Plant parasitic nematodes are microscopic worms that feed on virtually all plant life. They can cause substantial damage to plants by feeding on the roots, thus hampering or even destroying the plant's ability to absorb nutrients and water. Nematodes can also transmit plant pathogens or increase the susceptibility of plants to diseases. Nematode losses are not restricted to commercial growers. The home garden, landscape ornamentals, lawns, and fruit trees can also be severely damaged.
As a result of the root damage, plants show reduced growth, nutrient deficiency symptoms such as yellowing of foliage, excessive wilting in hot or dry weather, and reduced yields. Damage often occurs in randomly spaced patches in a field or yard.
The only way to positively identify the type and extent of a suspected nematode problem is by a laboratory assay of a soil sample. Ideally, this should be done before a crop is planted so the grower can choose a resistant variety, a non-host crop, or apply a nematicide if the assay results indicate a nematode problem. The optimum time to sample crops is near harvest. Lawns, trees, and shrubs may be sampled any time of the year. We recommend annual sampling for nematodes.
Samples may be submitted through the County Extension offices or directly to the laboratory. Each location has the supplies needed for submitting samples. The sample submission form for Nematode Assay may be found in the right-hand column of this page. Our laboratories include the Nematode Assay Lab, Plant Problem Clinic, Commercial Turfgrass Clinic and MPPD Lab. Our laboratory address is:
511 Westinghouse Road
Pendleton, SC 29670
Laboratory hours are Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
(closed during lunch hour, noon - 1:00 p.m.)