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Natural Pinewood Nematode Control

 
pollinator
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Location: Middle of South Dakota, 4a
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I was so excited to order from the local Conservation District, envisioning our 'back 40' as a full half acre food forest by 2025. Many aspects involved. Privacy, from the long stretch of road along side our little piece; windbreak because northern prairie gusts are no joke; FOOD, for both us and some nature...um because food? So in went my order, over 80 trees, shrubs, perennial plants to arrive in early Spring.

Part of that order is fifteen Austrian Pines because they stay green, produce nuts and provide shelter as well as being adaptive to the climate here. Well last week I met with a gentleman from the CD to see what tool rental options and discuss my ideas. He started looking at my plans and then made a "tsk" noise and said "Austrian Pines will die." My first thought was WHY? Why will they die and if so WHY are they an option to order. Pinewood Nematode was his answer. According to him (and some minor research) the Austrian Pine tend to be very susceptible to dying off when the nematodes are present, and they are present here. BUT there are also trees that survive.

So the permie half of my brain says plant them anyways (he said it's a waste of time), see if ANY survive and try to get babies from that parent tree, which may be less susceptible?

Another thing I've been researching is Mushrooms. I've recently taken my hobby of hunting and random growing and am turning it into a produce venture. This morning I read this:
Thorn and Barron first noted that P. ostreatus exudes a metabolite toxic to nematodes. As the nematode lies stunned, the mycelium soon invades through one of its orifices, quickly consuming the internal organs. From an evolutionary viewpoint, this is remarkable that a saprophytic mushroom can become predatory to an animal in its quest for new sources of nitrogen. This may well explain why nematodes have never been reported as a pathogen in Oyster mushroom cultivation whereas their occurrence in the cultivation of the Button Mushroom (Agaricus brunnescens) is economically devastating and commonplace.

I have an OVER abundance of Oyster mycelium in sawdust on any given day. Could I potentially plant some around the roots of the tree for "protection" from invading nematodes?

I honestly have no clue about nematodes or their life cycles, but in simple theory I think this may work. Maybe even place some hardwood nearby to give the Oyster more incentive to stick around?

Any thoughts or other ideas to save the babies I don't even have yet? I don't mind failure, that's what I told the man while he tried to talk me into Spruce. That is when I learn best.
 
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I say you are on the right track!
Plant them with helpful fungal spore and watch for the results.
 
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I've used this product called biovam on almost everything and I love it. It seems to help plants root and establish so strongly.

https://tandjenterprises.com/BioVam-Plant-List.htm

It says that pines respond to the ecto mycorrhiza. I wonder if your oyster mushrooms are that type? Regardless, if they have nematode killing effects, it sounds like a great idea.
 
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Sounds worth a try to me.

No, oyster mushrooms are not mycorrhizal. They are mainly decomposers, and sometimes a parasite.
 
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Just a thought.... but I wonder whether planting mustard where you are intending to plant the pines is a possibility to reduce the nematode population? Mustard is planted to reduce potato nematodes, but I don't know whether it would work against other nematodes, in your climate/soil, or whether the timing for planting would be all wrong. I suspect it would be worth trying if you were planting next year, and weren't hoping to select for nematode resistant trees.
 
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