Viticulture and Orchards Supplies
Compost and mulch products for permanent plantings such as vines and tree crops require careful consideration and the types of products used varies across states, soil types and climatic conditions. It is not uncommon that there are competing grower needs which are best met by a blend of compost and mulch. Other amendments or specific blends are following consultation with our agronomists.
Weed suppression, moisture retention, soil organic matter improvement, plant nutrition and soil health and microbial activity are all components of an amalgamation of benefits that growers can be seeking when considering the use of compost and mulch.
Crop age, particularly in the case of vines can be a critical consideration. During the early years of establishment, key drivers tend to be soil health and nutrition, seeking rapid trellising and formation of the vine habit. In such cases, nutrient rich composts such as NitrohumusÒ are best suited. There is no issue with the additional nutrient load impacting the vineyard nutrient program. The products can be applied post planting however where possible, a pre-planting incorporation is preferable.
However, in more established plantings, it is more common to apply a relatively low nutrient compost such Greenlife "Mulch & Compost" which offers the benefits of soil conditioning, organic matter and microbial activity without significant nutrient load. Special blends are available, developed in concert with soil analysis. For additional information please consult one of our qualified agronomists or horticulturalists.
Where soil condition and soil organic matter is moderate or considered to be adequate then a low level maintenance application rate may be applied to hold the soil O.M. levels rather than see them depleted. This is most common in short rotation intensive cropping such as in vegetable production.
For permanent plantings, often the primary horticultural drivers are moisture retention and weed suppression. A range of mulches can be used, both composted and uncomposted. A composted mulch such as Vine Mulch is most commonly used. Whilst some vineyard managers don't want significantly improved soil conditioning they are happy to accept the slow addition to the soil that results from the gradual break down of the mulch. Equally, having already been partly exposed to the composting process, a composted mulch places less nutrient drawdown on the soil than an uncomposted mulch.
Uncomposted mulches such as Forest Blend are sometimes preferred where the soils are highly fertile with sufficient organic matter in the order of 4%. In such cases, moisture retention and or weed suppression are generally the key concerns. Uncomposted mulches will last in the order of 30% longer than composted mulch.
It is advisable to mulch to a minimum depth of 50mm, and preferably to a final depth of 75mm. As with all mulching it is important not to mulch tight to the tree or vine collar. Although relatively uncommon, collar rot can result during extended wet seasons and where excessive mulch is laid close to the trunk.
For additional information, the guides below published by the UNSW Recycled Organics Unit provide some specific considerations for mulching both vineyards and orchards including suggestions for particular growing regions.