Research: Management

Cultivation, irrigation, frost protection, canopy management, soil management


Barthes, B. and E. Roose (2002). “Aggregate stability as an indicator of soil susceptibility to runoff and erosion; validation at several levels.” Catena 47(2): 133-149.

The evaluation of soil susceptibility to runoff and water erosion in the field is often expensive or time-consuming. Several authors have reported that susceptibility is linked to aggregate stability, whose determination is far easier. However, this susceptibility has generally been deduced from rainfall simulation experiments on sieved soil samples, whose behaviour is not always representative of field-scale phenomena. Our aim was to extend the validity of relationships between soil aggregation and erosion through comparisons of topsoil aggregate stability and field-assessed susceptibility to runoff and erosion. Susceptibility to runoff and erosion was determined at several levels: first, on a southern French Regosol, through measurements of runoff and soil loss from 1-m2 microplots under simulated rainfall; second, from 100- to 800-m2 runoff plots on a Nitosol [Nitisols] in Benin, a Ferralsol in Cameroon and a Regosol in Mexico (with additional data on Syria from the literature); and finally, soil susceptibility to erosion was determined through semi-quantitative assessment of the frequency of erosion features on vineyard hillsides in southern France. Aggregate stability was determined by immersion in water and wet-sieving of 2-mm sieved, air-dried 0- to 10-cm soil samples, which actually tests aggregate resistance to slaking. Under simulated rainfall, runoff depth and soil loss after 30 minutes were negatively correlated with topsoil content in stable macroaggregates (>0.2 mm). On runoff plots, 3-year runoff rate and soil loss were negatively correlated with topsoil aggregate stability, especially stable macroaggregate content; these correlations were improved when slope gradient and climate aggressiveness were considered in addition to aggregate stability. On vineyard hillsides, the frequency index of erosion features was negatively correlated with topsoil content in stable macroaggregates, especially in the absence of conservation practices. These results confirm that aggregate stability is a relevant indicator of soil susceptibility to runoff and erosion, especially in Mediterranean and tropical areas where intense rainfall is frequent. They also confirm that simple laboratory determination can provide data closely correlated with those resulting from field investigations. (Language: English)


Battany, M. C. and M. E. Grismer (2000). “Rainfall runoff and erosion in Napa Valley vineyards: effects of slope, cover and surface roughness.” Hydrological Processes 14(7): 1289-1304.

The effects of slope, cover and surface roughness on rainfall runoff, infiltration and erosion were determined at two sites on a hillside vineyard in Napa County, California, USA using a portable rainfall simulator. Rainfall simulation experiments were carried out at two sites, with five replications of three slope treatments (5%, 10% and 15%) in a randomized block design at each site (0.64 msuperscript 2 plots). Prior to initiation of the rainfall simulations, detailed assessments, not considered in previous vineyard studies, of soil slope, cover and surface roughness were conducted. Significant correlations (at the 95% confidence level) between the physical characteristics of slope, cover and surface roughness, with total infiltration, runoff, sediment discharge and average sediment concentration were obtained. The extent of soil cracking, a physical characteristic not directly measured, affected analysis of the rainfall-runoff-erosion process. Average cumulative runoff and cumulative sediment discharge from site A was 87% and 242% greater, respectively, than at site B. This difference was linked to the greater cover, extent of soil cracking and bulk density at site B than at site A. The extent of soil cover was the dominant factor limiting soil loss when soil cracking was not present. Field slopes within the range of 4-16%, although a statistically significant factor affecting soil losses, had only a minor impact on the amount of soil loss. The Horton infiltration equation fit field data better than the modified Philip’s equation. Owing to the variability in the ‘treatment’ parameters affecting the rainfall-runoff-erosion process, use of ANOVA methods were inappropriate; multiple-factor regression analysis was more useful for identifying significant parameters. Overall similar values were obtained for soil erosion parameters as those from vineyard erosion studies in Europe. (Language: English)


Belvini, P., L. Dalla-Costa, et al. (1983). “Effects of some genetic, environmental and growing factors on importance of frost damages on vines.” Vignevini ; Mar 1983; 10(3): 33 40 10(3): 33- 40.

In studies at two localities in 1980-1981 during which temperatures down to -10 deg C were recorded, Prosecco was the most badly damaged, Riesling Italico [Italian Riesling], Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay had moderate damage, Pinot Grigio [Grey Pinot] and Merlot had only slight damage, and Verduzzo Trevigiano [Treviso Verduzzo] was not damaged. Vigour was negatively correlated with frost damage. (Language: Italian)


Centeri, C. and R. Pataki (2005). “Soil erodibility measurements on slopes of the Tihany Peninsula, Hungary.” Advances in Geoecology (36): 149-154.

