Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate

Department name when degree awarded

Crop Production and Management

Committee Chair(s)

DeVere R. McAllister


DeVere R. McAllister


Gerald Griffin


Orson Cannon


Plant nematodes belong to a large group of invertebrates known as round worms, They derive their name from the Greek word "nema," meaning thread. In literature some authors refer to nematodes as nemas. In England and many parts of the United States, plant-parasitic nematodes are called eelworms.

While some damage to plants results from mechanical injury, salivary secretions injected by the nematode into the plant are usually the major cause of damage. Experiments conducted in the first part of the present century have demonstrated large differences in plant growth in soil infested with nematodes and soil freed of nematodes by chemicals. Any plant subjected to nematode attack is reduced in growth.

The most important nematode which attacks and retards the growth of alfalfa in Utah is the stem nematode. This parasite has been reported in most of the major alfalfa-producing counties of the state. In certain areas the nematode is prevalent to such a degree that only resistant varieties can be grown if the crop is to remain for more than two or three years. In other areas stands and yields are reduced in varying degrees. In many additional areas it is not known if the stem nematode is present, since a complete survey of the state has never been made.

The objectives of this investigation were to determine the distribution of the stem nematode of alfalfa through a complete survey of the state. The physical factors of the plant and soil which may be correlated with the presence of the nematode were likewise surveyed.