Weed Abatement Lafond Vineyards

Weeds miraculously grow even when there is no rain. You can disc the rows but in between the vines it is more difficult. There are three ways to control the weeds. You can hoe by hand, which is incredibly expensive, and we sometimes have to resort to this if the weeds are large and out of control. The second is herbicide, similar to what many people use on their lawns, but you can only do it when plants are dormant, and it is not in keeping with our goal of sustainable farming.

The third is mechanical. The photo shows a new machine, we are testing, which consists of blades on both sides which shear the weeds just below ground and retract when passing a vine. Many of the machines we have tried and used in the past took out the weeds but they also took out the vine. This machine looks very promising and we plan on using it next spring.

The driver is working a Chardonnay block we planted last year. Weeds are always more difficult the first two years because of the need to water more frequently, as the plant matures and develops its root system there is much less need to irrigate.

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