Population Dynamics of Pratylenchus penetrans, Paratylenchus sp., and Criconemella xenoplax on Western Oregon Peppermint


  • K. J. Merrifield
  • R. E. Ingham


Endoparasitic nematode populations are usually measured separately for soil and roots without a determination of the quantitative relation between soil and root population components. In this study, Pratylenchus penetrans populations in peppermint soil, roots, and rhizomes were expressed as the density within a standardized core consisting of 500 g dry soil plus the roots and rhizomes contained therein. Populations of Paratylenchus sp. and Criconemella xenoplax in 500 g dry soil were also determined, thus measuring the total plant-parasitic nematode population associated with the plant. Mean wet root weight per standard core peaked in spring and again in late summer and was lowest early in the growing season and in early fall. Pratylenchus penetrans populations peaked 4 to 6 weeks after root weight peaks. The percentage of the total population in roots reached 70% to 90% in early April, decreased to 20% to 40% in August, and returned to higher percentages during the winter. Rhizomes never contained more than a minor proportion of the population. Mean Paratylenchus sp. populations increased through spring and peaked in late August. Mean C. xenoplax populations fluctuated, peaking in August or September. Populations of all parasitic species were lowest during winter. Evaluation using the standard core method permits assessment of the total P. penetrans population associated with the plant and of changes in root weight as well as the seasonal distribution of P. penetrans. Key words: population, population dynamics, Pratylenchus penetrans, Paratylenchus sp., Criconemella xenoplax, peppermint.