Seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum Swartz) is a warm-season grass capable of growing in the saline environments present in coastal areas of Florida (2). A major limitation of cultivating turfgrasses in the sandy soils of Florida is the destruction of roots by plant-parasitic nematodes (3). A survey was performed to determine the plant-parasitic nematodes associated with seashore paspalum. Sampling locations ranged from Daytona Beach to Miami Beach on the eastern coast and from Tampa to Naples on the western coast. Soil samples were taken during the spring and summer months of 2002 and 2003 from different golf courses and home lawns. In 2002, soil samples were taken from five golf courses (37 samples) and seven home lawns (17 samples). In the next year, three golf courses (23 samples) and 13 home lawns (34 samples) were sampled. Nematodes were extracted from 100 cm3 soil samples using a modified centrifugal-sugar flotation technique (1). Ten genera of plant-parasitic nematodes were present from the samples obtained from golf courses. In addition, two more plant-parasitic nematode genera were present in samples from home lawns. The genera most frequently detected were Hoplolaimus, Mesocriconema, Hemicriconemoides, and Helicotylenchus, which were found at 100, 100, 88, and 88% of the golf courses surveyed and at 75, 95, 70, and 85% of the home lawns sampled, respectively. Genera Xiphinema, Pratylenchus, and Tylenchorhynchus, were found in less than 30% of the golf courses and less than 45% of the home lawns sampled. Genera Peltamigratus and Hemicycliophora were associated with a low percentage of the home lawns. A moderately high frequency of the genus Belonolaimus present in soil samples from golf courses (50%) and home lawns (40%) was consistent for other grasses grown in sandy soils associated with coastal areas in Florida (4). Populations of the genera Belonolaimus, Hoplolaimus, Helicotylenchus, Trichodorus, Hemicriconemoides, and Mesocriconema were above the action threshold levels for bermudagrass used by the University of Florida Nematode Assay Laboratory. Genera Hoplolaimus, Belonolaimus, and Trichodorus were associated with irregular-shaped yellowing and declining turfgrass areas sampled in this survey. Large populations of Helicotylenchus spp. (>500 nematodes per 100 cm3 of soil) were often found associated with seashore paspalum. To our knowledge, this is the first report of plant-parasitic nematodes associated with seashore paspalum in Florida.
References: (1) W. R. Jenkins. Plant Dis. Rep. 48:692, 1964. (2) J. Morton. Proc. Fla. State Hortic. Soc. 86:482, 1973. (3) V. G. Perry and H. Rhoades. Pages 144--149 in: Nematology in the Southern Region of the United States. Southern Cooperative Series Bull. 276, University of Arkansas Agric. Pub., Fayetteville, 1982. (4) R. T. Robbins and K. R. Barker. J. Nematol. 6:1, 1974.