Grape quality starts at the roots
Vine productivity and grape quality are closely related not only to external factor, such as climatic conditions and canopy management, but also to the relationships formed between the roots and the dynamic and variable properties of the soil. Root density and distribution are affected by rootstock genotype, soil texture, soil water and nutrient availability, soil aeration. Vineyard practices, like ploughing or manuring and composting, can partially modified soil characteristics that hinder the correct root development. In order to establish appropriate vineyard management practices that focus on the health of the root system, it is crucial to understand their rhythms of growth and absorption. It is important to remember that root development is cyclical, with annual growth peaks which are not synchronous with above-ground growth and fruit ripening. The periodic growth of new root structures is aimed both at increasing overall root exploration range and at replacing senescent structures. Absorption of minerals, however, occurs subsequent to start of vine growth, inasmuch as in its initial stages of growth, the vine depends strictly on reserves accumulated over the preceding season by the permanent organs. This seasonal development should be taken into account for appropriate fertilizer application. A desired natural distribution of a root system is characterized by an upper layer (feeder roots) primarily involved in the uptake of nutritive elements and the lower one (sinker roots) dedicated to water take-up in periods of need. This paper focuses on the soil factors that interact with vine root development and it highlights the relevance of the study of root physiology for improving vine productivity.
Tomasi, D. (2016). Grape quality starts at the roots. Acta Hortic. 1136, 1-10
root density, root distribution, root growth, soil management