What it comes down to in the tilling of the area under the vines in viticulture

What is important in the tilling of the area under the vines in viticulture? A professional tillage is mandatory in viticulture, because on the one hand it ensures the navigability of the vineyard and on the other hand it ensures a sufficient water and a needs-based nutrient supply. The timing and intensity of the tillage must be reconciled with soil moisture, nutrient availability and release.

rotary hoe

As viticulture is practiced at a variety of locations, various soil tillage systems are also used. This can be subdivided into cover crops, soil cover and maintenance. With regard to vegetation a distinction is made between permanent and part-time vegetation and between sown and natural vegetation.  On dry sites such as natural terraces, the soil cover is used with covering materials such as straw or bark compost. Maintenance is mostly carried out by the use of equipment for mechanical tillage, but in steep slopes, where mechanical tillage is not possible, it is also carried out with the use of chemical herbicides.

Tillage in the area under vines

Tillage in the area under vines has always been very difficult. Due to the narrow tramlines and the density of a row of vines, the weeds can only be tilled safely with special machines. What is difficult here is that the root density in the area under the vines is particularly high, since the vine must secure the required amount of water for daily needs. The importance of mechanical tilling of the area under vines has been demonstrated in the extremely dry year of 2018. However, management of the area under vines also contributes significantly to the activation of mineralisation close to the vines.

Different types of tillage during the seasons

The goal of viticulture in spring is:

  • To conserve soil reserves
  • To reduce drought stress
  • To ensure the supply of nitrogen to the vegetation

Winter greening plays a special role in this.

In high and late summer, care should be taken not only to conserve water resources but also to ensure that no major releases of nitrogen occur during the ripening phase and that mineralisation is not promoted too much. One goal would be capillary destruction.

In autumn and winter, the vineyards should not be intensively tilled.

The methods of tilling under vines in viticulture

The application of chemical herbicides for tilling under vines in viticulture is used less and less due to the resulting environmental impact, health hazards and low consumer acceptance. Instead, the old-reinforced method of mechanical tilling under vines is increasingly being used. Apart from weed control, mechanical tilling under vines has the side effect of a capillary fracture, which has a positive effect on the water resources in the soil.

Finger hoe and rotary hoe specially developed for viticulture

The application of chemical herbicides for tilling under vines in viticulture is used less and less due to the resulting environmental impact, health hazards and low consumer acceptance. Instead, the old-reinforced method of mechanical tilling under vines is increasingly being used. Apart from weed control, mechanical tilling under vines has the side effect of a capillary fracture, which has a positive effect on the water resources in the soil.

Finger hoe and rotary hoe specially developed for viticulture

You can choose from many different devices for mechanical tilling under vines. The finger hoe and the rotary hoe are quite new devices for viticulture. They can be easily combined with long-established devices such as a plow disc.

The finger hoe and rotary hoe from Weinbautechnik Bähr were specially designed for viticulture. The finger hoe closes the longitudinal furrow and counteracts the formation of an earth wall. In addition, it ensures a thorough mixing of the soil, which counteracts the regrowth of grasses. Furthermore, it rips out the weeds and leaves a fine, crumbly area under the vines.