Organic recycled mulches in sustainable viticulture: assessment of spontaneous plants communities and weed coverage

In recent years, developing more efficient and sustainable viticulture management has been essential due to the impact of climate change in semiarid regions. For this reason, the use of recycled organic mulching (ROM) in the vineyard has become an interesting strategy to cope with water stress, isolated soil from extreme temperatures and improving soil humidity, control the presence of weeds and therefore reduce the inputs of herbicides and improve soil fertility. This work aimed to analyse the effect of three different organic mulches [straw (S), grape pruning debris (GPD) and spent mushroom compost (SMC)] and two traditional soil management techniques [herbicide (H) and interrow (IN)] on weed coverage and the spontaneous plant communities’ presence. Data sampling was collected throughout the vine vegetative cycle of 2021 in La Rioja, Spain. The different soil management techniques had a clear effect on weed coverage and his development during the vine vegetative cycle. SMC and H were the treatments with the highest and the lowest coverage percentage, respectively. IN had a delayed weed emergence at the beginning of the vine vegetative cycle, but finally it reached maximum values nearby SMC. GPD and S had similar effects on weed emergence, reaching 25-30% of the maximum coverage values. A total of 29 herbaceous species were identified during the vegetative cycle, some of them very isolated and occasional. Principal component analysis (PCAs) showed a good association between spontaneous species and treatments, furthermore, specific species-treatment associations were found. Moreover, three clear groups of herbaceous communities were identified by cluster analysis. This study provides interesting information about the effect of different alternative soil management on herbaceous plant coverage and weed species communities which could contribute to making more sustainable viticulture.

Authors: Andreu Mairata, David Labarga, Miguel Puelles and Alicia Pou

ICVV, Intituto de Ciencias de la Vid y del Vino, Logroño, Spain 

Email: amairata@larioja.org

Keywords: herbicide, mulching, plant coverage, soil management, biodiversity

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