The rotary hoe and the finger hoe – the convincing combination in terms of tillage. When it comes to the planting of terraces opinions are divided, here even organic wine growers are starting to think about this, especially when they think of the cleanliness of the area underneath the plants. Combating weeds by spot spraying or sprinkling is common in conventional viticulture. Among winemakers the general conviction is that quality wines and herbicides do not belong together, but that biodiversity in the vineyard is a mark of quality. Special hoes are ideal for managing uncontrolled growth around the plant, they save unnecessary exits, which as a result promote soil compaction.
Mini digression on the subject of processing under plants
Whether full-scale planting or only partial planting, every viticulture enterprise farms the vineyards differently. Whoever chooses the green manure, has basically four options for processing the area under plants:
1. Covering: with straw, grass, bark mulch, compost, shredded material.
2. Chemical: spraying with herbicides.
3. Thermal: application of hot water, water vapour or hot foam combined with high energy and water consumption and many crossings.
4. Mechanical: with mulchers, rotary harrows, vine cleaner, clearing and flat blades, hollow discs, rotary hoes and finger weeders.
Why should you use a hoe?
In the rotary hoe, the rotary harrow that reaches into the ground is attached to one or two adjustable steel discs. Standing in the direction of travel, they act like a roller. Increasing the angle of attack increases the intensity of the procedure. The result can be compared with that of a disc harrow or rotary harrow. The hoe rolls off independently, thus securing the propulsion, the planting can be regulated efficiently, without a device being pivoted below the vine row and the benefits are enormous:
– The soil is loosened and moved, – which prevents the weeds growing, which is also successful at – low tractor speeds, no matter the terrain, – combined with an undulating erosion edge.
The disadvantage of hollow discs being driven along the rows is the production of sharp, straight cut edges, which subsequently deepen into gullies, through which the soil is flushed out during heavy rainfall. In addition, hollow discs achieve a satisfactory result, only in conjunction with a high driving speed.
What makes the finger weeder so exciting for organic wine growers?
If you look closely at a finger hoe, you can see circular extensions made of special rubber. While the carrier disc lies flat on the ground, the flexible fingers are pushed aside during stem contact, which minimises the risk of vine injuries and subsequent infections. The finger weeder breaks up the pocket around the vine, removing soil and vegetation. The finger weeder is also effective for replanting and crooked vines.
In sandy locations, the finger hoe is used as a single device, together with the rotary hoe, it becomes a powerhouse for all organic wine growers who want to keep their workload in check. After processing with the rotary hoe and finger weeder the terraces look well maintained, without leaving the impression of a dusty wasteland with damaged green manure.