Effect of Compost and Maize Cultivars on Plant-parasitic Nematodes


  • R. McSorley
  • R. N. Gallaher


Effects of yard waste compost and maize (Zea mays) culfivar on population densities of plant-parasitic nematodes were examined in four experiments in north Florida. In one experiment, eight maize cultivars were evaluated; the other three experiments involved split-plot designs with compost treatments as main plots and maize cultivars as subplots. The three compost treatments used in these experiments were: 269 mt/ha of a yard-waste compost applied to the soil surface as a mulch, 269 mt/ha of compost incolporated into the soil, and an unamended control. No interactions between compost treatment and cultivar occurred in any experiment. Effects of compost treatment on Mesocriconema spp., Meloidogyne incognita, and Pratylenchus spp. were inconsistent, whereas significant effects of compost on population densities of Paratrichodorus minor were found on four of six sampling occasions. Cultivar affected final population densities (Pf) of M. incognita. In two tests, Pf of M. incognita on a Florida subtropical experimental hybrid (Howard III) were only 36% and 23% of Pf on the standard tropical hybrid (Pioneer Brand X304C). In an integrated approach to management of nematodes in maize, the effects of compost amendment and culfivar choice acted independently. Apparently, cultivar choice is more important than amendment with yard waste compost for management of M. incognita population levels in a maize rotation crop. Key words: compost, cultural practice, host plant resistance, integrated pest management, Meloidogyne incognita, mulch, nematode, organic amendment, Paratrichodorus minor, sustainable agriculture, Zea mays.