Methods to control plant nematodes

What are Nematodes?

  • The word nematode is derived from Greek words- Nema meaning “thread” and oids meaning “resembling or forms”.
  • Nematodes are also known by different names such as threadworms, roundworms, eelworms, and nema.
  • Nematodes constitute the largest group of an animal kingdom comprising 80-90% of all multicellular animals.
  • These organisms are basically aquatic but have adapted terrestrial habits.

Methods to control plant nematodes

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Introduction of nematode management

  • Nematodes are omnipresent.
  • Transmitted through a variety of methods.
  • Irrigation water is the prime source infected composts soil.
  • Control methods are needed to raise crops economically.


  • Regulatory methods
  • Cultural methods

1. Regulatory method

Quarantine / Exclusion

  • This implies exclude the entry of a pest.
  • Buy or grow transplants that are nematode-free.
  • Use nematode-free soil or potting medium.
  • Clean tools and equipment when changing areas of fields.
  • Remove infected plant roots.

2. Cultural methods

Crop rotation

  • Keeping the nematode population under check especially when there are distinct host preferences.
  • Susceptible crops should be grown once in a few years.
  • Rotating them with non-host crops.
  • Vegetables should not be grown in the same field repeatedly.
  • Keep weeds in check.

Fallowing and Ploughing:

  • Keeping the land fallow and deep ploughing reduce nematodes e.g. root-knot and others.
  • Nematodes are sensitive to heat and drying action of the sun and the wind.
  • So in hot and dry conditions following and ploughing are the best remedy of nematodes control.

Use of organic amendments:

  • Green manure compost oil cakes have been found to Reduced Nematodes.
  • These encourage the growth of natural enemies and decomposition products.
  • Raising green crops also enhances the development of some predacious nematodes in the soil.

Use of resistant and tolerant varieties:

  • The most practical and economical methods of controlling nematodes.
  • Multi-resistant strains of plants to nematodes have been made.
  • The main drawback sometimes is the development of resistant breaking nematodes which makes the process futile.
  • Resistance has been mainly to root-knot nematode.


  • Flooding can be adopted where there is an enormous availability of water.
  • Under submerged conditions, anaerobic condition kills the nematodes by asphyxiation.
  • Chemicals lethal to nematodes such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia are released in the flooded conditions which kills nematodes.

Antagonistic crops

  • Certain crops like mustard, marigold, neem have chemicals or alkaloids as root exudates that repel or suppress the plant-parasitic nematodes.
  • In marigold plants: alpha terthinyl and bithinyl compounds
  • In mustard: alkyl isothiocyanate
  • Such enemy plants can be grown along with the main crop or included in crop rotation.



Methods to control plant nematodes

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