How To Control Nematodes In Home Gardens – Everything You Need to Know

When you plant your gardens, you know that problems can occur, such as infections, and insects and bacteria are often to blame for that. If you don’t protect your crops and plants adequately, you can expect there to be diseases and infections to ruin your garden, and that is why you want to do what you can to avoid the issue.

As a gardener, especially if you are a novice, you will not realize the impact of destruction that insects can cause to your garden. You probably don’t know too much about nematodes and the damage they can cause your plants and crops.

Let’s firstly talk about nematodes and the impact of injury they can cause on your garden.


What Are Nematodes?

Nematodes are microscopic worms, and they measure less than one millimeter long.

Where Do They Reside?

  • Most of the nematodes reside in the soil and can eat the roots of the plants, which ends up causing plenty of damage to the crops.
  • They behave like parasites as they take in the nutrients and water for the plants, essentially starving them and keeping them dehydrated.
  • Even though nematodes stay in localized areas and spread slowly, they can spread to other plants when you cultivate the infected soil to use for other plants.
  • Nematodes can also hang around tillers, garden tools, roots of transplants, as well as in water.

That is how they move around to different plants. The only thing you can do is to become aware of the damage they cause to control them.

Effects of Nematodes

When you know that nematodes ruined your plants, you see that they cause the leaves to become yellow, stunt the stems, and there is no more vigor in the plants. Additionally, the plants are not thriving, let alone surviving.

Can You Save the Plants After the Attack?

Unfortunately, when nematodes take over the plants in an extreme way, there is no way you can salvage the plant, and it will inevitably die prematurely.

Even though the nematodes don’t kill the plants themselves, they end up indirectly killing them by taking in their nutrients and water. That is what ends up killing these plants.


Can You Kill Nematodes?

Unfortunately, you cannot kill nematodes. However, the good news is, that you can control them and keep them from destroying your plants.

Even though you cannot permanently eradicate these microscopic pests, you can keep them in check effectively, and all you need to do is learn about the practices that work that prevent them from destroying your crops.

How To Control Nematodes In Home Gardens

Practices to Avoid Nematodes From Destroying Your Plants

The steps to control them are incredibly easy, and all you need to do is be proactive so you can prevent any outbreaks of nematodes the best way you can.

The one thing to do is to select the site where you want to grow your garden.

Select A Site To Grow Your Garden

If you select an area to grow your garden, you will want to test the soil for the presence of nematodes before making the selection.

The presence of the nematodes in the soil is the highest in the fall, which is when collecting the soil for testing. At other times of the year, the presence of these microscopic tests is small, so you will not get an accurate answer.

Therefore, if nematodes’ presence is high, you will want to avoid using that site to grow your garden. Keep sampling it in other locations until you find an area that has few nematodes.

Plant Your Garden In Early Spring

The presence of nematodes is the lowest in the late winter and early spring. You will want to consider planting your plants then. That is because the temperature of the soil is still too cold for the nematodes to be active.

However, there are some crops that you can only grow during the latter part of the summer, such as peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and they will be susceptible to nematodes, unfortunately.

However, there are ways to mitigate the damage that the nematodes can cause these crops, and we will cover that next.

Sanitation Is Essential

It is an essential part of keeping the nematode population low even during late summer when it comes to sanitation. You want to remove and destroy any plants with a nematode infection after harvesting the fruits or vegetables.

For the smaller gardens, this practice works the best. Ensure that you plow the garden right away after the last harvest so you can elevate the roots.

You will want to do the same thing during the winter two to four times to kill off the nematodes and their eggs. You do not want any roots present in the garden over the winter, or else that will worsen the population of the nematodes.

Rotate Your Crops Yearly

An effective way to reduce the nematode population in your garden is to rotate your crops each year. If you grow your crops in the same location year after year, that will only keep the population of the nematodes high, which is the last thing you want to happen.

However, before selecting new sites to grow your garden, you will want to keep testing the soil each fall. That way, you will know which areas are the best ones to choose for your crops for the following garden season.


Fallowing is a great practice to control nematodes in the area because it prevents vegetation that you do not want in your garden from growing. Therefore, that alone will keep the nematodes away.

That is why it is essential to remove weeds from your garden as soon as you see them growing. If you are fallowing for only a year, that alone will reduce the nematode population significantly.

When you fallow the soil, ensure that you rototill it every two weeks. That will not only keep weeds at bay but will keep the nematodes in the sun, which they dislike!

Check out more advice on your landscape and garden, HERE.


When you grow your crops, you know that they could end up with infections since there are plenty of pests‘ in the soil. The one major culprit for plant growth and health is the presence of nematodes.

That is because nematodes are parasitic microscopic worms that will feed off of the roots of the plants. The last thing you want to do is neglect your garden since the nematodes will not only keep growing but will keep destroying your plants.

Even though you cannot kill nematodes, you can control them and keep them from ruining your plants. All it takes is proper planning involving soil testing, as well as cleaning your garden as often as you can. If you take care of your garden, then you will efficiently control the nematode population.

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  • Scott Ashton

    Scott Ashton was born in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, and always enjoyed the outdoors, considering the greenery kept him calm since he was anxious. Since Scott was the creative type and wanted to work in an outdoor setting, he decided to go into landscaping. When Scott was training to become a landscaper, he worked as a junior landscaper in a co-op program. He works full-time at the company where he began working during his training and wanted to provide a gardening, landscaping, and outdoor living resource. That is why Scott established Paulino Gardens, and he receives help from the contributors to keep the site running and provide good quality and engaging content. Scott is married with two sons and a German Shepherd, and the family enjoys going on nature walks, camping excursions, and their treehouse.

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