Root-knot Nematode on Vegetable Crops – Vegetable Crops Hotline

Root-knot Nematode on Vegetable Crops

Root-knot nematodes (RKN) are a devasting soilborne pest on a wide range of vegetables and fruits. Root-knot nematode infections result in root swellings called galls (Figure 1). Heavily infected crops by RKN display aboveground symptoms such as stunted growth, wilting, and leaf yellowing. We often found root-knot nematode causes damage to watermelons, cantaloupes, and tomatoes in southern Indiana. Recently we found RKN caused damage to carrots inside a high tunnel in northern Indiana.

Figure 1. Galling of tomato roots infested by root-knot nematode.

Figure 1. Galling of tomato roots infested by root-knot nematode.

As part of a federally funded research project, our extension team and nematology lab at Purdue are trying to understand the extent of damage caused by root-knot nematode on vegetable crops in Indiana and identify the RKN species that exist in our region. This effort will help us develop effective management approaches. If you want to find out if root-knot nematode is a problem at your farm, please contact Wenjing Guan ( or Dan Egel ( We will arrange a soil nematode test for you.

Meanwhile, we are asking vegetable farmers’ and agricultural professionals’ to take this short survey  The purpose of the survey is to assess awareness about the pathogen among vegetable farmers in our region and understand research and extension needs in controlling this pest. The survey will take no more than 3 minutes. Thank you very much!

The project is funded by United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant no. 2021-51181-35904.

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