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Soil sampling as a preventive way to manage nematodes (by Abi Hajihassani)

Prevention is the best way to control plant-parasitic nematodes in vegetable crops. This summer, we conducted a survey of nematodes in most of the vegetable-growing systems in southern GA. After analyzing the collected samples, data on nematode species and counts were conveyed to growers participated in the survey through county extension agents. We noticed that many vegetable growers did not know that their fields were infested with nematodes, particularly root-knot nematode which is the number one nematode pest of vegetables. Also, our data based on soil samples delivered to Extension Nematology Lab through county extension agent offices shows that not many growers test their soil for nematodes as a preventive way before growing a crop. This is an important reason for widespread distribution of nematodes in the region. An easy way to recognize nematode infestation and to prevent crop damage is collecting soil samples at harvest or before planting a crop and have the samples examined for nematodes. This can provide useful information to growers on how to manage crops in soils where nematodes are present. All vegetable growers are encouraged to have their soil analyzed at least once a year/growing season.