Nematode Eelworm Control — Learn About Eelworms In Potatoes

What Are Potato Eelworms: Prevention And Treatment For Eelworms

Any seasoned gardener will tell you that they love a challenge. That’s probably because most gardeners deal with a series of problems from the moment their seeds are planted until they plow them back down in the fall. One of the more annoying and difficult to detect issues gardeners face is with a small, eel-like worm that lives in the soil and can be a serious problem to your vegetable garden. Parasitic nematodes, also known as eelworms, can’t be seen with the naked eye, but when they invade your plants, particularly potatoes, they can cause major damage.

A nematode by any other name is just as nasty of a garden problem. Nematode eelworm control can help safeguard your potato crop. Learn about eelworms in potatoes and what you can do to stop them in this insightful article.

What are Potato Eelworms?

Eelworms in potatoes are not an uncommon problem. When these plant parasites are living in the soil, they quickly seek out their favorite hosts, such as potatoes and tomatoes. Once located, these tiny animals go to work eating root hairs and eventually boring through larger roots or the tubers of your potatoes.

As they feed, eelworms can cause so much root damage that your plants develop persistent wilting, with floppy yellow leaves that soon turn brown or black as the plant dies. If you’re lucky enough to successfully eek out a harvest, eelworms in potatoes will appear as damaged areas of flesh with multiple visible boreholes.

Treatment for Eelworms

Gardens where potatoes or tomatoes have been planted year after year in the same section of soil are particularly susceptible to infection by this kind of nematode. Eelworm control starts with crop rotations in at least six year cycles. Unfortunately, if your potatoes are already under attack, there’s not much you can do to stop it.

In some areas, solarization can bring the soil temperature high enough to kill eelworms and their eggs. If you’ve had problems in the past, try using resistant potatoes like the following early varieties:

Maincrop varieties are also known to carry some resistance to eelworm attacks. These include:

Potato Blight Cause, Identification. Prevention, Treatment Potato Blight

Potato blight is the worst problem that the potato grower faces. Once it arrives it can devastate a crop in a day or two and when the infection moves down from the foliage to the potato tubers, cause them to rot as well.

Potatoes infected with late blight are shrunken on the outside, corky and rotted inside They also stink and once smelt, never forgotten.

Most famously the potato blight was, if not the only cause, certainly the major contributor to the Irish Famine of the 1840’s.

The blight had started in Europe and eventually reached Ireland where the potato was a staple food. Worse still, the Irish all grew the same very susceptible variety (Irish Lumper). Not only did they lose crops in the ground but crops in store were lost as well.

There’s a lesson for growers today in the Irish Famine. Lack of genetic diversity and mono-culture increases the risk of devastation. Sadly farmers ignore it at our peril.

Cause of Potato Blight

Potato Blight is caused by the Phytophthora infestans fungus This fungus can also infect other members of the potato family, Solanaceae such as tomatoes. It spreads via airborne spores on the wind until it lands on a susceptible plant and the weather conditions are right for it to develop, warm and humid.

Blighted King Edward Potatoes in July.
One day the haulm is fine, next like this – browning and obviously dying.

Being near to other potato growers increases your risk as there are more spores around but even growers in isolated spots with no nearby potatoes are vulnerable.

If you’ve been growing for some time and you think potato blight is getting worse, you’re right. This is for two reasons.

First the weather. Over recent years winters have been warmer and summers wetter in Britain. The conditions are more favourable to blight than they used to be. Whether this is a long term effect of climate change or just statistical chance doesn’t matter – the fact is the weather favours blight.

Secondly we have more strains of blight than we used to. Until the 1990s we basically had one strain of blight that would change over the years overcoming blight resistant potato varieties. Then another strain of blight was imported in a shipment of potatoes from Mexico.

The two strains mingled and reproduced so producing more strains and currently there are 4 or 5 variants on potato blight in the UK. Very similar to the way flu develops. One year we have Hong Kong Flu and the next another type as the virus mutates. Hopefully we won’t have a blight version of the 1919 Spanish flu which killed more people than the first world war did.

Smith Periods & Hutton Periods

The warm and humid conditions ideal for blight to develop have been formally defined and are known as Smith Periods. A ‘Smith period’ is a 48 hour period in which the minimum temperature is 10°C or more and the relative humidity exceeds 90% for at least 11 hours during the first 24 hours and for at least 11 hours again during the final 24 hours.

Recently a new, more simple, measure of blight risk known as a Hutton Period has come into use. A Full Hutton Period occurs when the following criteria are met on 2 consecutive days:

  • Minimum air temperatures are at least 10°C
  • Relative Humidity is 90% or above for at least 6 hours
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By watching for Smith or Hutton periods it is possible to predict when blight is most likely to appear and use that warning for growers to take preventative action. You can get automated warnings of Hutton Periods sent direct to your inbox by signing on to the blightwatch web site.

