Soil Tips For a Vineyard

If you have an interest in growing grapes one thing you need to consider is the soil type in which you will be planting your vines.

Perhaps the best thing you can do if you are serious about growing grapes is to call on the services of a professional to test the soil. When the test is done you should then be able to discuss with the expert what types of grapes would be suitable to plant on your land.

Here are some points to consider:

  • All good vineyard soils should have some minerals that are vital to the health of the vines, these include calcium which is useful to help neutralize the soil pH levels.
  • The presence of iron is essential as well, as it plays a key role in photsynthesis.
  • Magnesium is another to tick off your list as it is an import component of chlorophyll
  • To help with the grape vine's total health, nitrogen, which is assimilated in the form of nitrates, must be present; as well as, phosphates which are good for root development and potassium which improves the vine's metabolism.

The USDA Soil Conservation Service is a great source if you are looking for additional information about soil. Soil Drainage is another key component when growing grapes. The land on which you plant your grapes should have good internal soil drainage. Ideally you want an area contracting of thin topsoil and subsoil that soaks up some water, but also has good drainage. You would also be looking for at least 30 inches of unobstructed soil depth.

If you have soil that allows rain water to accumulate this could result in root rot. The water displaces oxygen and this is not good for the roots. To know if you have good internal drain look for bright uniformly-yellowish-brown or brown subsoil. If you see subsoil with mottled or dark gray color this can be a sign of poor drain. If the general topography is favorable you could look to use tile drains to assist with drainage.

Soil texture is formed by the mixture of sand, silt and clay. How they mix together determines the texture in your particular location. Sandy soil is going to look grainy and is important for drainage. Clay like soil is more sticky and is important for nutrient retention.

You need to know your soil texture so that you can best plan your irrigation and fertilization processes. If you manage what you have, vineyards with soil texture ranging from sandy loams to heavy clay and silty-clay looms can all produce good grape vines. Your site selection should not be too steep as this lends itself to soil erosion.