Plants infected with Meloidogyne spp. (root-knot nematodes) often are stunted and lose aesthetic value due to chlorosis, wilting, and leaf margin necrosis. We assessed reproduction of three root-knot nematode species, Meloidogyne arenaria, M. incognita, and M. javanica, on five plant taxa native to the southeastern U.S. The plant taxa included were: Hydrangea quercifolia `Oakleaf', Viburnum obovatum `Densa', Itea virginica `Little Henry', Illicium parviflorum, and Clethra alnifolia `Ruby Spice'. Three commonly grown non-native shrubs, Ligustrum japonicum `Texanum', Ilexcrenata `Compacta', and Buxus microphylla `Wintergem', also were included in the study to serve as susceptible, positive controls. Highest gall rating (10) was observed on roots of I. crenata `Compacta' infected with M. incognita, but highest number of eggs (6397 eggs/g of roots) was observed in plants of this cultivar inoculated with M. javanica. Few or no galls were observed on roots of the five native plant taxa, and nematode eggs were recovered only from roots of I. virginica `Little Henry' inoculated with M. arenaria and M. javanica (13 and 20 eggs/g of roots, respectively). Fresh weights of shoots or roots were not affected by nematode inoculation. Due to lack of root gall development and little or no reproduction on the native taxa, we conclude that these are resistant or immune to the three species of Meloidogyne and might be suitable for planting in infested soil.
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