Among the many diseases found in plants, the dampening off disease is one of the most dangerous ones. Let's learn about the disease and dive into its prevention and treatment. – Gro Indoor
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Methods to Prevent and Treat the Dampening- off Disease

by 09 Apr 2023

Methods to Prevent and Treat the Dampening- off Disease

Among the many diseases found in plants, the dampening off disease is one of the most dangerous ones. It hampers the growth of the plants before it even begins growing, ultimately killing them. It is a ruthless killer and attacks any part of the plant regardless of its type or variance.

This disease can strike plants regardless of their environment. But, studies have reported that it quickly and most commonly attacks plants indoors.

Although no plant can be immune from its attack, if you think your plant might be suffering from a similar condition, then don't fret much because has your back!

In this blog, we'll teach you how to tackle this problem by giving some steps to prevent this disease in the first place and restore your plant’s growth cycle. In addition to that, we'll also discuss the tips you should act on to treat it.

But let's learn about the disease first before we dive into its prevention and treatment tips and tricks.

What is Dampening- off Disease?

When a practically new seedling dies off, then you should know what you’re dealing with; it’s the infamous dampening off disease.

The dampening disease is commonly caused by various fungal diseases, including molds (white mold, Sclerotinia, gray mold, Botrytis) and different kinds of root rot (Pythium and Phytophthora). Powdery mildew is a serious issue that can cause your plants to wilt and die.

Ways to Identify if Your Plant is Suffering from the Dampening Off Disease

Unawareness of this disease's symptoms is why most growers don't pay much attention to it and let their plants suffer and rot until it is completely dead. But in this blog, we’ll discuss several symptoms to identify this disease and nip it in the bud.

If your seedling begins to wither off out of the blue, even though they were perfectly healthy a day ago, then you know who the culprit is (keeping aside the bad weather conditions or climatic changes).

Dampening off attacks the stem of the seedling, the part which is visible and has risen above the soil, and the part which is not and is still below the soil.

If your plants turn yellow and drooping, it could mean one thing: dampening off disease. If the leaves suddenly start to fall off or the plant starts to wither out entirely, the dampening disease is probably hampering its growth. Sometimes your plant may appear to be collapsed or pinched, or there is a gradual discoloration. But beware, as the symptoms for all plants vary. Some are affected overnight, while some put up a tough fight against the disease and don't wither that quickly.

However, there are times when the symptoms of the disease are hard to point out as the plant gets ample sunlight, water, and fresh air and still wilt out. You might start doubting yourself for overwatering the plants, but that isn’t the case.

Dampening off is even linked to poor germination, so if your seed cannot germinate correctly, it is probably dampening off.

Ways to Prevent Dampening- off Disease

It's important to be safe, so we think you might like some of the basic prevention tips and tricks for your plants.

Even in our previous blogs, we have always stressed good hygiene practices, and the prevention methods from the dampening of diseases also narrow down to the basic requirements.

Sanitization is the First Step

Sanitization and cleaning is the basic step that every grower should follow. So if you haven't been doing so, start sanitizing your garden pots. We know this might sound unnecessary, but trust us, if you are worried about dampening off, then this step is necessary.

The poorly sanitized plant attracts fungal spores, which can cause damage to your plants in the longer run.

Use a mixture of one-part bleach to 10 parts water to sterilize your plants. And while you are at it, don’t neglect your garden tools and equipment and sterilize them as well.

But if you want something premade, opt for a grow room cleaner/disinfectant, which gives great results. They work well on removing pathogens from the plants completely.

Make Use of the Right Kind of Soil

If you are starting your seedlings inside your house, ensure that you use good-quality organic potting soil. Avoid using left-over soil from other plants or planting it directly into the ground as it can nurture pests and sometimes even diseases. The soil mixture should be fast-draining and light so that the water seeps through easily without causing a waterlogging issue.

Some of our favorites are listed below;

Plant at the Accurate Depth

There is often a set of instructions behind the packaging of every seed pack, which we often ignore. Start reading now as you require it because some plants like to be planted at a certain depth level and grow only when you have planted them rightly.

You should know when and where to plant your seeds. If you put them too close or deep, they will have trouble germinating because of their location concerning light exposure - this could lead to less than desired results if the wrong kind of seed were used! So, whenever your seed, make sure you are seeding them the proper way to avoid overpopulation of seeds.

