Influence of Tylenchorhynchus ewingi on growth of loblolly pine seedlings, and host suitability of legumes and small grains
Tylenchorhynchus ewingi, a stunt nematode, causes severe injury to slash pine seedlings and has been recently associated with stunting and chlorosis of loblolly pine seedlings at some forest tree nurseries in southern USA. Experiments confirmed that loblolly pine is a host for T. ewingi, and that the nematode is capable of causing severe damage to root systems. Initial population densities as low as 60 nematodes (100 cm3 soil)-1 were sufficient to damage the root systems of loblolly pine seedlings. Populations of T. ewingi increased on pine from two- to 16-fold, depending on the initial population density. Evaluations of various cover crops used in southern forest tree nurseries indicated that legumes, rye and several varieties of sorghum were excellent hosts for T. ewingi. Other small grains such as rye grass, oats and wheat were poorer hosts. A cultivar of pearl millet was a non-host for T. ewingi, and a cultivar of brown top millet appeared to be either a very poor host or a non-host. Nurseries that have seedling production losses caused by T. ewingi should consider rotating with non-host cover crops such as pearl millet or leaving fields fallow as part of their pest management programme.