Damping Off cannabis seedling

How to Spot & Prevent Seedlings from Developing Damping Off Disease

When everything is set up and every seedling in its rightful pot just waiting to pop out, sometimes they already topple over before getting much of an enthusiastic start. If you notice seedlings keeling over as it emerges from the soil, it is highly likely that it’s suffering a disease known to attack many green younglings called damping off disease.

What is Damping Off Disease?

As the moniker suggests, it’s a disease that roots from a plethora of soil-borne fungal infections such as various kinds of mold contamination or rotting of stem.

On that note, its rapid decay is due to several fungi such as Rhizoctonia, fusarium, and phytophthora. Most often than not, the primary culprit is stemming from the species of soil fungus called Pythium.

In a typical scenario, most infected plants will go through the germination cycle usually and could pop out as expected, though it becomes mushy and falls over within a few days. Some seedlings, on the other hand, suddenly die as soon as it emerges.

Damping-off is a deadly disease that can compromise your entire crop, which is why we’re here to rain you down with tips and tricks on how to spot, prevent, and control this pesky illness using organic techniques.

What Causes Damping Off Disease in Plants?

The pathogens such as fungi and mold, find its way into the seedling tray in many ways like the following:

  • Pots, tools, and potting media that have already been used and not adequately cleaned can host a plethora of pathogens.
  • The air can blow in spores of Fusarium spp, though insects like fungus gnats can also carry it or traverse in splashing irrigation water.
  • Pythium thrives in anything dirty such as unwashed hands, contaminated tools, or even hose ends that have been in contact with dirt and debris.

It’s crucial to take note that all pathogens flourish in soil and plant debris, so be wary of the cleanliness of your set-up when starting a batch for the new season. Other factors that contribute to damping off disease are low light, overwatering, high salts from the fertilizer mix, as well as cold soil temperatures.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Damping Off Disease?

Cannabis seedlings that have the damping-off disease will die quickly, which is why it’s vital to spot the tell-tale signs as soon as possible. Be on the lookout for the following red flags:

  • Seedlings that fail to emerge from the soil.
  • The seedling leaves and stems are water-soaked, soft, and mushy.
  • The seedling stems may be discoloured from grey to brown.
  • The stems of seedlings become nearly hair-like in areas where it is highly infected.
  • Seedling leaves wilt and turns green-grey to brown.
  • Roots are either absent, stunted, or filled with greyish-brown spots.
  • Under high humidity, you may notice white, cobweb-like growth on different seedling parts.

Prevention Tips for Damping Off Disease

Once your crop is struggling with damping-off disease, death is inevitable as there is no cure. The moment the seedling emerges, it often topples over, meaning that you will lack time to help it survive. For that reason, it’s essential to know these preventive tips so you can grow your plants with peace of mind.

  • Use quality organic potting soil when starting seeds indoors. Be sure also to sterilize the potting soil in an oven to ensure it is dry and free from any lingering pathogens.
  • Be sure that your seed-starter mix is light and fast-draining.
  • Ensure the plant is receiving proper air circulation by planting the seedlings that are somewhat near the surface of the soil.
  • Over-crowding can contribute to moist, which could amp up humidity conditions for the plant. Avoid this by sowing the cannabis seeds thinly to keep it from hogging much-needed space.
  • Seedling trays that provide water and other sustenance from below are favourable mediums compared to overhead watering.
  • Keep your plants and their soil surface dry during the evening and ensure it by avoiding feeding past noon.
  • If you’re looking for a robust solution against fungal problems like Pythium, fusarium, and root rot, you can combat it by using an eco-friendly systemic fungicide called Organocide Plant Doctor. It can fight off widespread disease problems by going through the entire plant.

Damping-off disease from seedlings is a life-threatening problem for your cannabis plants. Not only will it push your seedlings to the ground before it is even given a chance to thrive, leaving the disease unkempt can spread itself until the rest of your crop suffers from the infamous fungal problems.

For that reason, its crucial to know how to spot its symptoms so you can save the rest of your crop. Meanwhile, knowing preventive measures is also critical as the disease, unfortunately, has no cure.

If you are looking for RQS, Cannabis or CBD seeds, get in touch with Coffee Shop Seeds to see how we can help!

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