Under-Vine Vegetation Mitigates the Impacts of Excessive Precipitation in Vineyards

Justine Vanden Heuvel, Michela Centinari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Excessive precipitation events have greatly increased in several grape growing regions due to human-caused climate change. These heavy downpours result in a myriad of problems in the vineyard including soil aggregate breakdown, soil runoff, nutrient leaching, excessive vine vegetative growth, and diseased fruit. The negative impacts of excessive precipitation events on vineyards are exacerbated by the maintenance of bare soil under the vines. Exposure of bare soil results in soil erosion and runoff which pollutes nearby watersheds; raindrops weaken and break apart soil aggregates, leading to increased soil erosivity and contributing to the formation of surface crusts. In addition to excessive precipitation events, some grape growing regions can be characterized by fertile soils. The availability of ample water and nutrients can lead to highly vigorous vines with shoot growth continuing through harvest. Long shoots and large leaves result in shaded fruit, a humid vine microclimate, and excessive cluster rot. In this review, we examined how either natural (i.e., resident) or seeded under-vine vegetation (UVV) can help mitigate many of the problems associated with excessive precipitation. Through providing vegetative coverage to reduce the force of raindrops, increasing soil organic matter and enhancing soil microbial diversity, UVV can reduce the soil degradation and off-site impacts caused by excessive precipitation events. Through competition for soil resources, UVV can reduce excessive vegetative growth of vines and decrease cluster rot incidence and severity, although grapevine response to UVV can be highly variable. We discussed recent advances in understanding below and aboveground vine response and acclimation to UVV and presented current evidence of factors influencing the impact of UVV on vine growth and productivity to assist practitioners in making informed decisions and maximize the ecosystem services provided by UVV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number713135
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
StatePublished - Jul 26 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


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