Using trap crops to manage plant parasitic nematodes on vegetable crops
Trap cropping is a nematode management technique that has been tested periodically since the late 1800s. A susceptible host is planted, and larvae of a sedentary parasitic nematode, such as root-knot, are induced to enter and establish a feeding site. Once this has occurred, and the female begins to mature, it is unable to leave the root. The plants are then destroyed before the life cycle of the nematode can be completed, trapping nematodes within the root. A harvestable crop is planted after termination of the trap crop. A field trial was conducted using six different trap crops (carrot, beans, sesame, sugar beet, tomatoes, and resident weeds) in a field infested with root knot nematode (Meloidogyne javanica). The trap crops were destroyed at three weeks after planting, either by tillage, by an application of herbicide, or both; followed by planting a harvestable crop of carrots. A second trial utilized carrots as the trap crop, followed by a harvestable crop of carrots. The carrot trap crop was destroyed at 3, 4 or 5 weeks after planting with or without the addition of a biological nematicide. In both trials, the trap crop treatments were compared to an untreated control (dry fallow) and a standard fumigant treatment. In both trials, several treatments yielded marketable carrots or reductions in root-knot nematode populations that were comparable to the chemical standard, and significantly better than the untreated (P=0.05), validating the potential of trap cropping for managing sedentary plant-parasitic nematodes on vegetable crops.
Westerdahl, B.B. (2021). Using trap crops to manage plant parasitic nematodes on vegetable crops. Acta Hortic. 1326, 265-270
root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne sp., trap crop, carrots, Daucus carota subsp. sativus