Vertical distribution of the plant-parasitic nematode, Meloidogyne chitwoodi, under field crops
Seasonal vertical migration of Meloidogyne chitwoodi through soil and its impact on potato production in Washington and Oregon was studied. Nematode eggs and second-stage juveniles (J2) were placed at various depths (0-180 cm) in tubes filled with soil and buried vertically or in holes dug in potato fields. Tubes were removed at intervals over a 12-month period and soil was bioassayed on tomato roots. Upward migration began in the spring after water had percolated through the tubes. Nematodes were detected in the top 5 cm of tubes within 1-2 months of burial, depending on depth of placement. Potatoes were grown in field plots for 4 or 5 months before the tubers were evaluated for infection. One hundred eggs and J2 per gram soil placed at 60 and 90 cm caused significant tuber damage at the Washington and Oregon sites, respectively. At the Washington site, inoculum placed at 90, 120, and 150 cm caused potato root infection without serious impact on tuber quality, but inoculum diluted 2-8 times and placed at 90 cm did not cause root or tuber infection. Nematode migration was dependent on soil texture; 9 days after placement at the bottoms of tubes, J2 had moved up 55 cm in sandy loam soil (Oregon) but only 15 cm in silt loam (Washington). Thus, the importance of M. chitwoodi which occur deep in a soil profile may depend on soil texture, population density, and length of the growing season.