What is a weed?
Control of weeds in vine: In the broadest sense of the word, a weed is a plant that germinates without having been sown in a land dedicated to a certain crop (in our case, the vineyard), resulting in its appearance detrimental to its normal development.
What are the effects of weeds on vine growing?
In viticulture, weeds (Figures 1 and 2) can negatively affect the development of the vine , both in the aerial part and in the underground part, given the competition that arises between the vineyard and the weeds to capture the resources available in the field (water and mineral elements).
In the short term, this competition generates a loss of vineyard yield , a loss of fruit quality and a decrease in vigor.
In the medium and long term, it can cause significant losses in bud fertility and production per plant , as well as accelerated aging of the strains (Reynier, 2002). In addition, these adventitious species are potentially virus transmitters, and are an important focus for pest accommodation.
How can weeds be eliminated in viticulture?
The oldest process of elimination of weeds lies in their elimination by manual processes (by hoes or weeders) or mechanized (through specific machinery), in order to bury, tear or cut the weeds to prevent their growth.
However, its effectiveness lies in the type of tool used and the type of weed to be removed, and it requires a great deal of time and human effort.
Thus, the chemical route through the use of herbicides is the most common practice for weed control (Ramteke et al., 2012).
Herbicides can be classified into two large groups:
– Pre-emergence herbicides: those that are applied to the ground when the grass has not yet germinated, so that they are subsequently absorbed by the plant when it germinates.
– Post-emergence herbicides: those that are applied directly on the weeds, avoiding impregnating green parts of the vineyard and pruning cuts, using adapted machinery (Figure 3).
Post-emergence herbicides can be contact (they have an effect on the area of the plant that they impregnate) or systemic (they are absorbed by the weed through the leaves, being then capable of being transported through the sap, destroying remotely the set of weed organs).
Commercial herbicide formulations for vine weed control:
Thus, we find different commercial formulations of herbicides on the market, among which it is worth highlighting:
1- those based on glyphosate (systemic post-emergence herbicide effective against all types of weeds, especially grasses),
2- amitrole (polyvalent herbicide effective against grasses and dicotyledons) and
3- oxyfluorfen (selective pre- and post-emergence herbicide effective against annual broad-leaved weeds and grasses) for the treatment of weeds in our vineyards.
These compounds must ensure the disappearance of these species without being toxic to the vine even after years of use due to cumulative effect.
More information on vine weed control:
Weed control – Organic viticulture
Automated herbicide application in vineyard.