Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Cultural control of root nematodes in coffee
Recognize the problem
Root-knot nematodes are roundworms
that live in the soil and attack coffee roots. They are microscopic, so you
cannot see them. They damage the roots. They
cause the roots to swell, produce tiny galls, and crack. The damage hinders transport of water and nutrients from roots to the
upper plant. This results in yellowing of leaves, wilting of foliage of the entire
plant (particularly in dry days). In heavy infestations, the plant can die.
Root-knot nematodes can survive from a few months
to a few years as eggs or young ones in the soil or within root fragments. They
are spread by soil on machinery, on animals, or on humans; and sometimes by
water. But they can only move short distances inside the soil themselves. Planting
of infected seedlings into uninfected soil is one of the most common ways
these pests are spread. A number of measures can help to prevent spread.
- Avoid moving
soil from one field to another as this can introduce nematodes from infested fields
to uninfested fields.
- Make sure you
clean soil off any tools and shoes before going to the next field.
- Make sure you
clean machinery by driving for about 100-200 meters along a tarred road or by
pouring water to the tires and any part of the machinery to remove all soil
particles before changing fields.
- Do not use
infested soil in your nursery beds.
organic matter like cow or chicken manure into the soil near coffee trees to stimulate microbial
competition against the nematodes. Nematodes do not like high amount of
- Control weeds
between coffee trees that host the nematodes; for example Biden pilosa (blackjack) and Solanum
species e.g. wild nightshades.
- Make rough soil surfaces or contours parallel to
the slope to have a drainage pattern that minimizes erosion and minimizes
movement of nematodes through the field.
The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to:
Plantwise Factsheets Library app
Get all of the factsheets and pest management decision guides from this website in an offline format via the Plantwise Factsheets Library app.