Soil loss prediction is a very important consideration in the Tihany Peninsula in Hungary. Rainfall simulation studies were conducted using the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) to determine the K factors (i.e., soil loss, rainfall erosion index, soil erodibility factor, slope length, slope gradient factor, cropping cover management factor and agricultural practices factor) for shallow soils (Vertisols) where vineyards are widespread. The soil samples were also analysed for CaCO3, organic matter content, cation exchange capacity, particle size distribution and infiltration rate. Tabulated data are given of K factor calculations based on soil loss data from rainfall simulation and with USLE equations. (Language: English)


Corino, L., E. Gambino, et al. (1996). “Soil management in Piedmont viticulture.” Obstbau Weinbau 33(7/8): 207-208.

A study was made of yields of grape cv. Barbara on R4 rootstock and soil erosion in an Italian vineyard on a 20% slope with the rows running up the slope, on plots with (1) mechanical soil cultivation, (2) green-plant cover. Vine growth, grape yields and Botrytis infection were greater in (1) but soil erosion was severe, whereas in (2) soil erosion was insignificant. (Language: German)


Dizengof, L. F. (1969). “Green manuring in hilly vineyards.” Sadovodstvo (10): 28-9.

In a vineyard on a 15 degrees slope clean cultivation was compared with green manuring either in alternate interrows or in every interrow. The cover crops, a mixture of legumes, oats and barley, were sown in the autumn and ploughed-in in May. Vegetative growth, up to the time of bearing, was increased by 14.7% by green manuring in alternate interrows and by 37.3% by green manuring in every interrow; average yield increases over 5 years were 22.1% and 43.3% respectively. Soil erosion was reduced. (Language: Russian)


Ferrero, A., B. Usowicz, et al. (2005). “Effects of tractor traffic on spatial variability of soil strength and water content in grass covered and cultivated sloping vineyard.” Soil and Tillage Research 84(2): 127-138.

Frequent machinery traffic on sloping vineyard influences spatial distribution of soil physical properties. Our objective was to assess the effects of crawler tractor traffic across the slope (20%) on spatial distribution of soil strength and water content of silt loam soil under controlled grass cover and conventionally cultivated vineyard. The experiment was situated on hillside vineyard (NW, Italy) arranged with rows crosswise the slope. The grass covered treatment included periodical mowing and chopping of herbs and the cultivated treatment – autumn ploughing (18 cm) and spring and summer rotary-hoeing in the vineyard inter-rows (2.7 m). A crawler tractor (2.82 Mg) was used at the same locations across the slope for all tillage and chemical operations. The measurements of soil bulk density, penetration resistance and volumetric water content were done in autumn (after vintage) within the sloping inter-row. The results were analyzed using classic statistics and geostatistics with and without trend. The highest variability was obtained for penetration resistance (CV 56.6%) and the lowest for bulk density (9.6%). In most cases, the semivariograms of the soil parameters were well described by spherical models. The semivariance parameters of all properties measured were influenced by trend. Three-dimensional (3D) maps well identified areas with the highest soil strength in lower crawler ruts being positioned in the upper side of vine row and successively lower strength in upper ruts situated on other side of the same row and inter-rut area. Higher strength in lower than upper ruts was induced by tractor’s tilt and resulting higher ground contact pressure. Soil water content in both treatments was the lowest below the upper rut and increased in inter-rut and lower rut areas. The differences in the soil properties between the places within the inter-row were more pronounced in grass covered than in cultivated soil. (Language: English)


Fic, V. and Z. Klobaska (1984). “Effect of the slope of the land on the setting of the inclination of the nozzles when spraying in vineyards.” Zemedelska Technika 30(5): 287-292.

Using a specific sprayer applying a 0.5% concentration of a spray between the rows of a vineyard on slopes of 0, 7 and 12 degrees , deposit measurements were made on the uphill and downhill side. The spray was collected in 4 replications on 500 x 500 mm panels, placed in the leaf area, i.e. 0.6-1.5 m above ground. The clusters of droplets were analysed and recorded in 5 categories according to their density. The nozzles were set to form an angle of 90 degrees to the vertical axis of the vines on level land. (Language: Czech)


Gracio, A. M. T. M. (1975). “The management of vineyards on steep slopes. A critical analysis of various solutions.” Bulletin de l’ OIV 48(530): 297-310.

