Speaking at a Louisiana Sweet Potato Association meeting near Alexandria, Overstreet said the only other U.S. state where the nematode has been found is Florida. According to a report on the magnoliareporter.com site, he is optimistic it is not in Louisiana but said farmers should still be on the lookout for signs of infestations.
“This is considered to be the most severe root-knot nematode in the world,” Overstreet said. “It causes more damage than any other nematode when it gets onto susceptible plants.” Nematodes, or roundworms, cause galls that hinder plant development. The guava root-knot nematode produces the largest galls Overstreet said he has ever seen, essentially turning a plant’s roots into one large, bumpy mass.