Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Plant and Soil Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Rachel Rudolph


Kentucky is one of the most active adopters of high tunnels in the United States. Across the state, high tunnel growers have reaped the benefits of greater marketable yields, season extension, and protection from harsh weather. However, the high tunnel environment has increased soil temperatures and intensive crop production which has the potential to encourage root-knot nematode (RKN; Meloidogyne spp.) infestations. The extent and distribution of RKN in Kentucky were previously unknown. Two on-farm trials in infested high tunnels were conducted to determine whether grafting with RKN-resistant tomato rootstock is a viable management strategy. A statewide soil census to determine the prevalence and distribution of RKN, as well as a grower survey about RKN, were also conducted. Though grafting is effective in reducing RKN populations, growers should not rely on grafting alone. Through the soil census, M. incognita and M. hapla were identified as the two main species. The grower survey revealed that though the majority of growers were aware of RKN, many had limited knowledge about this plant-parasite or effective management strategies. These results are opportunities to learn about RKN in Kentucky high tunnels and provide growers with effective species-specific management recommendations

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project (no. 1021069) in 2019 to 2022. Project funding through Specialty Crop Block Grant with Kentucky Department of Agriculture/United States Department of Agriculture in 2019 to 2024. Fellowship provided by the UK NRT and supported by the National Science Foundation (no. 1922694) for the 2022-2023 school year.