Too many people hear nematode and instantly want to kill them off. (At least those who even know what a nematode is in the gardening world.) I got into a discussion with another woman and she told me if I didn’t treat my soil with nematode deterrent my vegetables would be stunted and I would get roundworm. Better safe than sorry was her ending logic. A little information is scary sometimes – especially when we don’t seek further clarification on what we just learned.

Nematodes are awesome especially the good guy ones!   They are an intrical part of the soil food web and making nutrients soluble for the plant uptake.    They are amazing creatures under the microscope.  I always get excited when I see one. 

From an agricultural perspective, there’s really two forms of nematode which are important to be aware of: predatory or parasitic.
Predatory nematodes are types which seek out and attack an assortment of other garden pests like cutworms or squash vine borers. I often refer to these as beneficial nematodes or the “good guys”, as they help keep our gardens pest-free. These are great to have around!
Parasitic nematodes, on the other hand, are not so great. Often invisible to the naked eye, these will attack living plant matter and consume it. They can cause the plant to focus its attention on healing that damage rather than healthy growth.
Root knot nematodes, the Meloidogyne species, fall into the parasitic category. They can cause our plants to inexplicably yellow, develop stunted growth, or look weak. Their chewing on the root systems of plants can allow other plant diseases to take hold as well

And then, there are the good guys.   “Fungi and nematodes are among the most abundant organisms in soil habitats. They provide essential ecosystem services and play crucial roles for maintaining the stability of food-webs and for facilitating nutrient cycling. As two of the very abundant groups of organisms, fungi and nematodes interact with each other in multiple ways…. read more