Symptoms of Potato Blight

Initial symptom of Potato Blight is small brown patches on the leaves like this.

Initially a spore or more likely a number of spores will land on the potato haulm. In dry weather they lie dormant but when the humidity is right, the fungus starts to grow. You may notice brown freckles on the leaves or sections of leaves with brown patches and a sort of yellowish border spreading from the brown patch.

In a severe attack you may discover that all the foliage is down and brown, starting to rot. It’s frightening how quickly potato blight can spread in the right circumstances.

The blight spores will fall or be washed down by rain onto the soil and any exposed tubers. Once in a tuber it will spread from tuber to tuber and infect the entire crop.

Potato blight affected tubers (the actual potato) by can be told by dark patches on the skin. Cutting the potato in half will reveal brownish rot spreading down from the skin. Eventually the potatoes almost liquefy, becoming jelly like and give off a distinctive stench. The smell of blight is unmistakeable.

If you are storing potatoes that smell can actually help identify the infected potatoes when there is still little to see. On a good sunny day, spread the potatoes out on a mat outside. You’ll notice the flies make a beeline for the infected potatoes.

Prevention and Treatment Of Potato Blight

The Sarpo Mira being blight resistant are unaffected.
Photo taken at the same time as the King Edward potatoes above

The blight fungus is generally killed by cold weather although with the new crossbred strains the signs are some are better at coping and over-wintering. The main disease reservoir is infected tubers in the ground or in storage sacks. Wherever it comes from, the spores can travel miles on the wind and there is little you can do if the weather is right for blight.

The farmers have a range of chemicals available to spray their vast acreages of mono-culture potatoes but the chemicals available to non-licensed home growers are more limited. Even with repeated weekly spraying in the horrendous wet summer of 2012 many farmers lost the battle to the blight anyway.

The traditional spray for blight is Bordeaux mixture. I’m not sure this is such a good idea as it contains copper and that is hardly good for your diet although it was organically approved. It is worth checking in horticultural suppliers what anti-fungals are currently available and approved for use on potatoes as the list shrinks every year.

If you’re relying on spraying, then it should be as a preventative rather than a cure. When a Smith or Hutton period is reported you spray and at the first sign of blight striking the haulm, remove the affected foliage and spray the rest. You just might get away with it, so long as only a few leaves are affected, there is a good chance of repelling the blight.

If however you don’t win or don’t like using chemical sprays, cut off the haulm and dispose of it. You can hot-compost the haulm but the safest answer is to bin or burn it. The potato tubers won’t develop any further but leave them be for 3 weeks nonetheless. This is to hopefully stop the blight spores getting to the tubers as you harvest.

After harvesting and storing, check potatoes regularly for signs of blight and remove any suspect tubers at once from your store.

Good practice helps prevent potato blight

  • Be sure to get all the potatoes out from the ground when you harvest, even the tiny ones if you can so you don’t leave a reservoir of infection on your plot.
  • Ensure potatoes are well earthed up to protect tubers so preventing it spreading into them even if you get blight in the foliage
  • Water from the base rather than spraying potatoes. If the weather is right but there is no rain, your artificial rain will give the blight a hold. Leaky hoses are a good way to water potatoes, unless you have hosepipe restrictions

Avoiding Potato Blight

Since potato blight tends to hit later in the season when the weather conditions favour it, growing first and second earlies can dodge the fungus. Not every year, obviously, but most years they’re out of the ground when blight arrives.

Blight Resistant Varieties of Potato

The relatively recent development and release to market of Sarpo Hungarian varieties of potato that are extremely blight resistant has been a boon to home growers. I’ve had the Sarpo Mira standing healthily when every other potato on the allotment site had gone down to blight.

Best Potatoes for Foliage Blight Resistance

First Early – Orla, Premiere

Second Early – Cosmos, Nadine

Main Crop – Cara, Sante, Romano, Kondor, Sarpo Axona, Sarpo Mira, Sarpo Gwyn, Sarpo Shona, Sarpo Una, Lady Balfour, Symfonia, Verity, Pentland Dell, Pentland Squire

Best Potatoes for Tuber Blight Resistance

First Early – Orla, Colleen

Second Early – Cosmos, Nicola

Main Crop – Cara, Sante, Record, Kondor, Sarpo Axona, Sarpo Mira, Sarpo Gwyn, Sarpo Shona, Sarpo Una, Lady Balfour, Valor, Picasso

Note: Sarpo Mira has the highest rating for tuber blight.

