Managing Root-knot on Tobacco in the Southeastern United States


  • Charles S. Johnson


Root-knot nematodes suppress yields of flue-cured tobacco an estimated 0.1 to 4.8% annually in the southeastern United States, even though nematode management practices have been widely adopted. Although Meloidogyne incognita races 1 and 3 have predominated, M. arenaria, M. javanica, and M. incognita races 2 and 4 are increasingly important. Seventy-five percent of the flue-cured tobacco hectarage in North Carolina and Virginia is rotated on 2-year or 3-year intervals. Over half of the hectarage in the southeastern United States was planted with tobacco cultivars resistant to M. incognita races 1 and 3 in 1986. Resistance to other species or races of root-knot nematodes is not available in commercially available flue-cured tobacco cultivars. Most producers plow and (or) disc-out flue-cured tobacco roots and stalks after harvest. Nematicide use ranges from virtually 100% in Florida and Georgia to 60% in Virginia. Continued research is needed to develop management strategies for mixed populations of root-knot nematodes and to incorporate resistance to more root-knot nematode species and races into tobacco cultivars. Nematode advisory programs that allow producers to optimize nematicide use from an economical and ecological point of view are also needed. Key words: chemical control, crop loss, crop rotation, cultural practice, integrated pest management, Meloidogyne spp., nematicide, nematode advisory service, Nicotiana tabacum, resistance, root-knot nematode, tobacco.