Further, you can read our guide on germination of seeds from the very first step.

If you have planted your seeds too deep, you have potentially invited the dampening off disease to ruin your seedling.

For the paper towel method, you might want to plant your seeds half an inch deep in the soil to enhance their germination and prevent the dampening disease.

Avoid Placing the Seeds too close

Seedlings should be planted with some space between each other as they expand when they grow. Seedlings need proper air and circulation to grow, and the deficiency of these important growth factors can hinder the plant's growth. Fungal diseases and mold love damp and overly crowded seeds with poor circulation.

Avoid Feeding the Plants before Time

Fertilize when your plants are ready for it. Do not fertilize until the plant starts developing its true leaves.

Many soils contain pre-mixed fertilizers, so you don’t need to add any further nutrients or fertilizers, or else they'll end up damaging your plants.

Fertilizers are capable of enhancing the spread of fungal diseases. Since your plants are at a sensitive stage, adding fertilizer can be too strong and harmful for your plants. Plant nutrients should not be fed to your plants until they grow at least 6`` above the soil, with proper leaves and flowers growing out.

Make Good Watering Routine

Watering the seedling is not easy. The wrong technique to water the plants that can damage their growth. So always make sure not to water over the foliage, as damp stems and leaves of the plants can cause fungal diseases.

To make sure your plants are happy, water them during the daytime before the sun goes down or lights turn off so they can dry out and stay soft.

Allowing your plants to sit in water is like giving an open invitation to the dampening of disease. In addition to that, you are also inviting diseases like root rot and general fungal problems. So there should be an efficient way to clean runoff from trays or saucers.

Using Heat and Light to Speed Up the Germination Process

As we all know, air, water, and light are the essential elements required by plants to grow. And seeds and seedlings require lots of heat to speed up their growth process and germinate faster. The quicker your plants grow up, the lesser they are likely to be affected by the dampening off disease as they only attack seedlings. Once the germination stage is passed, you’ll be free of the dampening tension.

Methods of Freeing the Seedlings from the Dampening- off Disease

Getting rid of dampening off disease is fairly challenging to get rid of once they have penetrated your seedling. They affect the seedling so fast that it is nearly impossible to get rid of them.

Prevention and taking good care of your plants is the only possible way to avoid this disease.

But if you are lucky enough to spot the symptoms at an early stage, you can follow these few steps to reverse its effects.

Get Rid of Affected Plants

You might have to say goodbye to your cute little friends if they are affected by the dampening-off disease. This disease spreads very quickly and affects the surrounding plants even more quickly. So if you note the dampening symptoms, then the smartest step you can take is to get rid of that plant.

Repot the Seedlings

If you notice unusual changes in your plants, then you should consider moving your little seedling to a new pot. Temporarily relocating would be a better option whether they are growing directly from the ground or in a raised bed.

While repotting, make sure you use sterile and new potting mix rather than using old or soil from the garden. Garden soil can because root rot and fungal diseases, so be extra careful.

Hydrogen Peroxide to the Rescue

Hydrogen peroxide is the most effective way to rescue the plants from the dampening of disease.

Fill a 1ml dropper with approximately 3% of hydrogen peroxide and drop it into the affected seedlings. Hopefully, this will help the plants get rid of the disease and bring them back to their normal conditions.

“Organocide Plant Doctor” an Effective Fungicide

The market might be full of effective fungicides, but we would like to recommend the best to you, which is “Organocide Plant Doctor."

As this is a systemic fungicide, it works on the entire plant, flushing out any found pathogens, bacteria, or fungi that could hinder your plant’s growth.

This product is highly concentrated, and if there is anything that can stop the dampening from moving ahead, then this is it!

Further, you can check out our guide to know more about the common grow room pests and diseases.

Dampening- off in a Nutshell

Creating clones and seeds is the best line of defense you can create against dampening off. Consider the climate conditions when growing your plant. Make sure that it's not too wet or dry for optimum growth!

Allow your seedling to have at least 18 hours of uninterrupted sunlight, and you can also use additional light to help expedite the germination process.

If you follow the basics correctly, you won't face this issue in the first place, but if you do, is here to help you out.

Aug 26th 2022
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