Potato pests and control

Potato pests, as well as pathogens of itdiseases are bacteria, fungi and viruses. Often, many of them are able to develop due to habitat conditions. We will talk about the diseases of vegetable crops at another time, and today we are interested in pests. Among especially dangerous garden parasites, the following are noted:

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In this article we will tell you how to deal with them.

Pests of potatoes: wireworm

It’s a worm. Often you can see how fresh potatoes are literally permeated with some black moves. This is the result of the activities of the wireworm. His moves are a real misfortune for potatoes! You will not get rid of cleaning the tuber. It will be much easier to throw it away! But you will not send all the potatoes into the trash! So you need to take action urgently! Fighting potato pests is not an easy task, but only for those who do not know how to do it!

Fighting the Wireworm

Often add ash, chalk and lime to the soil. Excellent means — dolomite (calcareous) flour. Soak the soil in this way once in four years and necessarily in advance of planting the potatoes. You can use the ground eggshell. Regularly scatter it throughout the site throughout the summer. In this case, the wireman will not hurt your crop any more, be sure.

Pests of potatoes: the bear

This is similar to a river cancer insect harmsunderground parts of cabbage, tomatoes, and in root crops (potatoes) in tubers, it consumes huge cavities that rot with time. In addition, the parasite most severely bites the stems. Protection of potatoes from pests led by a bear takes place through the use of manure traps.

How to deal with the bear

Lay out all over the area fresh dung heaps. 2 to 1 hundred square meters of land. There will certainly be a bear. After 20 days, check these heaps and destroy the insects that have got into them! The fact is that these parasites are very attracted by the smell of fresh or overgrown horse and cow dung. It is for this reason that they should not fertilize the garden as a bait. Attract to the site of the bear.

Pests of potatoes: Colorado potato beetle

Of course, this is the most dangerous pest ofavailable. It is distributed almost all over Russia. Potatoes themselves do not damage the beetles themselves. All the harm comes from their larvae. So, how to deal with this pest. Fighting the Colorado Beetle

  1. Use special chemical preparations for spraying.
  2. Do not forget about the manual collection and destruction of beetles and their larvae.
  3. You can prepare yourself a poison. Pour a solution of carbofos into the bucket with potato peels in the ratio of 2 tablespoons of the preparation to half a liter of water. Dampen these cleaning. When planting potatoes, lay them in the holes (depth — 30 cm). Hungry and overwintered Colorado beetles gather in these holes, absorb poison and perish.
  4. Very good decrease in the number of Colorado beetles, if in the morning pollinate the tops of clean and sifted wood ash (ratio: 2 tablespoons per 1 sq. M.).

How to Get Rid of Porcupines in Yard

It is my goal to educate the public about porcupines and other wildlife, and provide tips for safe, effective, and responsible wildlife removal.

HUMANE HINTS: In some cases, you don’t need to remove porcupines at all — just leave them alone! Spray very hot sauce, like capsaicin, on plants. Install barriers around plants. NEVER attempt to poison porcupines. Read below for how-to hints.

If you need help, click on my Nationwide List of Porcupine Removal Experts for a pro near you.

How to Get Rid of Porcupines — Porcupines are prickly mammals that are native to the North American continent. They are well known for their appearance, but in case you don’t know, porcupines are about the size of a medium-sized dog and are dark brown or black in color. Porcupines are furry creatures but are armed with an arsenal of 3000+ quills that line their back, heads, tail and sides that come off easily in your skin if you anger them. However, porcupines are solitary creatures and are content to leave you alone. The only time you have to worry about you, your kids or your pets being attack by one is if you scare them or try to catch them.

With that being said, even though porcupines are slow moving and like to be left alone, they can be a really big problem. Porcupines like to eat plants which can be really annoying if you have a vegetable garden or try to keep flowers. Porcupines will devour all the vegetation in your yard and can even kill trees by stripping the bark off of the bottom of the trunk and eating the roots. Porcupines are also addicted to salty things, so if you have tools, gloves, clothes or anything you could have gotten sweat on, porcupines will chew up. These critters have super strong jaws and can mangle your tools, believe it or not. If you have porcupine problems, try some of these suggestions to get rid of them.