A review and discussion, with metnion of vineyard establishment down and across the slope, terraces, subsoiling, stone removal, levelling, basic fertilization, planting and tranining systems, and management. (Language: Italian)


Hafner, P. (1997). “Possibilities of mechanization in South Tyrol vine growing.” Obstbau Weinbau 34(2): 35-37.

The aims of mechanization systems (cost savings and labour savings), for transport, plant protection, soil cultivation, leaf and tendril removal using tractors or track and handcontrolled equipment are discussed. Factors affecting the possibilities of mechanization, such as vineyard layout, slope, terracing, access and trellises are outlined. (Language: German)


Hoppmann, D. (1978). “Study of vineyard sites in Rheingau and Baden.” Weinberg und Keller 25(2): 66- 92.

A new model for the calculation of heat exchange in relation to must weight and quality ( deg Oe) was based on a critical examination of 11 years’ climatic data. It was used in a study of 3 vine cvs (Riesling, Muller-Thurgau and Rulander) on 215 plots in 4 vine-growing districts. The heat gain in relation to vine phenological phases proved most important at pre-blossom and fruit ripening. Temperature was important in relation to evapotranspiration and rainfall, and evaporation used 40% of the solar radiation. The altitude, orientation of the slope and its angle affected heat gain. Soil type and its heat and water retaining capacity and conductivity influenced heat radiation. Wind, cold air flow and frost incidence greatly affected yield and must quality. (Language: German)


Lipiec, J., B. Usowicz, et al. (2006). “Management effects of sloping vineyard on thermal properties of soil.” Advances in Geoecology (39): 71-78.

Thermal properties of soil play important role in heat and moisture flow. They are strongly affected by soil management. We assessed the effect of slope and crawler tractor traffic across the vineyard slope on spatial distribution of heat capacity, thermal conductivity and diffusivity of a silt-loam soil of a hillside vineyard (18% slope) in N.W. Italy, with permanent grass cover (GC) and conventional tillage (CT) of the inter-rows. The experiment was performed on hillside viticulture (N-W Italy) with average slope of 18% and south/south-west aspect. The climate is characterized by rainfall averaging 840 mm and cold and snow winter and dry summer with rainstorms. The vineyard, with rows following the contour lines, lies on silt loam soil. Two treatments that is permanent grass cover and cultivation treatment were applied in the vineyard inter-row of 2.7 m width. In both treatments the crawler tractor (Fiat 55 CV) of 2.82 Mg weight and 1.31 m width was used for tillage and chemical operations along the inter-rows across the slope at the same locations. The width and length in contact with the ground of each track were 0.3 m and 1.4 m, respectively. The statistical-physical model was used to determine the thermal conductivity of soil. Heat capacity was calculated based on the equation of de Vries. All thermal properties were determined at three water statuses. Mean values of all thermal properties in GC and CT were similar at comparable inter-row areas and water statuses except of inter-rut area under GC where they were smaller. Thermal conductivity and heat capacity increased with increasing water content and bulk density while thermal diffusivity was the greatest at approximately field capacity and decreased at saturated state. Spatial distribution of the soil thermal conductivity and heat capacity along the slope was similar to that of bulk density at all water statuses. Increase in soil water content at given bulk density can result in greater, smaller or the same thermal diffusivity depending on the occurrence of the characteristic maximum of thermal diffusivity. (Language: English)


Lisa, L., G. Gay, et al. (1999). “Terrain management for hillside vineyards.” Informatore Agrario 55(11): 79-83.

Developments in the design of vineyard terraces with the aim of facilitating mechanical operations are described. Improvements to earlier designs are suggested. Data are tabulated on operational costs for a vineyard on a 25-35% slope with vines trained using 4 systems. Labour requirements and costs were lowest in vines trained to a central curtain, followed by espalier and double-curtain trained vines (which had similar requirements) and vines trained to an open-lyre which had substantially higher requirements. (Language: Italian)


Madelin, M. and G. Beltrando (2005). “Spatial interpolation-based mapping of the spring frost hazard in the Champagne vineyards.” Meteorological Applications 12(1): 51-56.

