Viticulture and fruit culture in Mediterranean areas demand frequent tractor traffic in vineyards and orchards for tillage and for the application of herbicides and pesticides, resulting in soil compaction. The aim of this study was to investigate theextent of soil compaction and its effect on infiltration in vineyards and orchards in an area in southern France, known for its wine and fruit production (Vaucluse). Compaction of both the topsoil and the subsoil was demonstrated with measurements of bulk density, penetration resistance and water retention characteristics. Subsoil compaction was attributed to wheel load, not to tillage, and was alleviated within 5 years after termination of tillage operations in vineyards. No effects of topsoil compaction on infiltration were expected on account of the slight differences in the values of infiltration parameters between wheel tracks and inter-rill areas. Effects of subsoil compaction on infiltration were examined with rainfall simulation tests. Under wet initial conditions and high rain intensities, no effect of soil compaction on infiltration was observed. This implies that the frequent tractor traffic associated with viticulture and fruit culture does not enhance run-off on loamy soils in Mediterranean areas.
|Journal||Soil & Tillage Research|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|