alternate-row-grassing-a-modern-land-management-technique
Sicma

alternate-row-grassing-a-modern-land-management-technique

12/01/2023

The cultivation technique of grassing (also known as living mulching) consists of maintaining on the ground of arboretums, orchards and vineyards a grassy cover – spontaneous or sown – managed through mowing operations as a cheaper, natural and environmentally friendly alternative to processing and integral weeding.

 

Filare inerbito

 

In vineyards, complete processing of the soil remains one of the main management techniques, although it must be conducted carefully as it leaves the soil exposed to the action of atmospheric agents that favourerosion and the loss of fertility. In addition, frequent machining leads to a compaction of the soil below the machined layer, known as the “plow sole”.

For this reason, management with partial grassing is being increasingly adopted which, in the specific case of the vineyard, is performed in alternate rows.

Lavorazione a file alternate

Partial grassing is used to obtain a series of advantages:

  • It defends the soil from erosion; on hilly soils especially the grassy row retains the soil, thereby avoiding mudslides and landslides.
  • It regulates water conservation in the summer, as the inertial part creates an insulating layer that limits the evaporation of water while the processed soil absorbs it more during rains.
  • The presence of the turf promotes the formation of a habitat in which insects and microorganisms contribute to thebiological balance and availability of nutrients.
  • It enriches the soil with organic matter and makes it naturally more fertile.
  • It improves the structure of the soil, avoiding negative aspects such as compaction and giving greater porosity and improved holding. All this results in an increase in the aeration of the deeper layers that prevents the problems of oxygen deficiency at the roots.
  • It facilitates the passage of vehicles especially after periods of rain.
  • It is used to sow selected and specific grasses to keep weeds under control with which they enter into competition, avoiding the use of chemical weeding.

 

Vigneto inerbito

 

Compliance with a few simple requirements ensures that satisfactory results are achieved.

Firstly, an assessment of the characteristics of the soil and knowledge of the average volume of rainfall in the area and of the specific needs of the cropis necessary.

In particular, greater use of water and nitrogen fertilisers should be envisaged in the initial periods in order to avoid weakening the vineyard.

In the spring-summer periods or during periods characterised by high drought risks, it will be necessary to intervene more frequently with grass cutting, avoiding a situation where it reaches an excessive height that involves an increase in nutritional needs.

In particular conditions, such as in low fertile soils and in areas at high risk of drought, keeping the area covered by grasses can cause excessive competition with vines for nutrients and water absorption, especially in the absence of an irrigation system or with limited water availability.

In order to avoid compromising the advantages of grassing between rows and mitigating the criticalities, it is possibleto opt for grassing with alternate rows – or even one row every two – through which a grassy row is left while in the next one cultivation of the soil takes place. In this way, many of the benefits that the management of grassland brings with it are maintained, for example by minimising the competition between the herbaceous cover and the vines, it is possible to adopt this technique in each climatic zone.

 

Inerbimento a filari alterni, vantaggi

 

In the winter months the grassy soil manages to retain a greater quantity of water, a factor that prevents possible erosion of the row while in summer the grass counteracts the evaporation of water from the soil.

The Vignamatic cultivator created by Sicma simplifies the processing between rows, in particular when there is a need to leave them grassy in alternate rows. It is used to perform several processes simultaneously, such as inter-row cultivation with partial or alternating grass and inter-row processes.

 

Coltivatore vignamatic a lavoro

 

In detail, on the rows to be cultivated, it will be possible to use the machine with the complete configuration in which all the tools are operational: in this configuration Vignamatic acts as a combined cultivator that simultaneously works the inter-row soil with the central ploughshares and the sub-row (inter-rows) with the side tools, performing mechanical weeding, dislodging and mixing the soil and thereby incorporating the nutrients.

Once this operation is completed, by hydraulically lifting the central ploughshares, it is possible to return to the next row leaving it grassy. Upon the resumption of processing in this case of the sub-row, the frame remains in the original position, keeping the centre of gravity low and maintaining the same working height, thanks to the rear roller in contact with the ground.

 

 

Vignamatic is a very versatile cultivator and represents the best solution to perform multiple operations between rows with a single machine.

 

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