Changes in Plant-Parasitic Nematode Populations in Pineapple Fields Following Inter-Cycle Cover Crops


  • M. P. Ko
  • D. P. Schmitt


The use of plant-covers oat (Arena sativa L.), rhodesgrass (Chloris gayana Kunth), soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.), and marigold (Tagetes patula L.) during pineapple inter-cycle planting periods was investigated at two sites (Kunia and Whitmore, Oahu, HI) as a potential means to reduce population densities of reniformis, Helicotylenchus dihystera, and Paratylenchus spp. Clean fallow and fallow covered with pineapple-plant residues (mulch) were the controls without plant-cover. Regardless of treatments, population densities of R. reniformis declined with time at both sites to low residue levels by the end of the 6-month period. Treatment means of R. reniformis population densities in the plant-cover treatments were lower than the controls' (P = 0.05). The plant-cover treatments also effected higher rates of R. reniformis population decline at both sites during the period, being 2.0 to 2.2 times that of the mulch control and 1.2 to 1.4 times that of the fallow control. Plant-covers' effect on H. dihystera during the same period at both sites was variable, resulting in decreased, unchanged, or increased population densities. The change was especially obvious in the oat-cover treatment, where H. dihystera population densities increased 9 to 15-fold at both sites. Population of Paratylenchus spp. was absent or present at low levels at the sites throughout the period. Biological activities antagonistic to R. reniformis at Kunia were estimated at the end of 6 months by comparing the extent of nematode's reproduction (on cowpea seedlings) in the treatment soils that had been subjected to autoclaving or freezing temperature. Although higher indices of antagonistic activities were observed in soils with prior plant-cover treatments than in soils from the controls, none of the treatments resulted in conferring soils the increased ability to suppress re-introduced R. reniformis populations or enhance subsequent pineapple-plant growth. Key words: Ananas comosus, antagonistic plant, fallow, freezing soil, Helicotylenchus dihystera, marigold, nematode management, oat, Paratylench~s, plant-cover, rhodesgrass, Rotylenchulus reniformis, soybean.