23 SCBG-UKRF- Vineyard Weed Control

Grants and Contracts Details


Under-vine floor management plays a large role in determining the initial success and long-term health of the vineyard. Poor under-vine management in a newly established vineyard can lead to stunted vines resulting in extensive monetary loss due to sluggish growth and lengthier establishment times. In established vineyards, poor under-vine management can result in reduced yield and vine growth and can negatively impact wine quality. Developing an under-vine management program is often a difficult task for vineyard owners who aim to decrease herbicide input and maintain and improve soil and vine health. The most common under-vine management practices involve the use of herbicides, mechanical (tillage, mowing, heat treatments), cover crops, maintaining native vegetation, mulches, and most often a combination of these methods. It is common practice to use herbicides and tillage to create weed-free, bare soil under the vines. However, it is well studied that the heavy use of herbicides has negative impacts on both the vines and environment and bare soils under vines lead to poor soil health, soil erosion and increases in populations of persistent weeds. The use of cover crops and native vegetation under the vines decreases soil erosion and improves organic matter; however these methods introduce soil moisture and nutrient competition to young vines and require management strategies that can be cost prohibitive, especially to smaller vineyards in Kentucky. The use of mulches in commercial vineyards is of interest to Kentucky vineyard owners and its commercial use has not been widely studied. In this project, the use of decomposers in mulch, as part of an Integrated Weed Management (IWM) program will be investigated in both an organic vineyard and conventional vineyard planting. Stropharia rugosoannulata commonly known as King Stropharia or Wine Cap has been used in small-scale production to increase soil health, reduce disease pressure, and reduce the presence of virus transmitting nematodes. In the short-term we anticipate that Wine Cap inoculated mulch will provide manageable weed control that can will have a lasting effect of up to 2 years without drastic additional inputs. In addition, the mushrooms produced through this mulch system may have additional monetary value to small farm wineries beyond weed control.
Effective start/end date12/15/229/29/25


  • KY Department of Agriculture: $47,022.00


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