Nematode Control

Nematode samples & microscope

S. Bruce Martin, Extension Plant Pathologist       

Plant parasitic nematodes are small, microscopic, thread-like animals that utilize a stylet to puncture and feed from plant cells.  In turf, these nematodes are root parasites.  Nematodes are important turf pests in SC, particularly in sandy native soils of the Sandhills and coastal regions, but also in artificial, sand-based rootzone mixes on putting greens or athletic fields.  Depending on the species of nematode and the numbers in soil, they are capable of contributing heavily to the decline of turf.  However, many times weak turf is blamed on nematodes when poor cultural practices, fungi, insects, nutrient problems, soil compaction, poor drainage, or other environmental problems may be the more serious factor leading to the decline.  All of these other stresses can also make nematode damage worse.  Therefore, correct diagnosis is important to adequately address the problem and determine if the use of a nematicide is warranted.  more...