Chapter 29

Cover Cropping in Vineyards

(book excerpts)

A cover crop is a noneconomic crop that is grown in the vineyard to prevent soil erosion, suppress weeds, maintain soil structure, provide easier access during wet weather, and contribute to soil fertility through organic matter. Cover crops may also contribute to insect and mite pest control, depending on the pests present and the conditions. An ideal vineyard floor should be easy to maintain, aid the growth of the grapevines and fruit, maintain the soil structure of the vineyard, reduce erosion potential, and not compete with the vines for water or nutrients, nor harbor insects or other pests. In practice, no single vineyard-floor management system accomplishes all of these goals, but rather a balance of the above factors should be achieved while also considering the soil type, slope, age of vines, irrigation, and harvesting methods. Cover crops are increasingly being recognized as an important component of “sustainable” production in most wine producing regions of the world.

Click on the following topics for more information on cover cropping in vineyards.

Topics Within This Chapter:

  • Benefits and Drawbacks
  • Benefits
  • Erosion Control
  • Greater Amounts of Organic Matter
  • Improved Soil Structure
  • Nitrogen Fixation
  • Nutrient Recycling
  • Weed Suppression
  • Regulate Vine Growth
  • Promote Beneficial Organisms
  • Drawbacks
  • Interference with Grapevines
  • Additional Costs
  • Pest Problems
  • Risk of Frost
  • Life Cycle of Cover Crops
  • Annual Cover Crops
  • Perennial Cover Crops
  • Biennial Cover Crops
  • Types of Cover Crops
  • Grasses
  • Legumes
  • Brassicas
  • Buckwheat
  • Cover Cropping Systems
  • Monocultures
  • Mixtures
  • Insectary Mixes
  • Resident Vegetation
  • Criteria for Selecting Cover Crop Species
  • Soil Erosion Considerations
  • Relative Vigor of the Vineayrd
  • Soil Moisture Availability
  • Organic Matter
  • Insect Management Objectives
  • No-till Systems
  • Frost Hazard
  • Weed Management Objectives
  • Cost of Seed and Planting
  • Establishing and Managing Cover Crops
  • Seed Source
  • Time of Planting
  • Seed Bed Preparation
  • Seeding
  • Broadcast Seederl
  • Seed Drills
  • No-till Drills
  • Fertilization
  • Suppression or Control of Cover Crops
  • Winter-kill
  • Tillage
  • Tillage Implements
  • Mechanical Control
  • Rolling-crimping
  • Mowing
  • Undercutting
  • Herbicide Control
  • References