Selecting green cover species in the under-trellis zone of Lower Austrian vineyards
The under-trellis zone of vineyards is a sensitive area through which vines cover a significant portion of their nutrient and water needs. Mechanical and chemical methods are applied to suppress competing and tall-growing weeds to ensure optimal vine growth conditions. In addition to higher operating costs and depending on the soil conditions, these practices might lead to a long-term reduction in soil fertility and biodiversity. The presented study aims to analyse the suitability and interspecies competition of a selected green cover mixture of five local herbaceous species as potential green cover mixture in the under-trellis area of Lower Austrian vineyards. A combined mixture of five herbs (Arenaria serpyllifolia, Thymus serpyllum, Potentilla argentea, Sedum acre, Sedum album) were planted (0,0625 m2 per plant) in the under-trellis area of two Lower Austrian vineyards in Rohrendorf (loess) and Zöbing (loess-sand). The research design involved a split-plot design with four plots, each plot with five vines. After 110 days plant performance and ground coverage were assessed on cover plant basis. The overall results showed promising growth rates of four out of five green cover species within the first year. The growth rates of T. serpyllum, P. argentea, S. acre, S. album ranged between 10,42-23,44% on both sites. A. serpyllifolia showed with 0,00-1,56% a reduced growth rate. Comparing the two sites, plant performance was higher in Rohrendorf with dominating loess, compared to Zöbing with increased sand content, potentially due to increased water and nutrient availability. Similarly, the results of the ground coverage showed differences with coverage rates of 12,15% in Rohrendorf and 3,68% in the Zöbing vineyards. In summary the study suggests a suitable site adaption of four analyzed green cover species in the first season. Further long-term experiments involving seeding techniques, grapevine interaction, soil analyses and additional green cover species are recommended.
Issue: ICGWS 2023
1 IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, Department of Business, Institute of Tourism, Wine Business and Marketing, Krems, Austria
2 Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Germany FiBL, Department Sustainable Farming Systems, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
3 University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Department of Landscape, Spatial and Infrastructure Sciences, Institute of Landscape Architecture, Vienna, Austria
Contact the author*
green cover, under-trellis, sustainable vineyard management, Austrian viticulture, biodiversity, Vitis vinifera