Chapter 19

Management of Vineyard Soils

(book excerpts)

Healthy soil is literally the foundation of sound vineyard management. Soil provides not only mechanical support for the vines, but more importantly, the soil supplies water and nutrients that influence the vigor of the vine, the balance between vegetative growth and fruit, the yield of grape berries, and berry quality. A number of pests and diseases of grapevines, such as nematodes, phylloxera, and the spores of the downy mildew fungus, live in the soil and can have a profound effect on the health and longevity of the vines. Maintaining the soil in good condition physically (soil structure), chemically (adequate nutrients and no toxicities), and biologically (organic matter turnover and biodiversity) is important for sustained yield and vine longevity. They all have a major influence on the growth of grapevines and ultimately on the long term sustainability and success of a vineyard.

Click on the following topics for more information on vineyard soil properties.

Topics Within This Chapter:

  • Physical Soil Properties
  • Parent Material
  • Rock Types
  • Soil Horizons
  • Soil Depth
  • Soil Structure
  • Porosity
  • Effects of Porosity on Infiltration Rates
  • Soil Texture
  • Effects of Texture on Water and Nutrient Availability
  • Soil Permeability
  • Soil Color
  • Chemical Soil Properties
  • Soil pH
  • Buffer pH
  • Cation Exchange Capacity
  • Base Saturation
  • Electrical Conductivity
  • Sodium Adsorption Ratio
  • Exchangeable Sodium Percentage
  • Macronutrients
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus and Potassium
  • Micronutrients
  • Biological Soil Properties
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Nematodes
  • Arthropods
  • Earthworms
  • Organic Matter Management
  • Benefits of Soil Organic Matter
  • Classification of Soil Organic Matter
  • Active Fraction
  • Stable Fraction
  • Mineralization
  • Conditions Favoring Build-up of Soil Organic Matter
  • Carbon-to-Nitrogen Ratio
  • Temperature
  • pH
  • Moisture and Aeration
  • Soil Organisms
  • Nitrogen Supply
  • Organic Matter Additions
  • Building Soil Organic Matter with Cover Crops and Green Manures
  • Building Soil Organic Matter with Manure
  • Building Soil Organic Matter with Compost
  • Acidic Vineyard Soils
  • Main Causes of Soil Acidification
  • Managing Acidic Soils
  • Liming Materials
  • Calcium Carbonate Equivalent
  • Particle Size of Liming Materials
  • Lime Requirements and Application Rates
  • Reaction Rate of Limestone
  • Application Methods
  • Time of Liming Applications
  • Salt-Affected Vineyard Soils
  • Properties of Salt-affected Soils
  • Saline Soils
  • Sodic Soils
  • Saline-sodic Soils
  • Soil Sampling after Planting
  • Sampling Soil at Multiple Depths
  • Managing Saline Soils
  • Leaching
  • Basics of Effective Leaching
  • Managing Sodic Soils
  • Chemical Treatments
  • Amendment Selection
  • Application Methods
  • Managing Saline-Sodic Soils
  • Selected References