Biochemical and biological nematode control methods are useful for those who want to decrease the expense and risk associated with toxic agricultural chemicals without reducing yields. There are three basic approaches to biochemical/biological control of nematodes:
- Increase plant health by increasing the health of the soil those plants grow in
- Increase plant resilience by increasing the nutrient base supplied to the plants
- Decrease the population of nematodes by using insecticides that are not toxic to humans and other nontarget organisms
Increase Soil Health
A live and healthy soil is filled with beneficial microorganisms which facilitate nutrient transfer for plants. A soil that supports a wide variety of biological life is less likely to be overrun by a single destructive pest.
The variety and amount of soil microorganisms can be increased by amending with well-prepared compost and/or microbial inoculants. Although amendments measurably increase yields, their impact on specific species of nematodes varies. In addition, large amounts of organic matter may be required. Fortunately, the results of adding organic matter continue over the course of years, making it possible to build soil health over time.
Building overall soil health is a long-term project, but increasing plant nutrition and the health of soil near the root zone can be as simple as applying a nutrient solution.
Increase Plant Nutrition
"You are what you eat" is as true for plants as it is for humans. Plants that suffer from nutrient deficiencies are more susceptible to insect and nematode damage and all the diseases that come with them. In the years since the development of standard NPK fertilizers, many growers have come to understand that there is more to plant nutrition than these three major nutrients, and they look for a fertilizer composition that supplies a broad spectrum of nutrients, micronutrients, and beneficial microbes.
The ingredients in INTERCEPT and ROBUST, both by Soil Tech, have been shown to reduce the amount of synthetic chemicals needed for maintaining plant root and foliage health. In addition, plants use the ingredients in these products to increase the health of their root zone, the place where nematodes attack. These products increase the biology of the soil and colonize the root system of the plants so that they produce their own antibiotic microenvironments—the rhizosphere of the root. In the presence of these antibiotics, the nematodes do not attack the root system.
If more targeted nematode control is needed, growers do have alternatives to dangerous agricultural chemicals.
Decrease Nematode Population
Although toxic insecticides and pesticides have been the norm in agriculture for several decades, the climate is changing. For the past 30 years Soil Tech has been helping growers reduce or eliminate their use of harmful chemicals.
ARMOREX, Soil Tech's flagship product, is a full-spectrum soil treatment that is so safe there are no re-entry restrictions. ARMOREX is also exempt from EPA residue tolerance requirements. So although it does sterilize the soil somewhat, it is much safer than other approaches. Using a collection of botanical oils, ARMOREX controls for parasitic nematodes including:
- Meloidogyne spp (Root Knot) Tylenchus
ARMOREX also controls several common soil-borne fungi and destructive soil insects, both by killing on contact and by maintaining a repellent action against many soil insects, nematodes and fungi. Target crops include a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, ornamentals and turf grass.
If you are trying to address a specific nematode problem, let Soil Tech help you design an integrated plan of attack that will protect your crops without endangering your growers.