The need for reducing costs and making grape production more sustainable has prompted the search for alternative weed control practices that optimize production while maintaining profits. For this reason, it is imperative to understand how different weed management practices modify vine–weed interactions. In the present study, we evaluated the effect on weed growth and Zinfandel grapevine growth and production of five weed control practices: (1) flumioxazin, (2) simazine, (3) cultivation, (4) cover crop, and (5) untreated control. The herbicide treatments had the lowest weed biomass, followed by the cultivation, being approximately 10 and 2 times lower than the weed biomass of either the cover crop or untreated control treatments, respectively. However, the differences in grape yield were not as evident. In 2006, a rainy year, the herbicides and cultivation treatments did not differ in grape yield, but the cover crop and untreated control had a reduction of approximately 20% compared with the other treatments. In 2007, a dry year, in comparison to the herbicide treatments, the grape yield reductions of cultivation were around 22%, and those of the cover crop and untreated control were around 48%. Although the cover crop reduced grape yield, it suppressed weed species considered important, such as horseweed, panicle willowherb, scarlet pimpernel, and sowthistle. Also, it was concluded that vines can tolerate a certain amount of weed competition, and that properly timed postemergence control actions (e.g., cultivation or POST herbicides) could provide the necessary level of control to obtain the desired yields. However, under limited soil moisture conditions, the use of PRE herbicides could prove important to maintain vine yield and vigor.
Nomenclature: Flumioxazin; simazine; horseweed, Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronq.; panicle willowherb, Epilobium brachycarpum K. Presl.; scarlet pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis L.; sowthistle, Sonchus sp. L.; grape, Vitis vinifera L