Nitrogen dynamics of chopped hop bines - effect of leaf:stem ratio

Due to high nitrate loads in ground water, the German government tightened up legal regulations addressing the application of green manure crops during the last years. Among others, the current practice of putting back chopped hop bines to hop gardens after harvest was banned. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the nitrogen dynamics of chopped hop bines and their contribution to nitrate leaching. Indeed, pot trials revealed a fertilization effect of chopped hop bines, but in incubation experiments, no increase of mineral nitrogen was found. This might be due to the heterogeneity of hop bines, which consist of N rich, “green” parts (leaves, small branches) as well as the “woody” main stem. To test this hypothesis a pot trial with Italian ryegrass and an incubation experiment were conducted using “green” and “woody” hop material at various ratios. Therefore, entire hop bines were cut off and after removal of the cones divided into leaves, petioles, residues of cones and small side shoots (“green”) as well as into the lignified parts of the stem (“woody”). The two fractions were applied to an arable soil with ratios of 100:0, 70:30, 50:50, 30:70, 10:90 and 0:100 on a mass base, respectively. N uptake of ryegrass as well as net mineralization in unplanted Mitscherlich vessels were measured. Results confirmed the hypothesis: N uptake by plants was significantly higher than net mineralization in unplanted pots. For the woody material a nitrogen immobilization potential of about 4 to 5 g kg‑1 dry matter was found, whereas for green material a mineral fertilizer equivalent of 18% was calculated. Overall, the results indicate that application of chopped hop bines is not part of the nitrate problem but might be - in combination with catch crops - a good strategy to preserve the bounded nitrogen available for the next growing season.

Beiträge zu wissenschaftlicher Konferenz/Tagung
Nitrogen dynamics of chopped hop bines - effect of leaf:stem ratio
Acta Hort.
Dr. Dieter Lohr , Johannes Görl , Prof. Dr. Elke Meinken
Lohr, Dieter; Görl, Johannes; Meinken, Elke (2021): Nitrogen dynamics of chopped hop bines - effect of leaf:stem ratio. Acta Hort. 1328, S. 127-134. DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1328.18