Plant parasitic nematodes in Polyhouse - Damage and management

In India Polyhouse technology is gaining popularity for growing high value crops like colored capsicums, European cucumbers, different varieties of rose flowers, Gerbera, Chrysanthemum, Carnations, Orchids etc.,.


Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne sp) are considered to be important pests in protected cultivation. Under protected cultivation incidence of nematodes have become severe and has caused losses up to 60 % in poly house crops.

Root knot nematode which infests green house plants

Incidence of plant parasitic nematodes is more severe because of congenial conditions for nematodes to multiply and invade like higher temperature, humidity and high use of inputs like fertilizers and plant growth promoters in poly houses. Through nematode infestation in capsicum, bacteria Ralstonia solanacearum gets entry into the roots as secondary infection and together cause wilting disease.

Rootknot nematode infested root and non infested root of capsicum in poly house

 Symptoms on plants due to root nematode infestation

Nematode infestation causes characteristic galls in the roots resulting in damages and dislocation of xylem vessels which disturbs the movement of water and minerals.

The characteristic symptoms are

  • Stunted growth

Symptoms of root knot nematodes in ploy house capsicum

  • Formation of small and chlorotic leaves.

Symptoms of nematode infestation in poly house cucumber

  • Distorted flowers and peaches

Symptoms of flower dropping and peach deforming in ploy house due to nematode infestation

  • Flower drop and mis- happened fruits and mis-shaped fruits

 Leaf discolouration due to nematode infestion in cucumber in ploy house

 Main causes for nematode infestation

  • Contaminated soil or soil mixture or growing medium
  • Monocropping   and
  • Infested planting materials.
  • Tillage activities which are meant for nematode suppression like summer ploughing, fallowing and crop rotation in field crops are not practicable in poly houses.

Healthy ploy house crops cucumber and capsicum without root knot nematodes infestation

Control and management measures

 A. Treatment for nematode infested standing crops                                     a. a.Drenching for individual plants 100 to 150 mL of following mixtures at 15 days interval

b. Through drip irrigation in 500 L of following mixtures at 15 days interval


Control rootknot nematodes in ploy house crops drenchi or in irrigation 

Control rootknot nematodes in ploy house crops drenchi or in irrigations

c. Growing cowpea (trap crop for root-knot nematode) closely to the main crop and removing the plants out of poly house at 45 days after sowing.

B. Treatment for soil before planting or sowing new crops in nematode  infested land

  1. Growing Mustard crop (antagonistic to nematodes) and incorporating in situ at flowering stage. This not only kills nematodes but also plant pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
  2. Neem cake at 500 kg to 750 kg per acre in to the soil two weeks before sowing/planting.
  3. Applying Multiplex Saferoot 5 kg/acre mixed with 50 kg farmyard manure fifteen days before sowing/planting and                                       
  4. Use of chemical pesticide like Furadon [Carbofuran 3%] or Caldan 4 G [Cartap Hydrochloride 4% G] at rate of 5 -10 kg per acre at the time of land preparation. Soil application nfor root knot nematodes in poly house
  5. Soil treatment [Drench or through drip] with 0.5 per cent formalin at 100 mL/kg soil followed by covering with polythene tarps for two weeks before sowing/planting.



Senior Agronomist, BigHaat.

 Disclaimer: The performance of the product (s) is subject to usage as per manufacturer guidelines. Read enclosed leaflet of the product(s) carefully before use. The use of this product(s)/ information is at the discretion of user.

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