We invite you to follow us this year as we attempt to induce various nutrient deficiencies in hops. Currently, resources for identifying nutrient deficiency in hops are fairly limited and the resources that are available typically have poor quality photos and possible confounding symptoms such as pest issues. This project will help to develop a photo database and resource for Ontario hop growers to better diagnose nutrient deficiency symptoms in the field and understand how to tell them apart from pest symptoms.
Although it can be difficult to induce nutrient deficiencies in plants, we hope to get a few symptoms to show up this year and carry the project forward with the same plants next year. Over time we expect most of the plants will exhibit some degree of deficiency for each specific nutrient.
What have we done so far?
In mid-April we purchased hop starts (new plants in 2016) of two different cultivars – Cascade and Willamette. We chose these cultivars because they are fast growing (therefore hopefully showing nutrient deficiencies more quickly in the foliage) and because they are two common cultivars grown by Ontario hop growers. Plant roots were washed to remove any residual potting mix and then potted in silica sand and watered with distilled water.
On April 29 we started the plants on their specifically selected nutrient solutions. Eight different nutrient solutions were selected and mixed for the demo:
- Complete nutrient solution (control with no nutrient deficiency)
- -N (soln without nitrogen)
- -P (soln without phosphorus)
- -K (soln without potassium)
- -Mg (soln without magnesium)
- -Ca (soln without calcium)
- -Fe (soln without iron)
- -B (soln without boron)
Make sure to follow the project over the 2016 growing season. We will be providing updates here on the ONSpecialtyCrops Blog with the tag line #HopNutrientDemo.