. They know what to look for and when to look for it. Their services are relatively inexpensive and their advice - priceless.
Properly done scouting and recording what you see in detail lets you identify patterns and conditions that affect the hop's growth and what conditions trigger disease and pest outbreaks. I recommend making a check-off form you use weekly during the growing season that covers all the above items so you don't miss anything. This will not only make you a better grower- it will make you a PROACTIVE grower. (I like to call them Jedi-growers because they always seem to know what is going to happen before it does.) Proactive growers can make minimal, targeted sprays; anticipating disease and pest cycles. They consistantly adjust - fertilizer, irrigation schedules, cultivation; like a steady clock. They also always seem relatively cheerful and un-stressed. (nice side-effect that both wives and partners seem to appreciate!)
Scouting is something I do habitually 24/7 - I'm looking when I'm watering - I'm looking when I'm weeding- Heck, I'm looking when I walk the dog!
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.