Variability in Time and Space of Meloidogyne incognita Fall Population Density in Cotton Fields


  • Terry A. Wheeler
  • Brant Baugh
  • Harold Kaufman
  • Greta Schuster
  • Kerry Siders


cotton, meloidogyne incognita, nematode, population dynamics, root-knot nematode, sampling, spatial variability, temporal variability


Three cotton fields infested with Meloidogyne incognita were intensively sampled in the fall for 3 years (1996 to 1998) to determine if intensive sampling for M. incognita, for which spatial location is important, was necessary every year in a continuous cotton system. Two composite soil samples (20 cores each), taken over an area covering one-third of the field length and two rows wide, were averaged to represent that area (row-location combination). Each field (except one) had 24 areas assayed for changes in M. incognita population density (Pf) over a 3-year period. At all three sites, Pf was higher during fall 1998 than fall 1996. There were no differences in Pf between rows within a year or between years (no. row × year interaction) at any of the sites. At all three sites, there was a consistent difference each year in Pf among locations in a field (no. year × location interaction). At each area, M. incognital/500 cm³ was labeled for one of four Pf classes: 250, 250 to 999, 1,000 to 2,499, and = $2,500. Management of root-knot nematode would likely be altered as classification changed. The areas that were reclassified by two classes or more after 1 and 2 years ranged from 0 to 29% and 25 to 54%, respectively. The risk of underestimating Pf of M. incognita was higher in one site 2 years after the initial intensive sampling procedure, whereas in another site there was little change in Pf 2 years after initial sampling. Sampling frequency will need to be decided on a field-by-field basis.