How to Make and Maintain Trellises for Hops and Other Fast Growers on Trellises

All about the construction of trellises for hops.

hops cropfield
The hop plant can be used in various ways to benefit human care and health.

Hops are the flowers (or seed cones) of the hop plant. If you think you haven’t heard of this creeper or have never consumed it, think again. Have you ever heard beer being referred to as ‘hoppy?’ That is because the hop flower is used primarily as a flavoring and stability in beer. Moreover, the hop plant also finds its way into other products such as skin creams, lotions and soaps, and has also made a name for itself in the medical industry, being used in its dry form to quell anxiety, sleep disorders, and even some cancers. So, the basic point is that you have almost definitely come across hops in something you have consumed, but what should you do if you wish to explore this wonderful plant in your garden. Hops grow as a creeper, but it is the pace of its growth that can make it such a nightmare. They have been known to grow as much as 12 inches in one day, and 30 feet in a year, when uncontrolled. This is why it is absolutely essential to use some kind of support system such as trellises for hops.

Whether you are looking to brew your own beer using home grown hop flowers, or you just want to learn a bit more about maintaining fast moving creepers on trellises, this article will go into the details of setting up trellises for these difficult specimens and taking care of them in the future.

Specifications for Ideal Trellises for Hops.

hops used trellis net on vertical
The hops grows too much something that you could control with the help a good support system.

Because these creepers grow so quickly, the specifications for your trellises and how you plant the hops is absolutely essential. If you have seen hops in their early stages of life, do not be fooled by their small size. In the first few years, hops will look to ensure their future by developing an extensive roots network, and as such they may only be 3-4 feet high early on. However if you are building a trellis for ideal growth, you simply must focus on the future. Trellises for hops can be of any height as this hardy plant is very adaptable, but the ideal height is 18-20 feet.

Further to this point, it is essential that you correctly plant your hops. If you are landing on making fir for purpose trellises for hops that will cover more than 3 to 4 yards, you may want to plant multiple plants. Each hop plant should be separated for the next by about 5 feet of space either side, giving it room to grow horizontally and provide flowers. However, if your trellises are particularly large in height, you will be able to plant the hops slightly closer, and if the trellises are on the lower side, more space may be needed. This process is not a particularly difficult one, and for all the rules and difficulties associated with the hop plant, they are relatively durable and will generally handle themselves, so long as you give them plenty of space.

What about Some More Realistic Options?

hops crops using hortomallas support net
To grow hops it’s necessary to follow certain recommendations, since it is a plant that grows too much.

For most home gardeners, all this would no doubt seem a little overwhelming. But there is good news. Whilst there is no doubt that hops do need quite abundant trellises to grow on, there is nothing that says that these trellises must be custom built and installed. Any number of outdoor furnishings and fittings can act as trellises with enough imagination. I have heard some brilliant suggestions over the years such as using clotheslines, flagpoles or fences are wonderful ideas. Others have suggested using parts of your house as trellises for hops, but I am always mindful of attaching vegetation to my home.

There are some disadvantages to using existing furnishings around your property as trellises for hops that you should briefly consider before you launch into it. The first is that the particular furnishing will likely eventually be hampered in use. Also, depending on the shape of your trellis, it may be more difficult to quickly and easily cover with netting, such as poultry netting. Of course, there are the benefits too. You won’t have to invest in the wooden stakes, trellis netting and labor required to assemble trellises for hops and you can simply get to planting straight away.

Maintaining Hops on Trellises

If you are starting to feel overwhelmed by all the information being thrown at you about the construction of trellises for hops, then here is your reprieve – if trellises for hops are constructed well and the plant planted correctly, maintenance is relatively easy. The plant will grow up to the height of the trellis, and after that it will grow horizontally along the trellis. It is along the horizontal part that the hop flower, that is the usable part of the plant, will grow.

trellises for hops
The espalier net provides a resistant support so that the hops can grow properly.

One great benefit of using trellises for hops is that they are very adaptable to things being thrown over them. If you find yourself with a bird problem, the trellises will make for a good support to some poultry netting or alike being thrown over to ward off those flying predators. Moreover, if you live in a very hot area, an old sheet or some horticulture netting provides some great shade, and whilst normally too heavy for free standing plants, the trellises will support this added weight easily, simplifying the maintenance of your hops.

So whilst building trellises for hops and other fast moving creepers may seem complex and full of rules, so long as you give them height and space, they will do much of the hard work to take care of themselves without necessarily needing trellis netting to guide them, with many other constructions capable of being trellises. Hence you only have to work on the given suggestions and take care of your plants well to yield better crop.

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