Damping-off

Seedling diseases

Pathogen

Multiple including Pythium spp. and Rhizoctonia spp.

Hosts

Very large host range.

Symptoms

Damping-off is a general term describing disease problems that occur while seeds are germinating or shortly thereafter, causing pre- and post-emergence disease problems. Very young seedlings can be infected causing rapid seedling death.

damping-off of delphinium
Damping-off of young Delphinium plants in a plug tray, caused by Rhizoctonia.

Spread

Damping-off disease problems are generally caused by soil-borne pathogens. Avoid planting in infested soil or infested sites and reusing plug trays.

Management

Maintain good sanitation. Avoid overwatering and limit frequent, light waterings. Germinate seedlings at recommended temperatures to promote rapid germination and development of seedlings. See specific pathogens for more detailed information.

Mycelium in canopy
A web of Pythium mycelium on the surface of a plug tray. Stems of these seedlings were infected at the soil line.

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The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.