taradal
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Location: Acworth, Georgia

Tomato Seedling stems rotting

Last week I planted 18 seedlings in large pots. I have now lost two, Box Car Willie and Black From Tula, with another BFT not looking good. When I checked on the two I lost, I found that the stem, just below the soil, appeared to be rotten. I mulched them all with dried leaves I shoveled up in the woods-could I have brought in some sort of disease? A bug?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Seedling stems rotting

Your seedling stems looked about like this?

Image

pinched in and a bit brown at the bottom, just above or just below soil level?

If so, that is a fungal disease called damping off. It cannot be cured. Once they have obvious damping off signs, they are goners. Sorry. :( But it can be prevented. Seedlings are very vulnerable to damping off in conditions of too much moisture and too little air circulation. Are your seedlings indoors? If so is your weather such that you can start putting them out, at least in the day time? If not, you might invest in a small personal fan to blow over them, for the air circulation part. Only water your seedlings from the bottom.

It helps to put a little bit of cinnamon in the water you water with-- cinnamon is a natural anti-fungal.
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taradal
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Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:39 pm
Location: Acworth, Georgia

Re: Seedling stems rotting

Yes-that is exactly what they look like. They are outside, but we have had quite a bit of rain. Usually I don't worry about too much water, as excess drains out the bottom of the pot. But they are heavily mulched, so I will pull aside some of the mulch to help dry out the soil. Thank you for the cinnamon tip! I have a big bag of Ceylon cinnamon and I will work some into the soil around the other seedlings, today.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Seedling stems rotting

I just noticed you are about an hour and a half south of me. We have been having a lot of rain lately. Makes it more important to be sure there's really good drainage for things to dry out in between.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

PaulF
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Re: Seedling stems rotting

Yep, too much moisture. Even good drainage may not help if you are getting so much rain. Any way to cover the pots or get them inside so they can dry out? My seedlings are usually outside hardening off by now but we have had 3 inches of rain in 3 days and the temps are in the upper 30sF. Not conducive to good tomato growing and great for damping off.
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imafan26
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Re: Tomato Seedling stems rotting

The soil is too wet. More holes in the pot and more perlite in the mix. I don't know if cinnamon will work well once the phythoptora has a foothold. I would basically dry out the soil and sterilize it and plant in new pots with more holes and a better draining media.
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