Steam and soil solarization were investigated for control of the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne arenaria in 2 yr of field trials on a commercial flower farm in Florida. The objective was to determine if preplant steam treatments in combination with solarization, or solarization alone effectively controlled nematodes compared to methyl bromide (MeBr). Trials were conducted in a field with naturally occurring populations of M. arenaria. Treatments were solarization alone, steam treatment after solarization using standard 7.6-cm-diameter perforated plastic drain tile (steam 1), steam treatment following solarization using custom-drilled plastic drain tile with 1.6-mm holes spaced every 3.8 cm (steam 2), and MeBr applied at 392 kg/ha 80:20 MeBr:chloropicrin. Drain tiles were buried approximately 35 cm deep with four tiles per 1.8 by 30 mplot. Steam application followed a 4-wk solarization period concluding in mid-October. All steam was generated using a Sioux propane boiler system. Plots were steamed for sufficient time to reach the target temperature of 70°C for 20 min. Solarization plastic was retained on the plots during steaming and plots were covered with a single layer of carpet padding to provide additional insulation. The floriculture crops larkspur (Delphinium elatum and Delphinium × belladonna), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), and sunflower (Helianthus annuus) were produced according to standard commercial practices. One month after treatment in both years of the study, soil populations of M. arenaria were lower in both steam treatments and in MeBr compared to solarization alone. At the end of the season in both years, galling on larkspur, snapdragon, and sunflowers was lower in both steam treatments than in solarization. Both steam treatments also provided control of M. arenaria in soil at the end of the season comparable to, or exceeding that provided by MeBr. Both steam treatments also reduced M. arenaria in snapdragon roots comparable to, or exceeding control with MeBr. Meloidogyne arenaria in soil increased in solarization alone. Solarization alone also had higher gall ratings on larkspur, snapdragon, and sunflower than all other treatments. Steam provided excellent control of M. arenaria in this study.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, other