Ever wonder why we only have one commercial rootstock that we use for Florida peach production? It’s because of a type of root-knot nematode found only here in Florida. In fact, it’s scientific name is Meloidogyne floridensis.
If you have it in your orchard, you might see short shoot growth, early bloom, and a general delay in fruit development (see below). The tree on the right was found to have nematode galls on the root system that was affecting the tree growth. Successive years of weak growth can cause tree collapse, and will require removal and replanting.
Help Us Out!
So, what can be done? First things first, we need some help! Dr. Janete Brito at FDACS, DPI in Gainesville would like to conduct a survey of growers orchards.
Here is her request:
Scientists of FDACS, Division of Plant Industry, University of Florida, IFAS and other research agencies are joining forces through a cooperative Farm Bill agreement to study and identify plant-parasitic nematodes associated with peach trees in Florida peach orchards. So far, the potential risk posed by these nematodes to the new peach industry in Florida has not been fully assessed because of lack of information on their identity and distribution in the state. Scientists involved in this cooperative project are confident that an intensive nematode survey in Florida peach followed by accurate morphological and molecular analyses of plant-parasitic nematodes found will provide precise information on the species that parasitize peach in Florida. Additionally, an associated survey for detection of plum pox virus (PPV) will be carried out. The results of these surveys will provide information about the incidence of these pathogens in Florida peach.
The sites to be surveyed for nematodes will include existing peach orchards, nurseries and land destined to peach production, including abandoned citrus groves. The support and cooperation of the peach growers in the form of access to orchards, nurseries and other sites to be sampled are much needed for the success of this project. As permission and access to the sites to be surveyed is granted, a timetable and strategy will be developed trying to minimize potential interference with the activity of peach growers involved in the survey. Scientists are hoping that this initiative will receive a favorable reception by the Florida peach industry. Peach growers wishing more information about this cooperative project or willing to provide access to their orchards for the survey should contact Dr. Janete Brito, FDACS nematologist; phone: (352)395-4752; e-mail: janete.brito@freshfromflorida. com.
Thank you in advance for helping to figure out where these nematodes are, so that we can target control methods. If you have any questions, please let Dr. Brito know! Cheers, Mercy