Frequently asked questions about potato nematodes
Frequently asked questions and answers
Have a question about potato nematodes? Learn ways to combat potato nematodes in your fields and more by viewing our most frequently asked questions and answers below.
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What is a potato?
A potato is tuber, the swollen part (usually the end) of the stolon. A stolon is an underground stem. Swelling of the tuber is primarily due to the accumulation of starch.
Is it safe to eat potatoes infected by nematodes?
What nematodes damage potato?
Root knot nematodes
- Meloidogyne chitwoodi (Columbia root knot)
- Meloidogyne hapla (Northern root knot)
- Meloidogyne incognita (Southern root knot)
- Meloidogyne javanica
Potato cyst nematodes
- Globodera pallida (Pale cyst nematode)
- Globodera rostochiensis (Golden Nematode)
Stubby root nematodes
- Nanidorus minor (Paratrichodorus or Trichodorus spp.)
Root lesion nematodes
- Pratylenchus neglectus
- Pratylenchus penetrans
Potato rot nematodes
- Ditylenchus destructor
- Belonolaimus longicaudatus
What problems do they cause?
Injury to both above and below ground plant parts affects both tuber yield and tuber quality.
Above ground symptoms:
- Stunting of plants
- Yellowing of leaves
- Die back of plants
- Premature wilting
- Patches of non-uniform growth
Below ground symptoms:
- Sometimes more distinctive
- Decreased root mass
- Stubby roots
- Blackened lesions
- Cysts (yellow, white, or tan)
How do parasitic nematodes spread?
Plant-parasitic nematodes spread through infested soil or tubers.
What are some important considerations for growers?
Detection and diagnostics: determine which nematode is present within a field.
Population level: is it economically damaging? Some nematodes have zero tolerance.
Control: select a profitable management strategy.
No single control method provides perfect protection for a crop, so you may need several management strategies:
- Cultural (clean seed, rotation)
- Variety selection – e.g. is planting a resistant variety an option?
- Nematicide – soil fumigant, seed treatment, in furrow
- Quarantine for some regulated nematodes
PREVENTION IS THE BEST OPTION
How often should I test my field?
To best plan your management strategy, testing your field annually is recommended to find out the species and level of nematodes present in a field.
What about nematicides?
Regardless of the type of plant-parasitic nematode found in a field, the most common management strategy is:
- Preplant fumigation
- Metam sodium
- Post plant application
Nematicides are expensive and account for about 10% of total production cost (biggest of all inputs). Many nematicides are no longer available, are being phased out, and are costly.
What are some alternatives to nematicides?
- Avoid contaminated soil movement
- Plant certified seed
- Properly dispose of culls and waste soil
- Species dependent
- Multiple cropping strategies
- Extended fallow
- Challenging when a nematode has a wide host range
Quarantine (official regulatory)
- Potato cyst nematodes