Effect of Plant Age and Transplanting Damage on Sugar Beets infected by Heterodera schachtii


  • Th. H. A. Olthof


Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L. cv. Monogerm C.S.F. 1971) seeds sown into Vineland fine sandy loam, infested with 15,500 H. schachtii juveniles/pot, showed little growth during an 11-week test in the greenhouse. Seedlings transplanted at 2, 4, and 6 weeks of age had 32, 30, and 31% less top weight and 71, 68, and 59% less root weight, respectively, compared to controls grown in nematode-free soil. Nematode reproduction in both direct-seeded and transplanted sugar beets was limited and related to root weight. Shoot/root ratios were increased by the nematodes in all nematode-infected beets compared to those grown in soil without nematodes. In contrast to seeding or transplanting sugar beets into nematode-infested Vineland fine sandy loam, an inoculation of Beverly fine sandy loam supporting 0 (seeds), 2-, 4-, and 6-week-old sugar beet seedlings with 7,400 juveniles/pot, followed by 11 weeks of growth in the growth-room, resulted in top weight losses of only 13, 3, 18, and 15% and losses in root weight of 44, 38, 36, and 38%, respectively. Nematode reproduction was high and all shoot/root ratios were increased by the nematode compared to the noninoculated controls. These experiments have shown that sugar beets sown into nematode-infested soil are damaged much more heavily by H. schachtii juveniles than seeds inoculated with the nematode immediately following sowing. Results indicate that an increase in tolerance of sugar beets to attack by H. schachtii does not occur beyond the first 2 weeks of growth and that transplanting damage lowers the tolerance of seedlings to nematode attack. Key words: sugar beet cyst nematode, age tolerance, transplanting damage, host-parasite relationship.