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Keywords:

  • horizontal distribution;
  • population dynamics;
  • root-knot nematode;
  • turfgrass;
  • vertical distribution;
  • yellow patch disease

Meloidogyne minor, first reported on potatoes in the Netherlands in 2004, is an emerging nematode pest in Europe. It damages turfgrass, particularly creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) grown on sandy soils such as those of golf greens. However, little is known of the nematode's life history and pathology. In this study, the spatial and temporal distribution of M. minor on a creeping bentgrass green in Ireland was determined over a 15 month period. Cores were taken on transects across yellowing patches of grass caused by nematode damage. Second-stage juveniles (J2) were absent from the soil from November to February, when soil temperatures were below 10°C. Both galls and egg masses were present throughout the year but were more abundant in late summer and early autumn. More J2, galls and egg masses were present in the top 10 cm of soil than at a depth of 11–20 cm. The nematode population tended to decrease as distance from the centre of the yellow patches increased. The diameter of visual symptoms (yellow patches) was also recorded over the 15 months. The mean diameter of five sampled patches increased from 23·7 cm in June 2003 to 45·2 cm in August 2004. There were 158–193 galls per 100 cm3 soil at the margin of the visible infested area, indicating that this could be the threshold level for visible symptoms.