(888) 784-1722
10% off during the summer sale! See promotion page for details

Damping off—how to prevent this problem for your seedlings and starts

Apr 05, 2012 -
   
  Damping off—how to prevent this problem for your seedlings and starts
This seedling is "damping off" and dying. Our tips will help you avoid this common problem.
 
   

In our Seedling Care video, Tricia shows how to grow healthy seedlings. Here’s more information on how to keep your seedlings from damping off.

WHAT IS DAMPING OFF?

“Damping off” is the popular name for the abrupt dying off of seedlings, whether indoors or outdoors. The seedling collapse and sudden death occur when the plant is successfully attacked by fungallike organisms called Pythium.

THE PLANT DISEASE TRIANGLE

How do plants get diseases? According to the California Master Gardener Handbook, three factors are involved: a weak host plant, a susceptible environment, and a pathogen to cause the disease.

Disease Triangle

For damping off to occur, you need a stressed plant, a wet soil environment, and the presence of Pythium. Our comparison photos below show a healthy seedling next to a seedling that is damping off.

PREVENT DAMPING OFF

Healthy plant

Start with good quality seeds or “healthy planting material” as the academics call them. Choose your seeds with confidence at Peaceful Valley, where we only carry top quality seeds. Use the tips in our Seedling Care video and blog post to maximize the health of your seedlings.

Well-drained, fluffy soil

The University of California, Davis says, “Damping-off is worse when soil is wet or compacted.” To keep our seedlings in a well-drained and light growing medium we use Quickroot Soilless Potting Mix. Quickroot drains fast enough to keep the soil from becoming water-logged. Don’t drown your seedlings, but water them with a mister like the Fogg-It that Tricia uses in our video. The lightness of Quickroot also allows tiny roots to receive oxygen and thrive.

Keep your growing supplies clean

Carefully clean your seedling trays and pots between uses. If seedlings show signs of damping off, discard them immediately (and do not compost them). UC Davis has a perfect summary of the role of sanitation in preventing damping off:

“Sanitation is important because spores of the organisms that cause damping-off can survive in dust, planting medium, or soil particles in flats and pots. To reduce survival of the pathogens, remove and discard diseased plants and sterilize containers.”

Pythium remains as a possible pathogen

You cannot eliminate Pythium from your soil without killing other “good” organisms. The old horticultural advice was to sterilize soil before planting seeds, but even Purdue University now agrees that this harms the beneficial soil organisms and that “in sterile soil, reintroduced diseases may spread faster than they would in unsterilized soil.” Organic gardening is based on maintaining beneficial organisms in soil.

For more information about planting seeds, and seedling care, watch our videos on Seed Germination, Seed Starting, Soil Blocking, and Direct Sowing. All these videos link to articles in our blog, and our videos and blog articles are research-based. An authoritative book that gives you extensive information on all aspects of starting seeds is The Seed Starters Handbook.

Pick your seeds. Grab some Quickroot. Choose seed trays with pots, or Soil Blockers. Follow these damping off prevention tips. Have happy seedlings!


Solutions: Damping Off

Categories: Organic Seeds, Organic Heirloom Seeds, Organic Vegetable Seeds, Organic Hybrid Seeds, Vegetable Seeds, Vegetable Seeds Organic, Vegetable Seeds Heirloom, Vegetable Seeds Bulk, Tomato Seeds, Hybrid Vegetable Seeds, Biodynamic Seeds, Heirloom Seeds, Heirloom Seeds Organic, Heirloom Tomato Seeds, Heirloom Vegetable Seeds, Heirloom Flower Seeds, Flower Seeds, Annual Flower Seeds, Heirloom Flower Seeds, Perennial Flower Seeds, Organic Gardening 101


Sherrie Applonie Says:
Apr 7th, 2012 at 1:45 am

Thank you for posting these articles!

Jackie Says:
Apr 7th, 2012 at 7:48 am

Please thank Trisha for the time and energy she puts into these videos. I have gotten a lot of useful information from them. I see that now other plant supply and seed companies have followed your lead and they are also producing short how to videos.

Trisha does an excellent job. Her diction is excellent, pace is too,  and her voice is easy to listen to.

I know she is an owner, so has a vested interest, but these videos are a huge plus, in my opinion, to your business. Often I find myself watching, then jumping over to purchase something.

Again, Trisha, thank you.

Reply to this post

Your Name (required) Email, won't be published (required)

Comment

Please enter the word you see in the image below:



Plan & Plant a
Fall Garden Today

Click here


Find Solutions Books Fertilizers Garden Tools Growing Supplies Homestead Irrigation Seasonal Items Seeds Weed and Pest Control Other

Free Seed Packs

With Online Orders

  • 2 free seed packs on orders of $50
  • 5 free seed packs on orders of $100

Browse Peaceful Valley Organic Vegetable Seed Packs

Grow Organic

  • For a healthy and safe food supply
  • For a clean and sustainable environment
  • For an enjoyable and rewarding experience

For Life!

Weekly Newsletter

  • Garden Tips and Tricks
  • Video How-To's
  • Exclusive Coupons