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Saturday, June 15, 2013

What Can I Plant if I Have Nematodes?

Thanks for keeping up with the blog. I LOVE it and always rely on it every time I need advice. You awesome! I do have a question for you and I'd really love your input.
Q. You have covered on one of your post about nematodes. Last fall, I pulled one of my cucumber plants. There were 4 plants in a row. One of the plants definitely had strange roots which I am almost positive were caused by root knot nematodes. I didn't do any solarization because it was cold during the time and I have read that it is best to do it during the hottest months. Are these nematodes harmful to humans and my dog? Will it give me a disease or a worm if I touched the soil?

You have covered that the only other way to fix this completely is through fumigation--which I can't really do since I only do organic gardening. Can I at least plant any other vegetables in the same raised bed, or will it cause me any ill effects after I eat the fruit/veggies that it bears? I was also thinking of maybe removing the soil from the raised bed and move them to the big pots where I will be planting citrus plants. Then I will replace the raised bed with new soil. Would this work well or will it just cause problems to my citrus plants? I'd love your input.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, Bob! I appreciate your the you are taking to read this.

A. Nematodes are very tough to impossible to get rid of if you have them. I should say they are basically impossible to get rid of. Be careful and do not move soil from this spot to other areas or you will move the nematodes as well.
Root knot nematode on tomato
Nematodes only infest plants, not animals so all animals are safe around these guys. Soil solarization will help knock back the populations but not get rid of them. There are some products like Clandosan (a naturalproduct) which are supposed to help but I would not be too optimistic. Even with fumigation it does not get rid of them buy just knocks them back.

Root knot nematode on mulberry roots
Use vegetables that are nematode resistant and fruit trees on rootstocks that resist nematodes. On vegetables they will have the designation "N" below the name somewhere. Other letters might also appear like "V" "F" and the like which just stands for resistant to other pest problems like verticillium (V) and Fusarium (F), two prominent disease problems. Nematode resistant rootstocks for fruit trees include Nemaguard, Citation, Viking, Atlas, Myrobalan, and Marianna. Hope this helps.

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