Collection and estimation of root material are likely some of the greatest challenges of whole-plant sampling. As with other perennial crops, season of sample collection is also a challenge in grape whole-plant sampling. Our interest is in collecting grape whole-plant samples from an established (>25-year-old) vineyard to study plant nutrient partitioning. Before launching into routine sampling, two techniques were compared for very fine, fine, and coarse root distribution. For very fine and fine root sampling, soil cores were collected in a radial pattern around the vine trunk at eight sample points, each either 20, 60, 120 cm from the trunk or 50, 100, and 150 cm from the trunk. Roots were washed from the soil material, separated into fractions and weighed. For evaluation of techniques for sampling fine and coarse roots, roots were either excavated by tracing them from the trunk in about a 1-m3 soil volume or by extracting about the same soil volume using a backhoe and shaking the soil free of the roots. Overall, the more narrow soil core sampling gave a greater total root mass and both the tracing and backhoe methods gave similar results. In addition, pruning weight measurement is also frequently measured in grape research. We compared using the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) device, the “Greenseeker”™, with pruning mass to determine if this device could be used as a non-destructive measurement for grape pruning weight.
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