20 August 1998
‘Solar carpet’ to help grapes and roses
FRENCH scientists have designed a “solar carpet” that fits beneath vines and helps grapes ripen.
The covering is made of aluminium strips woven in a mesh of polyethylene threads. It is reflective, permeable to rain, rot-resistant and robust enough to allow tractors run over it.
Called Vitexsol, it has been found to reflect solar radiation and increase the temperature inside the grape by up to 2°C.
Research conducted by the French agricultural institute, Inra, also found that the covering reduced the need for pesticides and herbicides by inhibiting pests and weeds.
Some horticulturists are considering using it to enhance the colour and scent of roses.
- Financial Times 20/08/98 page 13