In general, plants appear more susceptible to pathogens and pests when they are in the seedling stage. Nematode damage is also often most dramatic when the plants are attacked in a very early stage. Consequently, by avoiding immediate exposure of germinating plant roots to nematodes, damage may also be reduced. We are studying the relationship between the age of the plant at the time of nematode attack, and the resulting damage and nematode population development. Our experiments indicate that allowing seedlings to intially grow without nematodes can greatly reduce the damage to the plant, but does little to reduce the nematode population at harvest.

Relevant publications:

Huang, X., and Ploeg, A.T. 2001. Effect of Plant Age and Longidorus africanus on the Growth of Lettuce and Carrot. Journal of Nematology 33:137-141.

Ploeg, A.T. and M. S. Phillips. 2001. Damage to melon (Cucumis melo L.) cv. Durango by Meloidogyne incognita in Southern California. Nematology 3:151-158.

Ploeg, A. T. 2001. Plant age influences damage sustained by nematodes. Central Coast Agriculture Highlights. February 2001. p. 2.

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