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Root-Knot Nematodes

Description: So-called "eel-worms" are only 1/50" long, with thin, translucent bodies. Over 990 species of plant-attacking nematodes are known. Occurring naturally in large numbers throughout the U.S., especially in the Southeast, they plague vegetables, ornamental plants and trees. Infested plants are usually stunted, lighter in color, and lower in yield than healthy plants. Roots have swellings, galls, or knots in which the nematodes live. They rob the plant of food and make root crops such as carrots unsightly or completely unusable. On a warm day infested plants wilt severely. If your plants are sickly, bearing poorly, wilting, or have died for no apparent reason, look at their roots.

Solution: Surprisingly, Beneficial Sf Nematodes provide excellent control of root-knot nematodes. Cultural practices are also important. Soil rich in organic matter is a favorable environment for fungi, some of which control plant-attacking nematodes, so maintain a high humus content in garden soil. An annual program of tilling under organic matter and growing a cover crop (especially Winter Rye) for spring turnover is important. (Root-knot nematodes enter the roots of rye and are trapped and destroyed when the rye is turned under. Also, when the rye is turned under, a substance toxic to nematodes is produced.)


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