Soil Management

soil managment

Soil management is key to the long-term development of viticulture. This is due to the fact that soil is a non-renewable resource (its degradation capacity is bigger than its renewal capacity). Therefore, it is essential that producers start shifting to more agroecological practices in the cultivation of vineyards, which focus on regenerative and carbon management practices. Among these practices, we can:

  • Cover Crops: Play a vital role in enhancing soil health, reducing erosion, promoting biodiversity, and improving overall vineyard sustainability. The selection of cover crops may vary depending on the specific vineyard's needs, regional climate, and soil conditions. The most common cover crops, include: clover, rye, annual ryegrass, mustard, buckwheat, oats, vetch, daikon radish, fava beans.
  • Organisms: Preservation of organisms that not only provide aeration but also organic matter to the soil, such as bacteria or earthworms.

What are the indicators of good soil management?

The most important indicators are the amount of organic matter, the amount of nutrients and the pH level of the soil.

soil managment

Amount of organic matter: Soil organic matter is composed mainly of decomposed or partially decomposed remains of living matter. The end result is what is known as humus, a compound that provides the carbon necessary for microorganisms to survive in the soil as well as improving permeability, water retention and increasing the amount of nutrients. The ideal percentage of organic matter for a healthy soil is between 2% and 4%.

amount of organic matter in soil

Amount of nutrients: While nutrients are necessary for proper vine development, an excess of nutrients can cause overly vigorous growth. This will result in a decline in grape quality. For that reason, it is necessary to keep essential soil nutrients within these levels:

  • Nitrogen: 0.8-1.1%.
  • Phosphorus: 0.25-0.50
  • Potassium: 1.3-3.0%.
  • Calcium: 1.2-2.5%.
  • Zinc: less than 26 mfg
  • Iron: 70 mg
  • Manganese: 25-30 mg
amount of nutrients for soil

pH level: Ideally, a soil intended for viticulture should have a pH value between 5.5 and 6.5. Although vineyards can grow in soils with a pH between 4 and 8.5, if the pH is below 5.5 or above 8, then crop yields will be reduced. To increase soil pH, a good alternative is to reduce the amount of nutrients in the soil, while urea can be used to reduce pH.

soil ph for viniculture