Student Researches the Ecology of Grape-Growing with Cornell Cooperative Extension

Matthew Gura '14 blogs about his research on leaching of pollutants and fertilizers into groundwater in vineyards at Long Island Research and Extension Center...


By Matthew Gura via Cornell Cooperative Extension, 7/18/13

Matthew Gura is doing a summer internship at the Long Island Research and Extension Center with Cornell Cooperative Extension. He is blogging about his experiences in the field, which you can read here.

He will be conducting and maintaining ongoing research trials concerning under-vine cover crop and under-vine mowing trials. Leaching of fertilizers and pesticides into the ground water is of paramount concern in Long Island as their primary source of water is a series of underground aquifers. The depth to some of these aquifers beneath the soil surface is quite shallow. The idea behind the use of under-vine cover crops is simple and practical: it may reduce inputs for the farmer, and thus may be a more economically and environmental sustainable practice. Specifically, the farmer may reduce his need to apply herbicides beneath the vine due to the efficacy of cover crops to suppress local weed pressures. Additionally, certain cover crop species or mixes of species may eliminate the need for the grower to purchase or operate an under-vine mower. Finally, it is possible that root systems of these cover crops may serve as an agent to sequester potential leachates. In plots within the research vineyard at LIREC as well as in various local vineyards, my project is looking at the effectiveness of certain common cover crops such as dutch white clover and a “low grow, no mow” fescue in accomplishing the aforementioned aims.

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