Impact of Organic Mulch on Vineyard Soil Moisture Retention and Nutrient Status
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ABSTRACT Impact of Organic Mulch on Vineyard Soil Moisture Retention. (May 2015) Bryan Sales Department of Horticultural Sciences Texas A&M University Research Advisor: Dr. Justin Scheiner Department of Horticultural Sciences Drought and irrigation water quality are major concerns for vineyards in Texas. Drought results in a higher demand for irrigation water which may not be available to some grape growers. A field study was conducted in a commercial Vitis spp. cv Lenior vineyard to evaluate the use of organic hardwood mulch as a potential water conservation tool for wine grape vineyards. Treatments consisted of applying hardwood mulch directly beneath grapevines at 40 days after anthesis at a depth of 8 cm and widths of 0.6 m, 0.9 m, and 1.2 m. Significant reductions in weed coverage were observed at 90 days after harvest in the 0.9 m and 1.2 m mulch treatments compared to unmulched vines. Fluctuations in volumetric water content in the soil directly beneath treated vines were lower in the 1.2 m treatment compared to unmulched vines. Concentrations of calcium and zinc, and the sodium absorption ratio in the soil beneath the 0.9 m and 1.2 m mulch treatments were significantly reduced by mulching. Applying hardwood mulch did not affect grapevine yield or juice chemistry. Further research into the use of hardwood mulch in vineyards is recommended to determine if it is a viable tool for vineyard operators.
Sales, Bryan Keith (2015). Impact of Organic Mulch on Vineyard Soil Moisture Retention and Nutrient Status. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from