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Unfortunately, damping-off can happen very quickly. Many times, a seedling can go from looking healthy to dropping dead in just one single day. When this happens, it is already too late to do anything since the fungus has already infected your plant and there is no method of recovery. However, you can learn to spot the signs of damping-off in order to prevent it from happening again.
Damping-off is a common disease that can affect sprouting seeds, seedlings, or cuttings. It can be caused by several types of fungi, namely Pythium, Botrytis, and Fusarium. Pythium is most common. Although fungus is the main reason for damping-off, the disease is normally the result of several conditional factors.
Excess moisture from overwatering or high humidity are normally the culprits of damping-off. Check your substrate often to observe if the moisture levels are adequate. Avoid too-frequent watering and make sure that your pots or plastic cups allow for fast and easy drainage. If you use a greenhouse or grow-tent with a cover for cuttings, ensure there is a vent on top that allows for proper ventilation. If there is no vent, remove the cover regularly. Always keep in mind that warm and humid means an increased risk of fungus and damping-off.
HOW TO STOP DAMPING-OFF
Lastly, another factor that can contribute to damping-off is excessive humidity in your growing environment, most-often paired with a lack of adequate air circulation.
Among the signs of damping-off include small white spots at the lowest part of the stem, just above the soil line. In this same area, the stem will look weak and thin, featuring a darker colour. If you spot these signs and the seedling is still upright, it is only a matter of hours until it will tip over.
When a seedling has already toppled-over from damping-off, there is nothing you can do to recover it. The best you can do is quickly remove the affected seedling together with its cup to prevent the spread of disease to other seedlings.
Sometimes, the fungus can already be present in the growing medium or substrate that you use for germinating. This can happen when your substrate is not sterile.
As we mentioned above, there is little you can do for those plants that have already been affected. If you want to take advantage of those that apparently have not been affected, here are some products that can help:
As we have discussed above, the key to avoiding both fungi, insect pests and other diseases, is to implement prevention measures. In this case, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent this infection from entering your crop. Pay attention:
This cryptogamic disease is caused by fungi but these do not necessarily have to be always of the same type; if your plants suffer from damping-off, the causative fungus is Botrytis most of the times, but Pythium and Fusarium are quite common too. Although this is a fungal condition, this disease is rather a combination of several factors:
Cannabis types and varieties
These are the signs that will reveal that your seedlings are affected by damping. If you detect them, our recommendation is to eliminate the plants that have already been affected, because their chances to survive are very few, and it is better trying to save those that look healthy. Damping-off acts quickly, so it is very likely that by the time you realise that your seedlings have been infected, they are already dead. Sometimes plants can go from looking healthy to being dead in a single day. However, be careful, if you detect it quickly, you can save some of your other seedlings. These are the phases of damping-off:
This disease usually attacks at ground level, that is, the part of the stem that is closest to the substrate. Once it begins, damping is usually lethal because, as we have said before, at this stage the plant is very vulnerable, has a very small size and is most likely to die.
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