Conventional methods of weed management in vineyards rely primarily on herbicides and tillage. The desire to adopt alternatives to these methods is driven by environmental and economic reasons. Weed suppression and grape yield under mulched cover crop systems at two rainfed northern California vineyards were similar to, and at times exceeded, those under conventional tillage or herbicide management. Cover crop productivity was positively correlated with weed suppression and mulch decomposition rates and seemed to be determined primarily by location and then by cover crop type. The mulch from mowed cover crops averaged 603(± 94) gm−2 at the two sites. Weed suppression was linked to light interception by the mulch cover for most weed species. Subterranean clover planted directly in the vine row significantly reduced weed cover where it established. The increased dominance of the perennial Convolvulus arvensis and reduction of certain annual species was indicative of species compositional changes in all treatments. Profits under the cover cropping systems exceeded those under conventional tillage and herbicide systems by € 794 ha−1 averaged over the duration of the experiment at both locations.



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