In the Spring of 2011 we added another three acres of hops, this time it was on a low-trellis system, similar to a vineyard, but taller at 10'. With this hopyard we will be working with a semi-dwarf varieties.
Our farm is the first commercial short-trellis hopyard in Michigan, and like our other hops, 100% certified organic. We were very privileged to have secured the rights to Summit™ and will adding more short-trellis acreage and more varieties as the trial goes on.
Again, with this hopyard all runs are North and South. Spacing in this hopyard is only 10' wide. It's a pretty fit, but because of the height, shading of the rows will not be an issue. Keep in mind that your equipment needs will change with a short-trellis. Different sprayers, mowers widths, etc.
The property has a slight slope running East towards Grand Traverse Bay.
This really is a great site for hops. It is on a ridge that enjoys full sun, is well drained, and has a sandy loam soil. It has a steady breeze most of the year.
Because we used locally sourced Black Locust poles, we were able to space our poles 30' apart. With Black Locust poles you will not see the ground and water contamination associated with treated poles.
We clean tilled the hopyard to free it of weeds, but we are in the process of establishing a cover crop. We will be using a combination of cover crop trials including clover and trefoil among others. You want your yard as free of weeds as possible without dusty conditions that can lead to spider mite outbreaks.
Black Locust poles are also one of the most rot-resistant trees in North America and are very heavy. If you can find them, they make perfect hopyard poles especially for organic applications. As you can tell, they are not the straightest trees around but they certainly will add character to your hopyard.