Improving poor performing grapevines by means of root pruning or mulching

Project Number
WW EM 17-01

Project title
Improving poor performing grapevines by means of root pruning or mulching

Project leader
Moffat, E G

Institution
Stellenbosch University. Department of Viticulture and Oenology

Team members
Myburgh, P A
Lategan, E L
Howell, C L
Setati, E
Wilding, M

Project description
Spatial variability and grapevine underperformance are common challenges faced by grape growers. Root pruning is currently carried out as a practice based on growers’ practical experience, and not on scientific evidence. Furthermore, it is not common practice to incorporate organic matter during a root pruning action to improve soil physical, as well as biological conditions. Incorporated organic matter, e.g. of which compost is most commonly used, has a wide array of benefits to soils. The water-saving effects of organic mulches are well documented. However, further research into the required thickness of compost mulches would be valuable to growers.

The first field trial intends to investigate the effect of incorporating organic matter during the root pruning action on the soil environment and grapevine performance. If this practice proves to be successful, it would establish the ground work for further investigation into the costs and most efficient implement to incorporate compost during root pruning. The second field trial aims to establish the ideal compost mulch thickness at which water-saving benefits are realised.

– Record end –

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