Garden Word of the Day
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Damping Off Disease
Your tiny seedlings looked perfect yesterday, full of hope and promise. This morning their stems are brown, pinched, and bent over, never to recover. What happened?!!?
Causes of seedling loss
There are many causes of seed and seedling loss. To prevent losses, you need to identify the culprit:
If none of these pests are killing the seedlings, it may be damping off disease. Damping off is a disease of 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 damping off. The fungal spores can survive in the soil for a very long time. As the spores enter, they migrate to the water-carrying xylem and spread throughout the plant. Then they start reproducing at a mind-boggling rate, clogging the xylem and killing the plant. If the stems of fallen seedlings are discolored and pinched, it is damping off disease.
How to prevent damping off disease
Since infected plants and seeds are doomed, prevention is your only option. Fungi and their cousins love the wet ground. 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.
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