Your tiny seedlings looked perfect yesterday, full of hope and promise. This morning, their stems are pinched and they are bent over, never to recover. What happened?!!?
Causes of seedling loss
There are many causes of seed and seedling loss. To prevent future losses, it is important to identify the culprit:
If none of these pests are killing the seedlings, you may be facing damping-off disease. Damping-off is caused by fungi and fungi-like organisms that clog the arteries of seedlings. Damping-off disease can also attack seeds and roots.
Seeds and seedlings are very susceptible to this fungal disease. The fungal spores can survive in the soil for a very long time. As the spores enter, they migrate to the water-carrying xylem, where they are carried throughout the plant. Then they start reproducing at a mind-boggling rate, clogging the xylem and killing the plant. If you examine the stems of fallen seedlings, you will see a discolored, pinched area. This is a clear sign of damping-off disease.
How to prevent damping-off disease
Since infected plants and seeds are doomed, prevention is your only course of action. First, fungi and their cousins love wet ground. Obviously, plants need water, too, so there will be times when the ground is wet. You can reduce the likelihood of damping-off and other fungal diseases with these garden tips:
Protect seedlings from damping-off disease and other pests for a richer harvest this fall.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!