The experimental activities of this WP have the objective to study the impact of biochar as soil amendment in vine- and apple cultivation. For this purpose, three different field trials are planned.
The first field trial will be established in a commercial vineyard, which is already in production, characterized by the presence of a typical, appreciated South Tyrolean white grape variety. Six experimental treatments are foreseen, which include two different types of biochar (selected from those collected in WP 3 and characterized in WP 5) activated or not with compost, a pure compost and a completely untreated control. The same trial will host parts of the research activities conduced in collaboration with the Free University of Bolzano and described in the WP 8, 9 and 10. WP 7 will evaluate the effects of the treatments on the growth dynamic of the vines and on the grape yields at harvest. The important qualitative descriptors of the grapes will be established and a vinification process will be undertaken for assessing possible negative impacts.
In a second field trial, the same theses will be tested, but in a newly established vine plantation. The soil amendments will be incorporated into the soil directly on the vine row, before the vine-plants are planted. In this way, it will be possible to incorporate the biochars in an optimal manner and in the deeper soil layers. The aim is to study the influence of the different treatments on growth and initial development of the young vines.
A third trial will be undertaken in a young apple orchard at the plantation establishment. The growth of the young trees will be monitored carefully to assess the potential of the biochar treatments to ameliorate or even to compensate re-planting depressions in young apple plantations. Re-planting depressions are frequently observed in South Tyrol since apple monocultures are common in the area.