The possible impact of Rotylenchulus reniformis below plow depth was evaluated by measuring the vertical distribution of R. reniformis and soil texture in 20 symptomatic fields on 17 farms across six states. The mean nematode population density per field, 0 to 122 cm deep, ranged from 0.4 to 63 nematodes/g soil, and in 15 fields more than half of the R. reniformis present were below 30.5 cm, which is the greatest depth usually plowed by farmers or sampled by consultants. In 11 fields measured, root density was greatest in the top 15 cm of soil; however, roots consistently penetrated 92 to 122 cm deep by midseason, and in five fields in Texas and Louisiana the ratio of nematodes to root-length density within soil increased with depth. Repeated sampling during the year in Texas indicated that up to 20% of the nematodes in soil below 60 cm in the fall survived the winter. Differences between Baermann funnel and sugar flotation extraction methods were not important when compared with field-to-field differences in nematode populations and field-specific vertical distribution patterns. The results support the interpretation that R. reniformis below plow depth can significantly impact diagnosis and treatment of cotton fields infested with R. reniformis.