Research Program:The goal of this program is to develop ecological approaches for sustainable vineyard floor management and determine impacts of management practices on weeds, grapevines, soil microbial communities, and soil quality for California viticulture. Three objectives have been defined: 1) effects of vineyard floor practices on soil organic matter dynamics and grapevine health, 2) effects of weed management practices and soil disturbance on soil microbial communities, and 3) alternatives to traditional pre-emergent chemicals for weed control. These initial subject areas will be broadened to include such issues as off-site effects of management practices (i.e., erosion, dust production), interactions of cover crops and weed management practices with beneficial insects and pests, identifying mechanisms for competition of weeds and cover crops with grapevines in newly established vineyards and economic costs of these various practices to identify those that enhance the competitive ability of California’s wine industry.
Biography:Dr. Steenwerth received her Ph.D. in Soil Science from UC Davis in 2003. Her dissertation research investigated the links between soil microbial communities and transformations of soil carbon and nitrogen along a gradient in land-use history and soil disturbance. She completed a postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Dr. David Smart in the Department of Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis where she studied the effects of cover crops and vineyard floor management on soil carbon sequestration. In 2004, Dr. Steenwerth joined the USDA-ARS in Davis, CA.