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

A 100-million-year partnership on the brink of extinction

May 24, 2016

A relationship that has lasted for 100 million years is at serious risk of ending, due to the effects of environmental and climate change. A species of spiny crayfish native to Australia and the tiny flatworms that depend ...

Is aging inevitable? Not necessarily for sea urchins

May 25, 2016

Sea urchins are remarkable organisms. They can quickly regrow damaged spines and feet. Some species also live to extraordinary old ages and—even more remarkably—do so with no signs of poor health, such as a decline in ...

Why fruit fly sperm are giant

May 25, 2016

In the animal kingdom, sperm usually are considerably smaller than eggs, which means that males can produce far more of them. Large numbers of tiny sperm can increase the probability of successful fertilization, especially ...

Automating DNA origami opens door to many new uses

May 27, 2016

Researchers can build complex, nanometer-scale structures of almost any shape and form, using strands of DNA. But these particles must be designed by hand, in a complex and laborious process.

0 comments

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.