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Open AccessArticle

Cover Crops Affect Performance of Organic Scarlotta Seedless Table Grapes Under Plastic Film Covering in Southern Italy

1
Research Centre for Viticulture and Enology, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, CREA, 70010 Turi (BA), Italy
2
Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, CREA, 70125 Bari, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 550; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040550
Received: 27 February 2020 / Revised: 7 April 2020 / Accepted: 8 April 2020 / Published: 10 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agroecology and Organic Agriculture for Sustainable Crop Production)
In sustainable or organic vineyard systems, the introduction of cover crops could represent a powerful tool for farmers to influence, positively, the agro-ecosystem by promoting the whole soil-plant system equilibrium. Concerning table grape production, nitrogen fertilizers are medium-high; for environmental aspects, organic viticulturists are more interested in legume inter-row cover crops. Research on cover crop effects was carried out in 2015–2016, on organic table grapes (the Sugranineteen variety) in Mediterranean conditions. Three inter-row soil management techniques were compared: (TR) inter-row spacing was cultivated with subterranean clover; (V) inter-row spacing with common vetch incorporated in the soil as green manure, and (RC) inter-row spacing with common vetch flattened by the roller crimper technique, making a living mulch. No significant difference was recorded in grapevine water status among the treatments. RC vines performed the highest net photosynthesis rate from shoot growth to veràison. Cover crops did not affect cluster weight, berry weight, and juice composition; however, they influenced berry detachment force. Our research findings confirmed that legume cover crops (subterranean clover and common vetch) increased soil organic matter and could represent an economic and sustainable soil use to reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizers applied in table grape production. View Full-Text
Keywords: organic viticulture; vine characteristics; soil management; water status; leaf gas exchange organic viticulture; vine characteristics; soil management; water status; leaf gas exchange
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tarricone, L.; Debiase, G.; Masi, G.; Gentilesco, G.; Montemurro, F. Cover Crops Affect Performance of Organic Scarlotta Seedless Table Grapes Under Plastic Film Covering in Southern Italy. Agronomy 2020, 10, 550.

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