Chapter 16

Vineyard Nutrient Management

(book excerpts)

Nutrition remains an important part of managing a vineyard since it impacts on vine growth, crop yield, berry composition and ultimately, must and wine quality. A “one program fits all” approach is not achievable since nutritional requirements must tailor to a range of variables including grape variety, rootstock, vine age, soil type and properties, water and irrigation supply, production and wine quality expectations, and management history. In order to develop a suitable nutrition program on an individual block basis, growers need to approach nutrition in a holistic manner using the latest technology and suitable fertilizer products, with a focus on improving or maintaining soil health so vines can access the majority of their nutrient requirements. The nutrients in the soil and vines must be monitored on a continual basis and maintained for optimal efficiency. Since this is a constantly changing situation, it is best to set up a regular program of soil and tissue (e.g., petiole or leaf blade) sampling and analysis to avoid mineral deficiencies and unnecessary application of fertilizers. The interpretation from the analysis of the tissue and soil samples should always be used together with visual observations made in the vineyard. Although the mineral elements are needed in different quantities, each one plays an essential role in completing the vine’s life cycle. Macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and magnesium are used in relatively large quantities by vines. Micronutrients such as boron, iron, manganese, zinc, and molybdenum, although no less essential, are needed in very small quantities. When one or more of these elements is deficient, vines may exhibit reduced growth or yield and greater susceptibility to diseases and winter injury. This may also result in other problems such as fruit with a low or high pH, poor color, low phenolics, stuck fermentations, and undesirable flavors. The availability of essential nutrients is, therefore, critical for optimum vine performance and profitable wine grape production.

Click on the following topics for more information on vineyard nutrient management.

Topics Within This Chapter:

  • Visual Observations
  • Soil Analysis
  • Pre-Vine Soil Analysis of Vineyard Site
  • Sampling Soil from Established Vineyards
  • Soil pH
  • Soil Texture Effects on Nutrient Availability
  • Nutrient Mobility in Soils
  • Tissue Analysis
  • Time of Sampling
  • Seasonal Variations in Nutrients
  • Leaf Blade versus Petiole Sampling
  • Site Selection
  • Tissue Selection
  • Bloom
  • Veraizon
  • Handling Samples
  • Interpreting the Analyses
  • Record Keeping
  • Essential Plant Nutrients
  • Factors Impacting Plant-Nutrient Availability
  • Climate Change and What it Means to for Grapevine Nutrition
  • Fertilizer Antagonisms
  • Nitrogen
  • Role and Deficiency Symptoms
  • Assessing the Need for Nitrogen Fertilizer
  • Time of Application
  • Application Methods
  • Soil Factors Affecting Availability
  • Nitrogen Toxicity
  • Phosphorus
  • Role and Deficiency Symptoms
  • Assessing the Need for Phosphorus Fertilizer
  • Time of Application
  • Application Methods
  • Soil Factors Affecting Availability
  • Phosphorus Toxicity
  • Potassium
  • Role and Deficiency Symptoms
  • Assessing the Need for Potassium Fertilizer
  • Time of Application
  • Application Methods
  • Soil Factors Affecting Availability
  • Potassium Toxicity
  • Magnesium
  • Role and Deficiency Symptoms
  • Assessing the Need for Magnesium Fertilizer
  • Time of Application
  • Application Methods
  • Soil Factors Affecting Availability
  • Potassium Toxicity
  • Zinc
  • Role and Deficiency Symptoms
  • Assessing the Need for Zinc Fertilizer
  • Time of Application
  • Application Methods
  • Soil Factors Affecting Availability
  • Zinc Toxicity
  • Boron
  • Role and Deficiency Symptoms
  • Assessing the Need for Boron Fertilizer
  • Time of Application
  • Application Methods
  • Soil Factors Affecting Availability
  • Boron Toxicity
  • Manganese
  • Role and Deficiency Symptoms
  • Assessing the Need for Manganese Fertilizer
  • Time of Application
  • Application Methods
  • Soil Factors Affecting Availability
  • Manganese Toxicity
  • Molybdenum Toxicity
  • Iron
  • Role and Deficiency Symptoms
  • Assessing the Need for Iron Fertilizer
  • Time of Application
  • Application Methods
  • Soil Factors Affecting Availability
  • Iron Toxicity
  • Molybdenum
  • Role and Deficiency Symptoms
  • Assessing the Need for Molybdenum Fertilizer
  • Time of Application
  • Application Methods
  • Soil Factors Affecting Availability
  • Selected References