Some wood sticks planted in the ground and nevertheless, such a great project!
This is the distance of hedge that has been planted in border of our vineyard of Château Jacques Noir and along the nearby stream.
We call this hedge, riparian zone. From Latin “RIPA” means stream, a riparian zone or area is the interface between land andriver or stream. These 330 meters of hedge are composed of charcoal, dogwood, hazelnut, ash, willow, hawthorn…
This plantation is made by the local water agency and the Saint-Emilion vineyard association.
Why planting riparian area?
=> To enhance/secure the soils: many pedologists are blowing the whistle concerning the erosion of the French ground. The roots of the trees and bushes planted along the stream will be threaded to maintain the soil and stop erosion.
=> To control light and temperature: we can’t deny the global warming anymore, because it’s beginning to impact our farming techniques. The most evident solution seems to be the watering/irrigation, but we believe that irrigation should be the last resort. A better landscaping of our country is possible. Before the industrialization of agriculture, landscapes were composed of bocages, that is steams and ditches protected by the trees. The shadow of the leaves creates a cool atmosphere and reduces the temperature around. It’s also a natural wind breaker which is the main cause of water evaporation from soils.
=> To slow down the flow of rainwater: torrential rains in the winter will be more and more frequent (because of global warming). As proof, the important floods we had this winter. One of the solutions provided by these riparian area, is to slow down the flow of rainwater.
=> To ‘‘clean’’ the soil: always in link with the root system of the hedge, it will help to develop the microbiota (colony of micro-organisms) which will filter the nitrate and nitrogen pollution of the soils (sources : https://www.theses.fr/1994TOU30251).
=> And finally, to provide a shelter for wildlife: for obvious reasons, the hedge allows birds to nest, the tree species planted will be a food supply for the animals,…
If it’s so beneficial, why is everybody not planting riparian area along their streams?
This ecological advantage has not direct economic value. The hedge can be a concurent of the nearby vine, and it’s needs to be contained to keep a balance. The willow tree will be pruned according to a specific Agroforestry techniques, called pollarded trees. Each year, It will be cut in barter. The other species will be pruned each 3 or 5 years.
What about us?
330 meters of hedge, it is a drop in a such an extensive vineyard as Saint-Emilion. But as saying goes: “ the river is made drop by drop”.
We hope that this project will show, merely by observation, the benefits of riparian areas on it’s close environment, and like this, inspire more people to think about the landscaping of the vineyard.
Our project of plantation is not finished, the hedge will be prolonged by 80 meters in the next few years. We also have planted other same hedge this past few years, in château des Combes.
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