Getting to know the nematode

By and |  April 14, 2017 0 Comments

Turfgrasses on many golf courses are under constant disease pressure, especially from nematode feeding damage. Sting nematode (Belonolaimus longicaudatus) is one of the most damaging turf pathogens. Root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.) is also damaging, but feeds and reproduces within the roots and can be difficult to reach with nematicides. Little is known about how sting and root-knot nematodes move within the soil profile or where they primarily reside during the different seasons in North Carolina and the southeastern United States. A better understanding of nematode population dynamics throughout the year can lead to more effective control.

The photo on the left is an untreated area with severe sting nematode feeding damage. The photo on the right is on the same putting green, but nematicide application was properly timed.

The photo on the left is an untreated area with severe sting nematode feeding damage. The photo on the right is on the same putting green, but nematicide application was properly timed.

Our objectives are to determine the population dynamics of sting and root-knot nematodes within the soil profile of golf course greens. Twelve-inch soil cores were taken from the perimeter of golf course greens throughout central North Carolina and sectioned into three 4-inch sections. We extracted nematodes and counted.

Primary findings from this study show that during the winter and early spring months, a majority of the sting nematode population is found in the top 4 inches of the soil column. However, in the late spring and summer months the nematode population moves deeper, between 4 and 12 inches in the soil column. We found root-knot nematodes exclusively within the top 4 inches of the soil column throughout the entire year.

The findings indicate that nematicide application should occur earlier in the season, when both sting and root-knot nematodes are found within the top 4 inches of the soil column. This can increase the potential for nematode-nematicide contact and help lower the population before they start to increase in numbers and move deeper heading into the stressful summer months.

Glenn Galle and Jim Kerns, Ph.D., are at North Carolina State University. You may reach Glenn at ghgalle@ncsu.edu for more information.

photo: Glenn Galle

This article is tagged with and posted in Featured, Research


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