Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Songs of the Season, with a Twist



Are you tired of nonstop carols yet? While not as popular as Santa, plants star in many songs of the season – and some of them have special associations for us here at the PDIC. Number one on the list must be “The Christmas Song,” aka Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. This song reminds us of the blight that devastated the Eastern forests in the last century, leaving us with no chestnuts to roast. “Oh, Christmas Tree” (Oh, Tannenbaum) makes us think of North Carolina’s beautiful Fraser firs and the root rot they must escape before they can end up in our living rooms. Mistletoe figures prominently in “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and holly pops up in “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” and “The Holly and the Ivy.”

But here’s a song that puts me in the holiday spirit even though the subject and the tune have nothing to do with snow, presents, Santa and all the rest. That’s because for many years, NCSU Plant Pathologists sang it lustily at every gathering, including the annual holiday party. I promise you have never heard it on the radio. Enjoy!
Photo by David Langston, Univ. Georgia


For a nice write up about managing root-knot nematodes, check out this article by Pender County Agent Charlotte Glen.











THE NEMA SONG
(To be sung with gusto to the tune of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”)

A nematode was chewing on a young tobacco root.
Her keen and piercing stylet was protruding from her snoot.
Her salivary glands were squirting out the poison juice.
The galls keep hanging on.

(Chorus)
We must fight the nasty nema,
We must fight the nasty nema,
We must fight the nasty nema,
Rotate crops and pray.

A cotton plant must suffer on a hot and sunny day.
It transpires too much water when its roots are chewed away.
If we don’t lick the nema we will really have to pay.
The galls keep hanging on.

(Chorus)
Meloidogyne incognita,
Meloidogyne incognita,
Meloidogyne incognita,
Fumigate and pray.

The cortex cells are swelling to a giant size to stay.
The female’s sac’s protruding in a morbid sort of way.
The blind roots now are forming and the root knot’s on the way.
The galls keep hanging on.

(Chorus)
We must fight the nasty nema,
We must fight the nasty nema,
We must fight the nasty nema,
Rotate crops and pray.

Lyrics by Dr. G. B. Lucas

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