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To nematode or not to nematode  RSS feed

 
James Freyr
Posts: 251
Location: Middle Tennessee
17
books cat chicken food preservation toxin-ectomy
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So I have used predatory nematodes (Steinernema carpocapsae & Heterorhabditis heliothedis) in the years past with good results to help control larval forms and emerging adults of garden pests before they feast on crops (especially those damn onion maggots. argh!). Meanwhile, I've changed my soil management practices, and now I can take a scoop of soil from one of my raised beds and in it are centipede looking guys, earthworms, and several other species that have made my soil their home (they weren't there a few years ago). This is all good news. Those guys are improving my soil.  I do know that the predatory nematodes will not harm my earthworms, however they will attack just about everybody else residing in my soil, both good and bad.

So I'm trying to figure out if the benefits of leaving things be this spring and leaving all my soil food web inhabitants alone to live their lives (including the ones who will pupate and possibly munch on my crops) outweighs the benefit of using predatory nematodes and getting a jump on the undesirables that have been overwintering. I am aware that even when I do use nematodes, adults still fly in from elsewhere. Thoughts anyone?
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2549
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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As long as those centipede looking guys ae not Wire Worms, you should be fine.
I would imagine that there are still a good supply of beneficial nematodes as long as you have a good numbers of bacteria and fungi.

Redhawk
 
James Freyr
Posts: 251
Location: Middle Tennessee
17
books cat chicken food preservation toxin-ectomy
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The centipedy guys have oodles of legs and are definitely not wireworms. I'm leaning towards leaving things be and letting natural balances continue. Thanks for your input Redhawk!
 
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