By John Wood, Certis USA Regional Manager
I hope your holidays were enjoyable and that 2019 has started off well. As spring inches closer, it is time to consider protocols for planting and replanting orchards. Nematodes are an ever-present concern when planting new trees. MeloCon® WG Biological Nematicide controls nematodes associated with orchard replant disease, such as root knot (Meloidogyne spp.) and root lesion (Pratylenchus vulnus) nematodes.
MeloCon is a broad-spectrum nematicide containing spores of a naturally occurring fungus known as Paecilomyces lilacinus PL251, a virulent parasite of common plant-infecting nematodes. Eggs and juveniles are particularly susceptible. An application rate of 2 pounds of MeloCon WG per acre is the equivalent of nearly 1.5 million spores per square inch. Once applied to the soil, spores of the MeloCon fungus adhere to the bodies of nematodes as they move through the soil or infest plant roots. The spores then germinate and penetrate the nematodes and kill by feeding on the nematodes’ body content.
New orchards and transplants
If you’re putting in a new orchard, you will need to water in MeloCon. This helps move the spores of the nematicide down to the rhizosphere of tree roots, where most plant parasitic nematodes are located. Using a soil wetting agent helps the spores penetrate the soil and get into the root zone.
Transplants can be treated just before transplanting with a soil drench to protect the developing root ball from nematodes after planting. Treat non-fumigated soils with MeloCon WG two weeks before planting new trees to reduce the initial nematode infestation. Repeat the application with irrigation water following label instructions every two to four months post-planting to keep nematodes suppressed. Applications timed to coincide with spring and fall root flushes are likely to have the greatest protective value, since this is when nematodes are actively attacking new, rapidly-growing root tips.
MeloCon is an effective and viable option to help control nematodes in both conventional and organic orchards with no fumigant management plan required. It has a 4-hour REI and zero-day PHI. MeloCon is OMRI listed and NOP approved.
In the next issue, we’ll take an early look at spring disease management plans. Until then.