PACE Turf - Turfgrass Information Center

Nematodes: the number don’t lie (or do they?)

The research study and report, "Impact of Plant Parasitic Nematodes on the Quality of Golf Course Greens" was conducted and written over 20 years ago, but still has significant applications today. It shows that although plant parasitic nematode numbers can very often reach very high levels, most nematodes have very little impact on turf quality — especially if turf is otherwise healthy.

While there are some exceptions to these observations (see this PACE Turf Update on "Status and Control of Nematodes"), it is important to remember that because healthy turf frequently supports higher levels of nematodes than struggling turf (probably due to much greater root mass, and therefore greater sources of food for nematodes), nematode counts can be very deceiving.

In the 22 California golf courses that were surveyed in this study, we found six different genera of nematodes including (nematode names followed by the asterisk, *, were the most commonly found nematodes):

  • Criconemoides* (ring nematode)
  • Helicotylenchus* (spiral nematode)
  • Meloidogyne* (root knot nematode)
  • Paratylenchus (pin nematode)
  • Trichodorus (stubby root nematode)
  • Tylenchorhynchus (stunt nematode)

Read the report, "Impact of Plant Parasitic Nematodes on the Quality of Golf Course Greens"

For more information on nematode biology and management:

MLSN Guidelines: The scientific basis

The MLSN (Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition Guidelines were introduced in 2012, and since then, have helped turf managers reduce fertilizer inputs without a loss in turf quality. Superintendents and academic who have evaluated the guidelines are profiled in these articles.

The scientific basis for the MLSN guidelines has just been published in the journal, Applied Turfgrass Science in the article, "Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition" by Drs. Larry Stowell and Micah Woods. The full text of the article can be seen here.

A 15 minute presentation by Dr. Stowell at the Crop Science Society of America annual meeting in 2014, entitled "Only What the Turf Needs: Updating the Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition (MLSN) Guidelines" can be heard here.

If you want to put the MLSN guidelines into place at your facility, consider taking part in the Global Soil Survey, a citizen science project sponsored by PACE Turf and the Asian Turfgrass Center that provides customizes MLSN guidelines for site specific conditions.

MLSN guidelines catch on

The Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition soil guidelines were designed to reduce costs and reduce fertilizer inputs without a significant impact on turf. Adoption has taken on momentum, as these articles and blog posts show.

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