During the winter2003/2004, we have pulled out a plot on the Côte de Lechet. The soil must rest during 5 years minimum in order to reduce the symptoms of vine deformation (court-noué in French) on the future plantation. This virus is indeed very present on the soils planted with vines since a long time and so on all the best terroirs of Burgundy.
In order to reduce its expression, there are several solutions: the rest of soil because, without host plant, the virus and its vector the nematode, have to quit the place if not for always, at least for a while. Another solution consists of devitalizing the vine before to pull out. By this way, all the roots and rootlets staying on the soil after pulling out will be dead and so unable to feed the nematodes. The last solution is the disinfection of the soils with very poisonous products eliminating the nematodes.
We are not doing that for different reasons. First these products are very pollutant. Second, the product cannot penetrate on all the depth of the soil whereas the roots are colonizing all the horizons. So, we believe it is useless to disinfect the first cm of the soil if all the deep horizons are still infested. And last reason: we are making a lot of efforts to stimulate the life on our soils so it would be totally illogical to disinfect everything before planting.
Thanks to our good management of our surfaces on Côte de Lechet, we can wait few years before replanting. According to the cases, the soil can be left bare or planted with an annual plant. We have chosen to sow Phacelia tanacetifolia. This plant is interesting for several reasons. It improves the structure of the soil thanks to its roots system and it avoids the development of weeds. It is also a green fertilizer because it will be buried into the soil by ploughing few months before planting. Tests on fields have also shown an effect against nematodes.
And, last but not least, Phacelia has also an aesthetic advantage because it is flowering during 4 to 6 weeks and a gastronomic interest because this melliferous plant is highly appreciated by bees. A good way to combine efficiency and pleasure !