Grass/Clover Mixture Design for Vineyards
Use grass and clover to improve quality and ease of growing.
Yield Control for Quality
Reduction of grape yield to increase sugar content (higher alcohol potential) and content of favourable flavours. Competition from grasses is a natural and efficient tool to control yield.
Many wine growing areas have problems with erosion. A grass cover is one of the most efficient ways to stop or limit erosion.
During long periods of the year, it is difficult or impossible to enter fields because of slippery slopes due to heavy soils. Grasses can fix the soil and allow access to the fields, with increased safety.
A grass cover will be a valuable alternative for weed control in between the rows.
Adding clover to the mixture will allow a cheaper and more sustainable production, and a slow release of fertilizer for the companion grasses.
The splashing of raindrops on the soil surface can spread many diseases. The presence of a grass cover will diminish the risk of dispersal of diseases.
Poa pratensis - is very low growing and forms rhizomes like strong creeping red fescue. Very well suited for mixtures with tall fescue in hot and warm areas.
Tall fescue - for dry and hot areas. It is advised to use turf types as they are low and slow growing compared to forage types. In general very efficient for yield control.
Perennial ryegrass – recommended if it is important to obtain a faster establishment and soil fixation – e.g. 5-10% of the mixture.
Red fescues – suitable to assure ground cover in the row intervals because rhizomes tie the soil together and prevent soil erosion. Slender creepings are more wear tolerant, but with a more limited ability to spread with rhizomes.
White clover – small leaved types are specially recommended because their ground cover is very high. White clover will release Nitrogen to the companion grasses and the wine plants.
Mixtures should be composed according to the importance of individual goals, e.g. yield control, erosion control etc.
As a general guideline, we recommend to:
Include species with rhizomes or stolons in order to maximize ground cover
Choose main species according to yield control objectives
Add clover whenever possible – to support the grasses!
If the main goal is reduction of yield:
70% Tall fescue
20% Poa pratensis
10% White clover
If the main goal is erosion control and persistency:
30% Poa pratensis
30% Strong creeping red fescue
20% Slender creeping red fescue
10% White clover
10% Perennial ryegrass (for quick establishment)
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