The Champagne vineyards, famous worldwide, are located at the northern limit of viticulture. Consequently, they are very sensitive to spring frosts that can occur after bud burst. These spring frosts occur mainly in radiative atmospheric situations (low speed wind, clear sky) where spatial variations in minimum temperatures are very important. The latter depend on several factors at different scales: from the macroclimatic scale, where the geographical location (latitude/longitude) has a strong influence, to the topoclimatic scale, where environmental and topographical factors play an important role. After a brief recall of the definition of these different factors extracted from a Digital Elevation Model and a land-use database, we propose a spatial interpolation of minimum temperatures in the Champagne vineyards based on multiple regression. From this interpolation, we can map the frost hazard for the whole vineyard from data measured over five spring seasons (1998-2003) and for about 20 weather stations. In this paper, we present this mapping technique and compare it with the data for spring 2003 when particularly strong frosts occurred. (Language: English)


Mescalchin, E. and M. Varner (1997). “Control of grapevine downy mildew in Trentino.” Informatore Fitopatologico 47(11): 18-23.

The control strategies used in Trentino against Plasmopara viticola on grape over the last 10 years are summarized. The slope, position and exposure of land in Trentino is very variable, and microclimatic conditions can vary greatly even in one vineyard. It therefore becomes particularly difficult to regulate control measures. Over the last 10 years, there has been a move away from curative treatments using cymoxanil, which was found to be insufficiently active, to preventive treatments using copper-based products. However, the return to the use of copper-based products brings concerns about the long-term risk of accumulation of copper residues in the soil and grape. Experiments in 1996 indicated that residues in grape depended more on the dosage of summer treatments than on the number of treatments made over a season at reduced rates. It is therefore recommended that reduced doses of copper products are used in the final treatments from 20-25 July onwards. It is concluded that control measures should also take into account the microclimatic conditions of the area being treated to avoid generalizations. (Language: Italian)


Oliveira, M. T. (2001). “Modeling water content of a vineyard soil in the Douro Region, Portugal.” Plant and Soil 233(2): 213-221.

The soil moisture of a vineyard soil under two different plantation systems, bench terrace and straight down the slope (German system), was measured weekly from 1991 to 1997 in the Demarcated Region of Douro – the Port wine producing region in Portugal. The soils of the region are extremely stony, located on steep slopes along narrow valleys. These conditions complicate the study of soil water relations with deterministic functions. We fitted a large data set to stochastic models to: determine which stochastic model best forecasts soil moisture in various planting systems; objectively evaluate variation of soil moisture in each planting system based on chosen models; and find an objective factor on which to base management decisions. Soil moisture variation was best represented by a time frequency model (Fourier series). Soil under straight down the slope plantation had significantly higher water reserves for most of the year than bench terrace plantation but the difference was not high enough to drive a significant shift on production and fundamentally affect the choice of which system to choose for new plantations. The model-generated data suggested a superficial and subsuperficial downflow of water from upper slopes in the straight plantation relative to bench terraces. However, the model failed to shed additional information on the mechanisms related to soil water balance. Data generated by the time frequency model might prove useful for other management decisions such as schedule and intensity of topping and pesticide application. (Language: English)


Orlandini, S., G. Zipoli, et al. (1991). “Micrometeorology of vineyards and phytopathological models.” Bulletin OEPP 21(3): 431-439.

In intensive viticulture, the distribution of principal meteorological elements depends principally on aspect, slope and altitude. Microclimate modelling in vineyards was investigated by connecting local atmospheric conditions with macroscale meteorological conditions as reported by the standard meteorological networks. To study the effect of topography on crop microclimate, vineyard temp. was measured with an infrared thermometer, and phenological, allometrical and yield measurements were made in vineyards located close to the Chianti Classico hills, Italy. The climatic and pathological data was used to verify mathematical models simulating microclimatic conditions and to protect grapes from downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola). The models allow a reduction in the number of treatments against the disease, lightening at the same time the damage to the ecosystem and the cost for the farmer. This paper was presented at the joint WMO/EPPO/NAPPO symposium on practical applications of agrometeorology in plant protection, held at Florence, Italy 4-7 Dec., 1990. (Language: English)


Petrovic, N. and N. Todorovic (1993). “Air temperature in the vineyard situated on the slope.” Review of Research Work at the Faculty of Agriculture, Belgrade 38(1): 93-98.

