Root lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus penetrans Cobb) are well-adapted to sandy soils and have a host range including most agronomic, horticultural, and wild species grown in Ontario. As native climax sand-prairie species have coexisted with the nematode for millennia, resistance or tolerance may have developed. We have screened using the Baermann pan technique, soil samples taken from a private collection of sand-prairie species collected from local prairie remnants. Several species [Liatris cylindracea Michx., Monarda punctata L., Pycnanthemum virginianum L., Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench] proved to be excellent hosts (>500/kg of soil) of root lesion nematode, confirming the presence of this nematode in the soil. Over two seasons, we determined that 10 plant species belonging to the families Asclepiadaceae, Compositae, Graminae, and Leguminosae to support very low numbers of P. penetrans. Brown-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta L.) had no root lesion nematodes throughout both seasons, Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa L.) very low counts, while Switch grass (Panicum virgatum L.) and Indian grass [Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash] had detectable root lesion nematodes on only one sampling date each year. Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman), Little Bluestem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx) Nash], Sand Dropseed [Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) Gray], Side-oats Grama [Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.)) Torr], Broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus L.), Bush clover [Lespedeza capitata (Michx] also are poor hosts. These species have potential as cover or rotation crops useful for nematode management.
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