Nematodes are microscopic worms that attack vegetable roots and reduce growth and yield. Nematode populations can be reduced temporarily by soil solarization. It is a technique which uses the sun’s heat to kill the soil-borne pests. Also, adding organic matter to the soil will help reduce nematode populations. The organic matter will also improve water holding capacity and increase nutrient content.
If you choose to use pesticides, please follow pesticide label directions carefully. Learn to properly identify garden pests and use synthetic chemicals only when a serious pest problem exists, or a history of a particular problem exists at your site. Organic gardeners can use certain products like BT (Dipel) to control pest. Please remember not every product is for use on every crop, so be sure the target crop is listed on the label before purchasing the product. Follow label directions for measuring, mixing and pay attention to any pre-harvest interval warning. The pre-harvest interval is the time that must elapse between application of the pesticide and harvest. For example, broccoli sprayed with carbaryl (Sevin) should not be harvested for two weeks after application.
Pesticide application techniques:
- Spray the plant thoroughly, covering both the upper and lower leaf surfaces.
- Do not apply pesticides on windy days.
- Follow all safety precautions on the label, keep others and pets out of the area until sprays have dried.
- Apply insecticides late in the afternoon or in the early evening when bees and other pollinators are less active.
- To reduce spray burn, make sure the plants are not under moisture stress.
- Water if necessary and let leaves dry before spraying.
- Avoid using soaps and oils when the weather is very hot, because this can cause leaf burn.
- Control slugs with products containing iron phosphate.
Many common diseases can be controlled with sprays like chlorothalonil, maneb, or mancozeb fungicide. Powdery mildews can be controlled with triadimefon, myclobutanil, sulfur, or horticultural oils. Rust can be controlled with sulfur, propiconazole, ortebuconazole. Sprays are generally more effective than dusts.
If you have questions please call your UF/IFAS county extension office. We can provide helpful information about insect and disease identification.