Air temperature data between July and Oct. were recorded over 2 years at the base and near the top of the slope, with a difference in altitude of 20 m, in a cordon vineyard of cv. Burgundy Black. The vines were oriented E.-W. on a S.-facing slope, 230-250 m a.s.l., near Varvarin. Temperatures were measured (1) in the middle of a row, (2) along the row on the N. side, and (3) along the row on the S. side; and also at 3 heights (0.05, 1.00 and 2.00 m above the soil surface). The vine height ranged from 1.70 to 1.80 m. At both the base and top of the slope, the air was warmest (with max. day temperatures and temperature amplitudes) along the S. side of the rows. At the height of densest growth (1.00 m above the soil surface) it was shown that along the N. side of the rows the day temperature was up to 1.0 degrees C higher and the night temperature up to 2.8 degrees lower at the base than at the top of the slope. The mean max. day temperatures were 0.4 degrees higher and the mean min. day temperatures were 1.1 degrees lower at the base than at the top of the slope. (Language: English)


Richter, G. (1989). “Erosion control in vineyards of the Mosel Region, FRG.” Soil erosion protection measures in Europe, Proceedings of the European Community Workshop, Freising, Germany.

Land treatment in vineyards may help reduce loss of soil, nutrients and runoff water. Since 1974, plot measurements of runoff and soil loss have been carried out in a vineyard of 0.15 ha at Mertesdorf, Germany. The 12 plots have lengths of 8 m, 16 m and 48 m, and slope is 20-25 degrees . The soil is a regosol, deep ploughed, with a profile depth of about 1 m developed on Devonian shales. New vineyards show high runoff rates and soil loss during the first three years after planting. This is a consequence of deep ploughing, which reduces the structural stability of the topsoil. Break-up of the soil increases infiltration capacity for about three years on soils with a high percentage of rock debris. The best preparation of the soil is normal ploughing before planting. Straw-mulching reduces the soil loss to a greater extent than grass-mulching, but it also has some disadvantges. Compost from urban waste is the best way to reduce runoff and soil loss, but it may be contaminated by heavy metals. (Language: English)


Wang, Y., R. Amundson, et al. (2000). “Seasonal and altitudinal variation in decomposition of soil organic matter inferred from radiocarbon measurements of soil CO2 flux.” Global biogeochemical cycles 14(1): 199-211.

In this project, a technique was developed for sampling soil-respired CO2 for isotopic measurements and a model that relates the radiocarbon (14C) content of soil respired CO2 to the rate of C cycling in soils. We measured soil CO2 flux, carbon isotopic content (both 13C and 14C) of soil-respired CO2, soil temperature, and soil moisture on a monthly basis along an elevation transect in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (California, USA) in an attempt to determine the relationship between the rate of soil C cycling and soil environmental conditions. Both soil CO2 flux and its 14C content displayed significant variations (spatially and temporally), which reflect natural variations in the rate of SOM decomposition and in the relative amount of SOM-derived CO2 versus rootrespired CO2 caused by seasonal changes in soil temperature, moisture, and plant activity. The relative contribution of SOM decomposition to total soil CO2 production changed throughout the year from ~20-50% at the peak of the growing season to close to 100% in the non-growing season. The apparent decay rate of SOM determined from the 14C content of soil-respired CO2 varied from ~0.2 yr-1 in the spring to ~0.01 yr-1 in the fall at the lowest-elevation site and from 0.1 yr.-1 in the summer to ~0.01 yr.-1 in the late fall at the highest-elevation site. It appears that the apparent decay rate of SOM increased with increasing temperature when soil moisture was adequate but decreased with increasing temperature when soil moisture became limited. The apparent decay rate of SOM also varied with soil moisture. Higher soil moisture content accelerated decomposition of SOM until it reached an optimal level of ~14-25 wt. % water content and then inhibited decomposition when more pores in soils became saturated with water and perhaps oxygen availability (for microbes) became limited. Although the rate of SOM decomposition varied throughout the year in response to fluctuations in soil temperature and moisture, the maximum apparent decay rate was higher at the lowelevation site (i.e., maximum apparent decay rate=0.22 yr-1) than at the high-elevation sites (i.e., maximum apparent decay rate=0.10 yr-1). Litter decomposition simulated by measuring changes in mass of litter in litter bags placed in the field also showed a similar decomposition pattern with decreasing decomposition rate with elevation. Multivariable regression analyses including various terms of soil temperature, moisture, and site variability suggest that soil moisture was a major factor, but not the only factor, controlling the rate of SOM decomposition and soil CO2 flux in the Sierra Nevada soils. Both decay rate and total soil CO2 flux are related significantly to soil moisture, temperature, and site effects. (Language: English)