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  • Nematode question

    I haven't had much issue with them up north and that I grow mostly in pots, but I just bare rooted a tree for the first time that I received about two seasons ago, which should be a lesson to check any tree you get asap. Anyway, I have been bare rooting my smaller trees in a plastic storage bin to catch the potting mix and keep everything clean. Right now the tree mix, pot, gloves and everything is in a bag on the curb. I have no problem buying a new bin at walmart, but I'm wondering if Ill find more trees with this issue. I don't want to keep buying bins. Is there a good way to sanitize the bin or just start over and hope for the best the rest of the way.

  • #2
    I often up-pot my figs with my old plastic containers always, always, always wash them with scrub brush and antibacterial soap first. Then, I spray them with bleach cleaner and allow them to soak for about 5 - 10 minutes before rinsing them multiple times. I then wipe them down with rubbing alcohol and rinse them again. I have not had a problem with this method.

    I do not play around with nematodes.

    You CAN sequester a tree and take cuttings since nematodes only affect the roots. The trunk is a goner, most likely (my heat-treated and sanitized VdB was still infected when I tried to root the trunk.) Of course, if you keep the tree on your property, the likelihood of them infecting your soil is pretty much guaranteed. Either way, I'd be concerned about air-layering an infected tree since ants like to colonize in the container and would probably walk into your rooting setup.


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    • #3
      I wash all my pots with hot water, soap and usually some bleach. I no longer use used pots from unknown sources. Only ones I bought it from another member if they send me a tree. This tree I had picked up and due to a moving situation I did not bare have time to bare root it. What's a little scary is this is a tree from a local source. Nematodes arnt usually around here. I took cuttings from the tree and everything else is out in the garbage. Thankfully, I kept this tree on the deck last year at our new place if that makes a difference. Anyway I guess I will suck it up and get a new bin. I won't take a chance for a $15

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      • #4
        What are the signs or symptoms?

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        • #5
          When you look at the roots you will see lumps or balls in the roots. The trees usually don't grow well. I don't know if they die eventually or not, but they won't be right.

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          • #6
            Nematode infested figs will eventually die if kept containerized. There's a video floating around that asserts that if you plant a large, healthy rootball deep enough, the roots can escape the first 2 feet of soil, which apparently is only as deep as nematodes live. I guess it should grow fine that way. Maybe?

            Anyway, above the soil line, the branches are scraggly and the growth is slow. There are a few fig "trees" in my neighborhood that have been there for at least 5 years - all of them look like arthritic clusters of whips, none of the trunks are larger than a broom handle, and none of them are taller than 8 feet. I also had a containerized Scott's Black that got infected and for like two years, I couldn't figure out why it hadn't put out more than 3 inches of green branch growth yet all of its cuttings were doing fine. I then saw the root nodes and everything clicked.

            I'm not sure if a fig will die if kept in-ground but nematodes interfere with water and nutrient absorption, so maybe. At any rate, with such severe affects on foliage (and therefore photosynthesis), branch growth, and nutrient absorption, I can't imagine that the harvest and fruit quality won't be diminished.

            So just avoid the headache and possible spread by saving cuttings and tossing the infected tree.


            And no, planting marigolds in your pots will not mitigate the effects of, nor will it kill, nematodes.
            Last edited by Levar; 03-20-2016, 03:39 PM.

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            • #7
              Ok, so I went and bought a new bin and I was a little more careful bare rooting some other trees that I had not done yet into garbage bags, etc and then I got to comfortable and went back to using the new bin I bought and I found one last tree that I did I have not barerooted yet and I quickly do it in the bin so I can reuse some of the mix and it has Nematodes! So, this is two trees from the same source that have this issue, so into the garbage everything goes again... Now I just bought this new bin I use to mix soil and repot. Do you guys think there is really away to clean this thing down? I really hate to go get another one. Is I fill int with very hot water bleach , soap and really try to scrub it should that work? Or just say screw it and buy another one, hope this is it and then never wait this long to bare root a tree?

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              • #8
                According to the university of florida, nematodes are killed by drying and exposure to sunlight. So clean the bin, then leave it outside in the sun for a day or two. It should be free of nematodes then.
                Fig & Blackberry Farmer in Sunol, CA.

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                • #9
                  I had them on 2 of my potted trees years ago I believe it was my fault the trees were in a shaded area and the soil never really had a chance to dry out it stayed quite soggy Once I knew that I had them I immediately air layered the trees a few inches above the soil once I was able to repot them I tossed the bottom pots and all every since then I don't keep any plants in the shade and I never had that problem again

                  I heard that you could bare root the plant and put them in boiling water and it would kill them???

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                  • Levar
                    Levar commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I tried bare rooting and placing the trunk of a VdB in 125-130F water for 15 to 20 minutes (I think those numbers are right; this was a few years ago.) It didn't work. The roots regrew, still infested. The cuttings I took were totally fine and continue to grow well.

                    Maybe there was a flaw somewhere in my trial.

                • #10
                  This video has a little information on nematodes

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                  • Levar
                    Levar commented
                    Editing a comment
                    This is the video I reference earlier. Thanks, Dave.
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