Mechanical soil work is more complicated than it seems and has generally negative consequences. Too frequent and above all too deep, it disrupts the biological activity of soils by accelerating the mineralization of organic matter, it destroys the stable structure of soils dominated by fine particles (clays, silts and fine sands), it reduces the work of surface and depths of the different categories of earthworms which are in fact our real tillers. However, it is excessive to link the deficit of earthworms in the soil to excessive plowing...simple compaction may be a more important reason. Superficial plowing can therefore sometimes be useful to decompact compacted soil, it is also necessary under the row but must remain very superficial here to manage the excess of weeds which can become excessively competitive; there is no problem provided you “take the land” at the right time as our winegrowers say: neither too dry nor too wet; neither too early nor too late. Quantitative monitoring of the different categories of earthworms and a measurement of the level of soil compaction can be implemented in order to monitor the quality of biological activity and the texture of the surface soils. Although plowing should be avoided as much as possible, the use of chemical herbicides should be completely avoided in Agro-Synergy! Without ever having really used them, we have completely abandoned them for 20 years, but only for good reasons and not for those classically invoked by obscurantist ecologists. Contrary to what is claimed, weedkillers do not sterilize the soil but it is true that they profoundly modify its microbiota. We must stop talking about “dead soil” as soon as the plant cover disappears on the surface. The soil microbiota changes and adapts to these new conditions and earthworms swarm again. Nevertheless, it is certain that, in addition to the fact that the root system of the weeded vine becomes more superficial and therefore more sensitive to climatic hazards with an assimilation of nutrients also modified, it emerges from the analysis of the microbiota of the soil and the plant 12 that the prolonged use of herbicide molecules can, by altering the balance of the microbiotic ecosystem, promote the emergence or spread of previously discreet diseases, particularly those affecting wood! For me, this is an absolutely critical point, currently largely underestimated, and which could explain a large part of the dismay among winegrowers on this subject. If the soils between the rows have not been plowed for nearly 20 years, we are however keen to work the space under the row, the cavaillon, with superficial work at the Chou
, MY., Vanden Heuvel, J., Bell, TH et al. Vineyard under-vine floor management alters soil microbial composition, while the fruit microbiome shows no corresponding shifts. SciRep 8, 11039 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018- 29346-1 2 Role of the soil microflora in the definition and the development of the notion of 'Terroir'. Can it affect the composition and the quality of the wines? Pascal CHATONNET XVIII CONGRESO NACIONAL DE ENÓLOGOS & II ENCUENTRO DE ENÓLOGOS DE IBEROAMERICA Palencia, Castilla y León, April 4-6, 2019.
covering discs (to a depth of around 10cm) to bring the earth under the vines with the aim of covering and smothering competitive weeds, generating humidity and less ventilation at the level of the clusters if they do not were not properly controlled. This cavaillon is then removed (the foot is freed from its cavaillon) using the traditional decavating plow, three times a year on average, as our elders did. This work is necessarily slow and meticulous; it requires technical skill and precision so as not to accidentally cut the feet. Modern equipment
now available hardly do a better job because speed is often prioritized over quality…
The Ancients attached great importance to removing shoes, we see it specified in certain leases; Palladius after Columella devotes several paragraphs to him. A special tool was used, the dolabella, whose shape should not be confused with that of the great dolabre and which survived for a long time as a vineyard tool. is probably her that we see in the vase representing Herakles working on the vines of Syleus.
Given the surfaces in question and the economic means, it is not easy to generalize the use of animal traction to carry out this work. The animal certainly reduces the compaction of the soil caused by the passage of heavy tractors because it never rests its paw twice on the same place. I have no opposition to this option. On the contrary, I regret not being able to implement it on my scale as a small wine grower for technical and especially economic reasons. But above all, we must avoid submitting to the demagoguery of reserving a small plot of land to take the pretty photograph…
We use vineyard tractors and especially straddlers (which overhang the row) whose weight we constantly seek to limit in order to reduce soil compaction. Forgotten the powerful and massive tractors, versatile and attractive but excessively heavy... This settlement is in any case limited by the permanent grassing of all our
Amouretti Marie-Claire. Ancient viticulture: constraints and technical choices. In: Revue des Études Anciennes. Volume 90,
1988, n°1-2. pp. 5-17
soils so that the porosity destroyed by each passage of heavy machinery is
naturally recreated by the root system of the plant cover. Periodic soil decompaction (every 3 to 5 years depending on the soil) is in any case recommended provided that you use tools that do not destroy the soil profile (fine, vibrating teeth, without turning the soil) and carry out this work when the epigeal and anecic fauna of earthworms is at rest at depth, that is to say during the winter.
At the same time, the permanent plant cover in all rows allows us to pass over the ground without risk of getting stuck after a rain to carry out the spraying necessary for phytosanitary protection during critical periods.
On the most gravelly or sandy soils which have less useful water reserve, it may exceptionally prove useful to temporarily destroy the permanent grass cover in the event of prolonged summer drought in order to reduce water loss and harmful competition with has-
screw the vine. A superficial scalping is carried out: the cover is simply detached from the ground and dries out, but it will naturally come back to life as soon as the autumn rains return.