Tall fescue helps protect peach trees from nematodes

November 29, 2011

Planting tall fescue grass as a ground cover in peach orchards helps protect peach trees from nematodes that attack tree roots, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists.

In a study published in the Journal of Nematology in 2010, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant pathologists Andy Nyczepir at the Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, Ga., and Susan Meyer at the Nematology Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., tested several tall fescue varieties to find out if they could thwart four troublesome root-knot nematode species--Meloidogyne incognita, M. hapla, M. javanica, and M. arenaria.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and the research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

In the study, Nyczepir and Meyer found that a commercial tall fescue, MaxQ, prevented M. incognita and M. hapla from reproducing. M. javanica has a low level of reproduction on MaxQ, but M. arenaria can reproduce on it.

Traditionally, growers have fumigated peach orchard soils prior to planting and then used a nematode-resistant rootstock. But in recent years, growers have faced tough times that have made it difficult to afford preplant fumigants, such as Telone II or Vapam. Many growers also have difficulty fumigating at the recommended time of year because of conflicts with managing other crops.

In Georgia, rotation with coastal Bermuda grass, which can also be harvested for hay, is recommended for control of root-knot nematode. According to Nyczepir, their studies show that MaxQ may have potential as a preplant control strategy for M. incognita and M. hapla in southeastern and northeastern areas of the United States. Using this tall fescue as a preplant cover crop treatment may allow growers to reduce the use of chemical nematicides.

Preliminary data from the team's field trials using MaxQ as a preplant cover crop have so far found that peach trees planted after the are larger than those planted in soil that is not fumigated.

Explore further: Soybean varieties viable in southern Indiana, resistant to root-knot nematode

More information: Read more about this research in the November/December 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine. www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/nov11/nematodes1111.htm

Related Stories

Grass germplasm collection also includes fungal endophytes

January 28, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- One of the world's largest collections of cool-season forage and turf grasses is located at the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station (WRPIS), operated in Pullman, Wash., by the U.S. Department of Agriculture ...

'Fire gel' protects beneficial nematodes from sun

February 3, 2011

"Fire gel" is being tested by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists as an effective way to help tiny worms protect peach and other stone fruit trees from devastating borer pests.

Dairy farmer finds unusual forage grass

March 15, 2011

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grass breeder has rediscovered a forage grass that seems just right for today's intensive rotational grazing.

Alternatives eyed for methyl bromide

March 16, 2011

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists trying to help Florida growers find a replacement for methyl bromide are studying an alternative soil treatment that uses molasses as one of its ingredients.

Recommended for you

Study finds 'rudimentary' empathy in macaques

December 1, 2015

(Phys.org)—A pair of researchers with Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Université Lyon, in France has conducted a study that has shown that macaques have at least some degree of empathy towards their fellow ...

Scientists overcome key CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing hurdle

December 1, 2015

Researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT have engineered changes to the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system that significantly cut down on "off-target" ...

Which came first—the sponge or the comb jelly?

December 1, 2015

Bristol study reaffirms classical view of early animal evolution. Whether sponges or comb jellies (also known as sea gooseberries) represent the oldest extant animal phylum is of crucial importance to our understanding of ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.