The effects of two preplant Jesup (Max-Q) tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus) ground cover treatments as alternatives to chemical control of Meloidogyne incognita were investigated from 2006 to 2013. The experiment was initiated in 2006 in a site known to be infested with M. incognita. Treatments included (i) 1 year of peach followed by 1 year of Jesup (Max-Q), (ii) 2 years of continuous Jesup (Max-Q), (iii) 2 years of continuous peach, and (iv) 2 years of continuous peach followed by fumigation with 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D). Both Jesup (Max-Q) treatments suppressed (P ≤ 0.05) population densities of M. incognita second-stage juveniles (J2) compared with the 2-year continuous peach treatments (prior to fumigation); no J2 were detected in soil samples taken from 2-year continuous Jesup (Max-Q) plots. Evaluation of the effects of the Jesup (Max-Q) treatments on subsequent peach tree planting was initiated in 2008, when herbicide was applied to the tall fescue treatment plots and half the continuous peach plots were fumigated with 1,3-D (nematicide treatment control). Peach trees were planted into all plots in 2009. By the end of the experiment (48 months after orchard establishment), trunk diameter was greater (P ≤ 0.01) in both of the Jesup (Max-Q) treatments and in the 1,3-D-fumigated treatment than in the nonfumigated treatment. Moreover, trunk diameter did not differ among the Jesup (Max-Q) and the fumigated treatments. Preplant Jesup (Max-Q) tall fescue was as effective as 1,3-D fumigation in increasing tree growth in an M. incognita-infested site.
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