Cover Cropping in Vineyards
Life Cycle of Cover Crops
Cover crops are usually classified by temporal occurrence, divided into annuals that last up to 1 year or perennials that last at least 3 years. Annual cover crops can be categorized into two main classes: 1) crops that are adapted to cool, short days (winter cover crops such as hairy vetch) and 2) those that are adapted to hot, long days (summer cover crops such as cowpea). Growers must select the right species for their particular situation. Appendix L, Cover Crops for Vineyards, provide a brief description of some of the more commonly used cover crops.
Annual Cover Crops
Annual cover crops are chosen for multiple reasons in vineyards. One reason to grow annual cover crops rather than perennial cover crops is to provide seasonal soil conservation in the winter months followed by removing the cover crop by tillage in the spring or the dry season (summer).
Perennial Cover Crops
Perennial species are most commonly used in vineyards planted on deep, fertile soils where overly vigorous vines are a problem. Perennial cover crops may be more competitive with the vines, particularly in newly planted vineyards or in shallow or less fertile soils and will have a devigorating effect on the vineyard.
Biennial Cover Crops
Biennial cover crops grow for two seasons, but donít actually bloom until the second year. They can be a bit trickier to grow, because they need care over the winter between their first and second growing season.
Click on the following topics for more information on cover cropping in vineyards.
Topics Within This Chapter:
- Introduction to Cover Cropping in Vineyards
- Benefits and Drawbacks of Cover Crops
- Life Cycle of Cover Crops
- Types of Cover Crops
- Cover Cropping Systems
- Criteria for Selecting Cover Crop Species
- Establishing and Managing Cover Crops
- Suppression or Control of Cover Crops
- Cover Cropping in Vineyards References