Have you ever wondered why there are plants of roses in the vineyard? It is very common to see rose bushes in Tuscan vineyards, as you can admire also here in Poggio al Bosco, where there are many plants of roses in front of every line. But have you ever wondered why they are planted like this? Is it just for aesthetics or there are also other purposes? As it is often the truth is somewhere in-between.
In the past: roses as vineyard’s guardians
In the past the rose’s role was as a sentinel: it was called, and it is called still today a “spy plant”, because it shows at first any diseases symptoms or parasites that could attack the grapes. Her enemies are many: the famous “mal bianco” (powdery mildew), a mildew that penetrates inside the grapes, breaking them. This way, other parasites, like “muffa grigia” (grey mildew), like the bacterical tumor, or metcalfa’s red and yellow spiders, can enter and damage the grapes. Rose bushes planted at the beginning of each line helped to check and supervise the grape’s health condition. Roses made risk prevention much easier and helped to act quickly reducing the damages.
Today: roses to give prestige
Today, the advancement of agrarian techniques and the development of new scientific systems have made the sentinel role of roses unnecessary. However, it is a procedure still used by farmers. It is mostly used by traditional farmers, to preserve natural and biological cicles, without using invasive techniques. And in this way, it is possible to obtain genuine and organic fruits and organic/high quality products.