Cover crops can be used in various ways in the course of the growing season. The selection of a suitable method depends on various factors that may include the following, inter alia: the vigour of the grapevines, ground water levels, incidence of frost, incidence of undesirable nematodes, the weed status of the vineyard and the current biomass of the cover crop that was planted. Producers have wide-ranging requirements, furthermore the vineyards and the surface status of the vineyard will determine which choice is suited to each specific production unit. Care should be taken not to follow recipes without further ado, and an attempt should be made, as far as possible, to manage the cover crops of each vineyard block optimally during the growing season.

The following photos illustrate examples of various techniques that are implemented to address the requirements of both grapevines and producers:

PHOTO 1. Oats cover crop which is sprayed with contact herbicide before bud burst. This cover crop suppresses weeds successfully and remains upright after the implementation of the spraying action. The cover crop was sprayed before bud burst to eliminate competition with the grapevines (photo: Francois Viljoen).
PHOTO 2. Triticale cover crop which is sprayed with systemic herbicide before bud burst. This cover crop disintegrates in due course after the spraying action. The cover crop was sprayed before bud burst to eliminate competition with the grapevines.
PHOTO 3. Alternative rows of triticale sprayed with systemic herbicide before bud burst. Every second row is retained for wind protection and the withdrawal of ground water during years of high rainfall. Such rows are usually rolled flat before veraison.

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PHOTO 4. Triticale cover crop which is sprayed with contact herbicide before bud burst. In view of the fact that the triticale remains upright after being sprayed, it is rolled flat with a roller to form a cover layer.
PHOTO 5. Lupin cover crop planted in organic vineyards. The crop was rolled flat to form a cover layer, mainly to suppress weeds and sustain the levels of ground water (photo: Johan Viljoen).
PHOTO 6. Example of a roller that is used to flatten cover crops.
PHOTO 7. Oats cover crop that was sprayed before it could bud. This cover crop is baled and the bales may be used for other purposes (photo: Francois Viljoen).
PHOTO 8. Example of a baler that fits between the vineyard rows (photo: Francois Viljoen).
PHOTO 9. Lupin cover crops that are cut into the soil with a disc. Here the cover crop is used to accumulate organic matter in the soil, as well as a source of green fertilisation (photo: Francois Viljoen).
PHOTO 10. Triticale cover crop is flattened with a disc in areas where the possibility of frost is high. This practice improves aeration under the grapevines so that cold air does not accumulate and cause frost damage (photo: Francois Viljoen).
PHOTO 11. Given high vigour circumstances and sufficient soil moisture, ‘Medics’ is able to continue growing throughout spring. It will die spontaneously to form a good cover crop (photo: Francois Viljoen).
PHOTO 12. A cover crop of subterranean clover which typically dies spontaneously in December/January and forms a good cover crop.
PHOTO 13. Permanent cover crops such as ‘Fescue’ are used in vigorously growing vineyards. These cover crops are typically trimmed with a shrub beater so that the growth of the cover crop keeps competing with the growth of the grapevine (photo: Francois Viljoen).

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