Under New Management: Sting Nematodes


Photo Caption: The evaluation of experimental bermudagrass cultivars BA 132 and PI 291590 resistant to sting nematode along with commercial cultivars ‘Tifway’, ‘TifSport’ and ‘Celebration’ is underway at the University of Florida. The test also includes calendar-based and monitoring programs with new products in combination with the bermudagrass cultivars. Combining a nematode-tolerant bermudagrass cultivar with the use of more environmental friendly nematicide products may reduce turf damage in the long-term.

Although most nematodes are beneficial breaking down organic matter or feeding on soil microbes and insects, a few species parasitize turfgrasses. Sting nematodes are microscopic, worm-like creatures, with needle stylets that penetrate into the roots of turfgrass. Sting nematodes often cause damage on golf course turf grown on sandy soils in United States. Due to environmental concerns, many of the products (nematicides) used for controlling nematodes are no longer available for golf courses.

Nematode Microscope Photograph

 Photo Caption: Sting nematodes are microscopic, worm-like creatures, with needle-like stylets that penetrate into the roots of turfgrass. Sting nematodes often cause damage on golf course turf grown on sandy soils in United States. Due to environmental concerns, many of the products (nematicides) used for controlling nematodes are no longer available for golf courses (Photo from J. Ole Becker, Cooperative Extension Specialist and Nematologist, University of California, Riverside).

The USGA is funding research at the University of Florida to identify tolerant bermudagrass cultivars and management practices to decrease conventional pesticide use on golf courses. 

In the fall 2011, researchers initiated a three-year field experiment with five bermudagrass cultivars and four different products. The five bermudagrasses included ‘Tifway’, ‘TifSport’, ‘Celebration’, and two experimental cultivars (BA 132 and PI 291590) from the University of Florida with tolerance to sting nematodes. The treatments included 1) no nematicide, 2) annual application of Curfew (standard nematicide), 3) calendar-based program including rotations of Nortica, MustGro Invest, and Multiguard Protect, and 4) monitoring-based program where Nortica, MustGro Invest, or Multiguard Protect are applied as-needed when sting nematode populations reduce turf health.

In July 2012, turf establishment was greatest for BA 132 and Celebration (81% and 78% coverage, respectively) and lowest for TifSport and Tifway (45% and 59% coverage, respectively). Compared with the untreated control, the calendar and monitoring programs improved turf health slightly. Work is ongoing to follow these trends and to determine the long-term performance of these bermudagrass cultivars and treatment programs under heavy sting nematode pressure.


Additional Information:


Integrated Pest Management of Plant-parasitic Sting Nematodes on Bermudagrass


Still Stinging


Screening Bermudagrass Germplasm for Tolerance to Sting Nematodes


Nematode Management for Golf Courses in Florida


Sting Nematode – APS Net


Sting Nematode – University of California, Riverside



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