Integrated Weed Management

Weed control in vineyards enhances the establishment of newly planted vines and improves the growth and yield of established vines. Growers have many weed management tools available to achieve these objectives; however, the methods of using these tools vary from year to year and from vineyard to vineyard.

Weed management is part of an overall vineyard management system; plants on the vineyard floor can influence other pests such as insects, mites, nematodes, and diseases. A weed management program should start before new vines are planted. The more difficult-to-control weeds (particularly perennials) are easier to manage before vines are planted. Weeds reduce vine growth and yields by competing for water, nutrients, and sunlight. Competition is most severe during the first 4 years of the vine’s life or where root growth is limited. Weeds around the grapevine trunk not only compete directly with vine growth, but provide a good habitat for field mice or voles, which can girdle and kill young vines. Gophers are most prevalent in nontilled vineyards and are common where broadleaf weeds, such as field bindweed and perennial clovers, predominate. These animals feed on the roots and weaken or kill young vines. Dry weed growth is a fire hazard. For optimum yields and vine health, control weed growth, especially in the area next to the base of young vines.

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