As a perennial crop, grape production implicates many practices that deplete soil health, and overtime decrease or limit vine productivity. A majority of the vineyards in the Lake Erie grape region have been in production for over 50 years, with an intense regiment of management practices leading to a range of soil health problems. To combat these problems some growers are turning to cover crops as a floor management practice. 

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Buckwheat

Extracts soil phosphorus.

Attracts pollinators.

Suppresses weeds.

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Crimson clover

Nitrogen fixer.

Suppresses weeds.

Protects soil from erosion.

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Prairie grass

Protects soil from erosion.

Suppresses weeds.

Adds organic matter to soil.

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rye grass

Increases percolation.

Reduces erosion.

Reduces compaction.

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sunflower mix

Attracts beneficial insects (pollinators/beneficial predators).

Suppresses weeds.

Increases water-holding capacity of the soil.

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sweetpea

Nitrogen fixer.

Tolerant of cold temperatures.

Water-efficient.

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Tillable radish

Control erosion.

Suppress weeds.

Roots create deep channels for water to move through the soil and become more accessible.

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Wildflower mix

Attracts beneficial insects.

Suppresses weeds.

Adds organic matter to the soil.

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wild mustard

Manage soil-borne pathogens. (Biofumigation)

Suppresses weeds.

Generally winterkills. (26 degrees Fahrenheit)

See more pictures of our cover crop trials here.

Check out our podcasts for more information on cover crops:

Cover Crops Part 1

Cover Crops Part 2

Farm Viability Cover Crop Trial

CLEREL Open House: Cover Crops