Effect of manure application timing on roots, canopy and must quality in Vitis vinifera 'Merlot': a case study in Italy, North-East
The maintenance and improvement of soil fertility are among the most important management practices in viticulture. The system efficiency fertilization (SEF) which is a new concept based on a maximum utilization of organic fertilizers (i.e., manure) has become very important, especially within the organic viticulture sector, since other fertilizers are not allowed. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of different manure application timing on the root, shoot, and the grapevine yield, accumulation, and quality of biochemical compounds in the grape must since the timing effect was not previously investigated. The study was carried out on 'Merlot' variety organically cultivated, whose production aims at obtaining high-quality red wines. Three treatments were applied: NT (Non-Treated), T1 (Treated1- manure applied in late October) and T2 (Treated2 - manure applied in late February). After two study-years, the undertaken research has shown positive influences of soil manure application on the canopy features (T1), yield, and yield components (T2), along with a major accumulation of the primary metabolites (T2) (soluble solid, carbohydrates, chlorophyll). Yet, the secondary metabolites (polyphenols and anthocyanins) were promoted in the grape must at harvest time, especially when the manure was applied in late October (T2). Considering the benefits of manure application in the T2, after two study years, this timing is recommended in order to improve 'Merlot' grapes for high-quality red wine production.
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