This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Evaluation of winter cover crops and biological control products to manage Meloidogyne incognita and insect pest damage in organic sweetpotatoes




Schloemer, Claire

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Entomology and Plant Pathology


There is a need to develop effective organic integrated pest management practices for sweetpotatoes. Our findings indicated that the combination of BotaniGard 22WP, Triple Threat Entomopathogenic Nematodes, and Majestene significantly reduced insect damage to sweetpotatoes under field conditions. The winter cover crops elbon rye and the mix containing crimson clover, daikon radish, elbon rye, and wheat resulted in lowered soil M. incognita populations compared with leguminous winter cover crops like field peas and crimson clover. Total insect pest damage was similar across winter cover crops, but lowest following crimson clover in North Carolina and black oats in Alabama. Soil health values measured by the Solvita CO2 Burst test were elevated following the winter cover crop mixes compared with the single winter cover crop treatments, indicating that the mixes stimulate higher maximal biological activity, which relates to increased soil health. Overall, the integration of biological control products and winter cover crops shows promise for enhancing organic sweetpotato production while promoting soil health and sustainability.