Nematodes

Now that Nemacure is not available anymore, how does one control nematodes? Information would be most appreciated. Thanking you in anticipation, George M

Answer: Nematodes, which are microscopic, worm-shaped, plant-parasitic animals, are highly damaging and can be widespread. They can be found in all major field crops, and on turf, perennials and legumes. In large crops, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the best practice, including prevention, avoidance, monitoring and suppression. There are some chemical management controls for large operations but you would need to identify the species of nematode and degree of infestation you have, and for this you need to contact your local extension office for guidance.

If you are dealing with a single plant infestation, there are a couple of things to try. I was able to rid a hosta of the foliar nematode parasite by super-heating the root system.  This is accomplished by removing the plant and washing off all soil from the roots and removing any diseased foliage, then dipping the plant roots up to the crown in water of no more than 123F for 4-8 minutes, followed by dipping in cold water. Some suggest using a 1% bleach solution. Repot or plant immediately. Since nematodes can survive in the soil for a period of time, it’s wise to replace the soil in the area or replant in a different location. I took this one step further with my hosta by replanting in a pot and leaving it in my greenhouse/barn where temps get quite high in the summer.  I made sure it had sufficient moisture for survival then left it in the pot isolated from other plants through the winter before returning it to the garden after new growth showed no signs of infestation.

Another option is total soil sterilization or adding organic matter in the soil to increase the amount of microbes that provide some natural control for nematodes. Without knowing exactly what form of nematode you are dealing with, foliar or root, any products on the shelf for ornamental landscape plants may or may not be effective.  Most products are labeled for root nematodes. The effectiveness of these products is still in question.

Always check plants for damage when shopping for new additions to your landscape. Do not purchase any stock that shows signs of disease or infection, and if in doubt, quarantine the plants before integrating them into your landscape.

Good luck with the nematodes,

Karen

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