Welcome To Our Lab
The University of Florida Landscape Nematology Lab is the premier laboratory dedicated to diagnosis and management of plant-parasitic nematodes affecting turfgrasses and ornamental plants. Our goal is to provide the turfgrass and ornamental industries the information and technologies they need to minimize the harmful effects of nematodes in an effective, safe, and environmentally responsible manner.
The Landscape Nematology Lab
The "green" industry, turfgrass and ornamental plant production and maintenance, generates more than $10 billion annually for Florida's economy. Plant-parasitic nematodes are a huge problem for our green industry. Nematodes are considered the most important pest problem on Florida's golf courses. Our 2005 survey of putting greens and fairways on golf courses throughout Florida found plant-parasitic nematodes present at damaging numbers on 84% of Florida golf courses. In a 2012 survey of Florida golf course superintendents, of 74 respondents, 33% reported that they deal with nematodes continuously, while 100% reported dealing with them at least occasionally. Similarly, nematodes damage turf in lawns, athletic fields, parks, and sod farms.
Our research has shown that not only do these nematodes have direct effects on turfgrass quality, but have secondary effects on the environment by increasing water and fertilizer use, potential for nitrate leaching, and use of herbicides and fungicides. Nematodes also are common problems on ornamental plants in nurseries, flower and foliage farms, and landscapes. While there are a few others who do some work in the field, we are the only lab whose primary focus is diagnosis and management of plant-parasitic nematodes on turfgrasses and ornamental plants.
Our lab has both research and extension functions. Our research seeks to find solutions to the nematode problems facing the green industry. This includes studying nematode biology and ecology to better understand where, when, and which nematodes are problems on different plants. We seek to improve diagnostic capability to better predict how much damage nematodes will cause at specific sites. We develop nematode management tools including safer chemistries, biological controls, cultural practices and nematode resistant or tolerant plants and put them together into integrated pest management programs. Our extension efforts take the knowledge generated by research to help people solve their real-world problems and to adopt integrated pest management practices.