Study

Cover crops enhance soil organic matter, carbon dynamics and microbiological function in a vineyard agroecosystem

  • Published source details Steenwerth K. & Belina K.M. (2008) Cover crops enhance soil organic matter, carbon dynamics and microbiological function in a vineyard agroecosystem. Applied Soil Ecology, 40, 359-369

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Soil: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland

Pest regulation: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland

Water: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland
  1. Soil: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2006 in an irrigated vineyard in the Central Coast, California, USA (same study as (8)), found more organic matter, soil organisms, and greenhouse-gas emissions in soils with cover crops, compared to tilled soils, between the vine rows. Organic matter: More carbon was found in soils with cover crops, compared to tilled soils (9.5–11 vs 7.2 mg total C/kg soil, 0–15 cm depth). Soil organisms: More microbial biomass (measured as carbon) was found in soils with cover crops, compared to tilled soils (150–330 vs 50–190 µg C/g soil, 0–15 cm depth). Greenhouse gases: Higher carbon dioxide emissions were found in soils with cover crops, compared to tilled soils (268–291 vs 153 g CO2-C/m2/year). Methods: There were six plots for each of two cover crops (Secale cereale rye or Triticale x Triosecale Trios, sown between the vine rows in autumn, mown in spring), and there were six control plots (tilled between the vine rows every two months; depth not reported). All plots were tilled in autumn. The plots were each 84 x 1.8 m, between two vine rows. Soil samples were collected every 2–3 weeks in November 2005–2006 (two samples/plot, 0–15 cm depth).

     

  2. Pest regulation: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards

    A replicated, randomized study in 2001–2006 in an irrigated vineyard in the Central Coast, California, USA, found fewer weeds in plots that were cover cropped with rye, compared to trios, between the vine rows. Implementation options: Fewer weeds were found in plots that were cover cropped with Secale cereale rye, compared to Triticale x Triosecale Trios, in two of six comparisons (3–20 vs 60–177 g weed biomass/m2). Methods: There were six plots for each of two cover crops (Secale cereale rye or Triticale x Triosecale Trios, sown between the vine rows in autumn, mown in spring). All plots were tilled in autumn. The plots were each 84 x 1.8 m, between two vine rows. Weed samples were collected every 2–3 weeks in November 2005–2006 (1 x 0.5 m quadrats; three quadrats/plot).

  3. Water: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2006 in an irrigated vineyard in the Central Coast, California, USA (same study as (11)), found that cover crops had inconsistent effects on soil water content. Water availability: More water was found in soils with cover crops, compared to tilled soils, in some comparisons (in early spring: 20–21% vs 17% water), but less water was found in other comparisons (in late spring: vs 8–10% vs 12–14%). Methods: There were six plots for each of two cover crops (Secale cereale rye or Triticale x Triosecale Trios, sown between the vine rows in autumn, mown in spring), and there were six control plots (tilled between the vine rows every two months; depth not reported). All plots were tilled in autumn. The plots were each 84 x 1.8 m, between two vine rows. Soil samples were collected every 2–3 weeks in November 2005–2006 (two samples/plot, 0–15 cm depth).

     

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