Nematode control starts with the development of a management plan. A soil sample should be conducted early on to test for nematodes. If nematodes are found, population density levels should be established. When nematodes are not present, steps should be taken to reduce the probability of introduction. Nematode sampling is difficult and results are not always 100 percent correct.
After reviewing soil samples, design and implement a successful nematode management plan that will meet the needs and goals of your operation. When nematodes are present, the goal is to keep populations from spreading to noninfested fields. Techniques to prevent spreading include isolating irrigation water and thoroughly cleaning all equipment and tools between infested and noninfested fields.
Three practices are commonly used to effectively combat nematodes in existing fields: crop rotation, postharvest tilling and chemical controls.
It is important to accurately identify the affecting nematode as that will dictate the appropriate rotational crop. To maximize crop rotation efficacy, establish a two-year rotation with cotton and a nonhost or poor-host crop. Crops such as corn, peanuts, sorghum, millet and other grass crops are effective rotation crops with cotton.
Postharvest tilling reduces population densities by exposing nematodes to drying, therefore halting reproduction.
Nematicides, such as Telone® II soil fumigant, are scientifically proven to reduce nematode populations and, in turn, improve lint production. Telone II is injected into the soil as a liquid and immediately converts to a gas, which creates a zone of protection around developing roots. As a fumigant, Telone II moves through the soil on its own, rather than requiring water or incorporation for movement.
Telone II, a preplant soil fumigant, controls all major species of nematodes. According to the University of Florida, recent research reports up to a 50 lb./A increase of lint when fields infected with root-knot nematodes are treated with Telone II and a 35 lb./A increase in fields infected with reniform nematodes.