The BIOVINE project has developed natural solutions based on plant diversity to control pests and reduce pesticide dependence. Application of polyculture cover crops in organic vineyards may possibly increase resistance to pests and invasive species. In this study aim was to develop innovative viticultural systems based on increased plant diversity within (e.g., cover crops) and/or around (e.g., hedges, vegetation spots, edgings) vineyards by planting selected plant species (e.g. Lolium prenne, Onobrychis vicifolia, Vicia sativa, Sinapis, Trifolium repens) for the control of foliar pathogens by reducing the inoculum spread from soil in Italian vineyards. During two experimental seasons, different soil managements was applied and some of them resulted suppressive against spread of soil-born fungal diseases in both treated (fungicide) and untreated plots. The effect of the different cover crops was quite visible in the end of the first observation. For instance, downy mildew diseases severity on leaves was lower in some cover crop mixtures compared to traditional and untreated plots while the quality parameters assessed at harvest (pH, treatable acidity, sugar content and yield) where not statistically different between different soil managements. Indicated results here will give a sight to consider cover crops as integrated practice for enhancing sustainable viticulture.
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