Fungus-free hops for better beer: Gardening basics

If you're growing hops to brew your own beer, you may notice silvery or pale green, brittle spikes rising from the crown of the plant or brown spots on the leaves this spring.

"Hop plants have problems with downy mildew, a fungus that attacks plants primarily in April and May," said Shaun Townsend, the hops breeder for Oregon State University.

But don't worry, he added, just cut back the bines (some erroneously call them vines) to the soil with a knife. The plants will start new bines, which will grow quite rapidly. Though wet, foggy weather encourages downy mildew, pruning helps keep the fungus at bay.

Read more in the Oregonian »