Root-knot Nematode Management in Dryland Taro with Tropical Cover Crops


  • B. S. Sipes
  • A. S. Arakaki


Twenty-two cover crops were evaluated for their ability to reduce damage by root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne javanica, to taro, Colocastia esculenta, in a tropical cropping system. Cover crops were grown and incorporated into the soil before taro was planted. Barley, greenpanic, glycine, marigold, sesame, sunn hemp, and sorghum x sudangrass DeKalb ST6E were poor or nonhosts to the nematode as measured by low population changes of nematodes in soil between cover crop planting and taro planting. Alfalfa, buckwheat, cowpea, lablab, Lana vetch, mustard, oat, okra, rhodes grass, ryegrain, ryegrass, siratro, sweet corn, and wheat allowed nematode populations to increase dramatically. Taro yields were greatest in the marigold plots and lowest in the ryegrain plots. Taro corm weight decreased with increasing initial nematode population (Pi) (r = 0.22, P = 0.056). Siratro, ryegrass, and Blizzard wheat plots had higher taro yield than plots with similar Pi's but planted to other cover crops. These cover crops may have antagonism to other soil microorganisms or their decomposition products may be toxic or adversely affect the nematodes. Cover crops can be an effective and valuable nematode management tactic for use in minor tropical cropping systems such as taro. Key words: barley, Colocagia esculenta, control, cover crop, Crotalafia juncea, glycine, greenpanic, Hordeum vulgare, management, marigold, cover crop, Crotalaria juncea, glycine, greenpanic, Hordeum vulgate, management, marigold, Meloidogyne javanica, nematode, Neonotonia wightii, Panicum maximum, root-knot nematode, sesame, Sesamum indicum, sorghum x sudangrass DeKalb ST6E, sunn hemp, sustainable agriculture, Tagetes erecta, taro, tropical cover crops.