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I have done some reading on this and there are loads of different opinions, what is the best thing to make sure plants survive through the cold winter,

I was thinking about cutting them back and putting some mulch on them to keep them a bit protected from frosts,

anyone else know of any hop strategies to make sure our little green friends survive the winter chills?

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I would not have thought that our climate is harsh enough to have much effect on the hop? From what I have seen of the hop fields in Nelson they just cut the vines off and leave them... Not quite as frosty up there, but still I would think most hop plants are really quite hardy and would not need much in the way of winter care? If they were sitting under snow for winter it might be different.

Putting some mulch across the top is probably good idea from a feeding the plant point of view. Cant hurt!

Yup, mulch over the top is generally recommended.

Hops also like to get a good frost, helps them know where they are in the season or something like that.

A pro told me that it is best to let the plant die back if you harvest by hand, then cut off when it is all dead.

I've also read that the rhizomes need to experience cold so they start to grow when it starts to warm up, so you don't want to protect the roots from frost at all.

I rang NZ Hops last year and asked about dividing the rhisome, whether I needed to paint the ends/dip in hormone rooting powder/cut with secateurs or saw. The answer I got was:

"nah just take to them with the spade, they're a weed and you can't kill them".

I've cut mine back to just above ground level now and will dig up in June/July and seperate into pieces each with a riser on them. And no, sorry, no spare pieces, they're all spoken for :-)

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