Orchard and vineyard production is a complex system where every farm practice plays a specific, important role. The road to success is often paved with many obstacles. However, there are always some hidden tips and tricks that will significantly improve orchard and vineyard crop production.
Sometimes, the secret to successful farming lays in the smallest details, such as crop maintenance. Farmers wanting the best results often practice mowing to keep their orchards and vineyards well-maintained. Mowing involves manual or machine removal of grass and weeds.
Why Practice Mowing?
Mowing is a farm practice beneficial to the maintaining of permanent crops. The main advantages of mowing are:
- Weed control; due to their physical removal
- Insect pest and disease control; since many insects and diseases find weeds and grass to be favorable hosts, and later those pests move to the crop
- Reduced competition; there is more space created for crop development
- Soil improvement; mown grass left to decay improves the soil organic matter
- Easier access provided to the farmer for further farm management activities
How to Practice Mowing?
Farmers who decide to care for their orchards and vineyards by mowing will usually use one of two different types of mowing:
1. Mowing between the rows
The exact way of managing the space between the rows largely depends on the climate conditions, amount of precipitation, planting space, soil type, and terrain slope. These are all preconditions that are important to consider before deciding to choose mowing or some other maintenance practice.
Additionally, it’s possible to combine grassing or growing cover crops between the rows (for instance: legumes are especially beneficial due to their roots that improve nitrogen fixation). Mown cover crops left to decay are helpful in improving soil.
The most common way of mowing the space between the rows is mechanized mowing.
2. Mowing within the rows
The space within the rows (also called the space between the plants) is usually mowed manually. Aside from manual mowing, it’s often left for grassing. When mowing the space between the plants, it’s important to take care not to harm the plant.
Mowing as a Useful Practice
Mowing is a beneficial maintenance practice, that has only two potential disadvantages. One of those disadvantages lies in the frequency of mowing. Farmers working towards a well-maintained orchard or vineyard practice mowing several times during the season, especially when the weather conditions are favorable for grass growth, such as during rain and warm temperatures.
Another potential disadvantage is possible reckless mowing that may harm the plant. However, when managed carefully mowing is a very useful maintenance practice that could make your orchard and vineyard look like a paradise.