Effect of Living or Straw Mulch on Weed Management and Soil Quality in Grape Vineyards

The use of herbicides in vineyards has been a cost-effective means of in-row weed management under the grape canopy. However, as public concerns about issues such as pesticide run-off, ground water quality, and soil erosion have increased, grape growers have become aware of a need for alternative methods of weed management. The overall objective of this project was to identify optimal weed management practices that maximize grapevine growth and development as well as vineyard soil quality. A sub-objective of the project was the determination of physical and biological soil measurements that could be used in combination with standard chemical soil analysis to indicate an improving or declining condition of a vineyard soil. The experiment began in 2004 and was completed after the 2007 grape harvest.