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Controlling Root Knot Nematodes

Category Worms
Image of a nematode shown under microscope
Root-knot nematodes are microscopic parasitic worms that live in the soil and feed on the roots of many common garden crops. They are found in hot climates or areas with short winters. This is a guide about controlling root knot nematodes.


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By 5 found this helpful
December 6, 2016

The first time I ran across the root knot nematode I had no idea what it was. All I knew was that it destroyed my crop of green beans within three weeks. The root knot nematode is a small microscopic worm that lives in the soil. The female can lay up to 500 eggs on the roots of your plants. The eggs, feed on your roots and cause a large knot on the larger roots of the plant. The active worms feed on the smaller roots of the plants. This results in your plants dying rather quickly.


Once I had identified the pest that had killed all my green beans I needed to find a way to control them or eliminate them from my garden. However, this wasn't an easy task. I refuse to use any pesticides in my garden. I know that many people here in Tahiti swear by the BIO pesticides they sell in our markets. Unfortunately, these BIO products still contain chemicals that I feel are dangerous to our health.

Digging deeper into this problem I found a working solution that worked for me. I didn't have to use any form of pesticide to get rid of the root knot nematode in my organic garden. I abandoned the large piece of land for 3 months. Here are the steps I took to rid my garden of this pest.

  1. I uprooted all the infected plants. I used a large plastic ground cover to move the plants to an area that we didn't use for planting.
  2. Burn the infected plants roots and all.
  3. Turn the topsoil in the garden or area where it is infected with the root knot nematodes.
  4. In the area that is infected plant marigold. You need to cover the complete area with marigold. Plant the marigold in a checkerboard pattern.
  5. Allow the marigold to grow in this area for 3 months. During this time keep the ground free of all weeds. Once a week use your handheld garden hoe to keep the soil turned.
  6. After three months turn under the marigold plants and leave them in the soil. For the next three weeks, keep turning the soil in this area and removing the weeds.

After four months I was able to plant again in this area.

Comment Was this helpful? 5


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By 1 found this helpful
October 5, 2015

Any vegetable plant I tried to grow will grow very healthy then there are no fruits. When I extract the plant from the root, the root is like a huge bundle of swollen knots. I tried live good nematodes to eliminate, with no good results. Now I am trying zinnias. I am losing every year. I could do with help and advice. Thanks.

Answer Was this helpful? 1
October 6, 20150 found this helpful

You have a difficult problem. You did not state your location so it is difficult to provide a specific area recommendation. However, this site will provide basic nematode information and how to address the problem in California. I doubt there is much difference in other areas considering the nematode difficulties generally. The site below is the University of California @ Davis website on nematodes. It offers a natural history of the problem and the difficulties in managing nematodes. The possible plans to correct the problem are clearly difficult, costly and may not be worth the effort.


Good Luck!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 10, 20150 found this helpful

Addendum-forgot to include the site!

http://www.ipm.  OTES/pn7489.html

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December 15, 20150 found this helpful

Too much nitrogen??

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March 27, 20160 found this helpful

All you need to do is throw white cane sugar all over your yard and garden twice a year it doesnt eliminate them but it keeps them under control, you can even put a teaspoon of sugar in a gallon of water and water a way. You need to be very careful not to give any plants away because they are in your soil now and you can never get rid of them completely and you do not want to pass them along to your friends.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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