Damping – Off Disease

Pest: Damping-off Disease (includes a number of soil-inhabiting pathogens: Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Thielaviospis, Pythium, Phytophthora)

Pest Type: Infectious disease, fungi/oomycetes

Major Identifying Features: Early death of seedlings in the field, garden, or planter box, seeds may rot before they emerge, seedlings become soft and mushy, turn dark brown, and decay

Life Cycle: Fungi reproduce by spores

Pest Rating: Minor to moderate

Management Rating: Easy to moderate

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Pathogens are present in virtually all soils, they survive on dead organic matter, plants that grow in cold and wet soils are more susceptible

Damage Information: Decay of young plants and seedlings, cutworms, earwigs, flea beetles, snails, and root maggots cause similar damage

Management Options: Prevention by good sanitation, high quality planting material, proper cultural and environmental controls by loosening soil and good drainage, by adding soil amendments (hardwood bark), by not planting too deeply, by starting seedlings in the greenhouse

Sources:

http://www.ipm.ucanr.edu

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