  • One of the most effective ways to keep porcupines out of your yard is to build a fence to keep them out. This is not the cheapest route to take however. Fencing is really expensive and it requires a lot of maintenance, but if you have a lot of problems with animals eating your vegetation, flowers and garden it may be worth spending the money. Not to mention that it makes your yard look nice. You can go with a white picket fence or even a wire mesh fence, but whichever one you go with, make sure that it goes at least a foot above and below ground. This keeps animals from burrowing underneath or jumping over the fence.
  • Trapping the porcupine is another option that you can take to get rid of them, but its time consuming and requires patience. You can get traps at most hardware or garden stores and some animal control officers will either let you rent one or will come out and set the traps themselves. Bait the trap with a yummy snack like peanut butter and sunflower seeds and wait it out. Make sure you wash the trap with soap before you set it and wear latex gloves so you don’t leave your scent on it. Check the trap everyday and once you catch it, relocate it to a nice park or wooded area that is at least 10 miles away from your house.
  • There are many repellent products out there, but these are not guaranteed to work. You can try predator scent like coyote or fox but you constantly have to reapply it to keep it fresh and the porcupine will probably figure it out that it’s not real. You can also use an ultrasonic emitter to keep them away, but again this is not 100% certain to work. There are also water repellent systems like motion activated sprinkler systems that will spray the porcupine if it comes close to the place where you set it up.
  • If all else fails, or you do not want to deal with the hassle of getting rid of the porcupines yourself, CALL A PROFESSIONAL!
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More in-detail how-to porcupine removal articles:
Information about porcupine trapping — analysis and methods for how to trap.
Information about how to kill a porcupine — with poison or other methods.
Information about how to keep porcupines away — prevention techniques.
Information about how to catch a porcupine — remove one stuck in the house.
Information about porcupine repellent — analysis of types and effectiveness.

Porcupine Information & Facts

Porcupine Appearance: Porcupines are large rodents. They are covered from head to toe in sharp, hair-like quills. The undercoat of this animal is usually dark brown, and the outer coat of barbs is lighter, giving the porcupine a frosted look. These quills are modified pieces of hair covered with a thick layer of keratin. Porcupines are not able to project their barbs any length of distance. They have a hunched posture, mostly due to their long back legs and shorter front ones. They generally weigh about twenty pounds and can grow to be three feet long. Like all rodents, porcupines have continually growing teeth.

Porcupine Habitat and Behavior: Porcupines are nocturnal and make their homes in rocky areas for daytime slumber. Some porcupines live in trees in regions where rocks are not abundant. The rodent is almost always found in a forested area, though the type of tree coverage may vary. A sure sign of a porcupine den is the pile of feces at the entrance of the cave or tree hollow. Porcupines do not hibernate, though they will remain inactive for long periods of poor weather. Cold weather will often drive this solitary creature to shared den sites with others of its kind.

Female porcupines give birth to a single baby after an elaborate mating display by the male. This display is much like a dance, and is only performed by the winning male if a fight over the female was initiated. At its conclusion, the porcupine dance involves the male spraying urine over the female’s head. During the mating session, both male and female porcupines will flatten their quills against their bodies to prevent injury to one another. The female porcupine will give birth to the baby seven months after the mating ritual. The baby porcupine is born with soft quills. The special hair fibers harden after only an hour past birth. The infant will remain with the mother for a period of six months while it learns the basic necessities of porcupine life.

Interestingly enough, porcupines have antibiotic properties within their skin. This adaptation is to prevent accidental infection if the porcupine is stuck with its own quills. Often found in trees, these rodents frequently fall from trunks, landing on quills that have fallen out during the process.

Porcupine Diet: Porcupines are primarily herbivores. They feed on the soft layer of bark on trees, as well as sticks and other types of forage. They enjoy carrots and other root vegetables. On rare occasions, porcupines will feed on carrion, but usually only if food is scarce.

Porcupine Nuisance Concerns: The porcupine is not a deliberate nuisance to humans. It is the destructive nature of this rodent and the unappealing thought of quill exposure that warrants humans requesting little contact with the animal. A porcupine is likely to create a den in any area it feels is secure, and this list includes the underside of decks, sheds, garages, and other outbuildings. The desire to eat is what ultimately makes homeowners dislike this large rodent. A porcupine can strip a bark off a tree and kill it. This is particularly troublesome because porcupines prefer trees with smooth bark—as most decorative trees and shrubs have. Landscape damage caused by these animals can cost thousands of dollars to repair. Porcupines do also pose a serious threat for pets, especially dogs. Quills are painful and difficult to remove from the flesh of an afflicted house pet. Cats do not harass porcupines the way dogs do, and once a dog has tangled with this particular rodent, a costly veterinarian bill is sure to follow.

Porcupine Diseases: The porcupine is remarkably resistant to many diseases, most likely due to its limited interaction with other animals. Though rare, porcupines have been known to carry rabies. The biggest threat concerning these animals is with the physical damage to other creatures caused by their protective layer of sharp quills.

This site is intended to provide porcupine education and information, so that you can make an informed decision if you need to deal with a porcupine problem. This site provides many porcupine control articles and strategies, if you wish to attempt to solve the problem yourself. If you are unable to do so, which is likely with many cases of porcupine removal, please go to the home page and click the USA map, where I have wildlife removal experts listed in over 500 cites and towns, who can properly help you with your nuisance porcupine.

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