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rainbowgardener
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what else attacks roots?

I tagged this along at the bottom of a different post, but now that I'm starting to seriously freak out, I thought I would give it its own thread.

I have now had at least a dozen seedlings, all peppers or tomatoes, bite the dust while still under the lights indoors. This has not happened to me in many years. :cry:

I don't think it is damping off. They don't bend over or lie flat and they don't have any browning or pinching in at the base of the stem. I haven't seen any sign of fungus gnats and I always do the cinnamon water. The little seedlings just sit there upright, where they are and yellow and shrivel. But when I pull them, the little plants have ZERO roots left. It is spreading. Two more just bit the dust and one of them was one that had all ready been potted up into four inch pot.

All of them had been transplanted at least once, so I know that at the time of transplant, they had good healthy root systems; I cull any that don't.

I sifted through the soil left behind where some of them died. I could not see anything. So if this is some kind of insect / larva eating the roots, it is very small and difficult to spot. I guess the other alternative is some kind of fungal disease that the cinnamon does not work against.

Any ideas? I will be so bummed if this keeps spreading through my plants.... :(
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pepperhead212
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Re: what else attacks roots?

So sorry to hear about this, Rainbow! You say you think it is not damping off, but there are many other fungal diseases, besides the usual pythium, that cause these problems. Here's a post I made on another forum, in which somebody was having similar problems. There is a lot of discussion about it, so I posted a link.


I just got some Micro-TES SOS from my local hydroponics guy when I went to get some Hydroguard, which was a bacterial inoculant which helped prevent damping off. He told me that this does much better (he no longer stocks Hydroguard, as a result), and has many more beneficial cultures, and everything he has heard about it is positive. I can't speak from experience, as I am just starting to use it, but the Hydroguard used to prevent a single damping off every seed starting season, and I had been using it since he gave me a free sample of it years ago. Damping off is a major problem in hydroponics, and he said that this helps them greatly with it, though it also says it is used in soil.

To use the Hydroguard, and now this one, I use a solution of that and Microbe Lift (something for fungus gnats), along with some Karma (another thing from my hydroponics) to moisten the seed starting media, before packing the trays. I never have a damping off problem this way.


Read more: https://tomatodepot.proboards.com/thread ... z3UW5AGP6s
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rainbowgardener
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Re: what else attacks roots?

I think what I need to do is start some AACT. I have not done any yet this season. It is a good way to add beneficial microbes. Should have thought of it sooner!
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pepperhead212
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Re: what else attacks roots?

That tea is probably where many of those beneficial organisms were discovered!
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applestar
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Re: what else attacks roots?

That's a great idea. I really think it's beneficial to start using AACT from early on. Image
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rainbowgardener
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Re: what else attacks roots?

had to dechlorinate some water, so I just started some AACT now. Pulled two more tomato plants today. :( If I get this under control, I may have to plant some more.

Whatever it is, seems to only attack the tomatoes and peppers. Every thing else, grown in the exact same soil mix, conditions, etc. is fine.

Unfortunately, one of the things I have done, before I was paying attention to this problem is when transplanting out of cells, I dumped the used soil from the cells in with the potting mix I had waiting and mixed together. But that's all used up now and I'm starting a clean batch of potting mix. So the soil in the cells, pots that have had diseased plants in them will not get mixed back in. Do you think it is ok to just dump it in my garden outside? In beds that won't have tomatoes or peppers?
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applestar
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Re: what else attacks roots?

I'm going to think about this some more, but I think one way to be MORE sure is to mix the used soil mix into the compost pile while its warming up. Mine was still a big frozen mass in the middle yesterday when I tried to "stir" it a bit. I plan to move the pile to another bed I want to enrich before planting as soon as I can get the bulk of the pile falling apart -- then I'll give it a thorough turn.

If yours is ready to turn, you can harvest some finished compost while you are at it so you'll have something to put in the beds.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: what else attacks roots?

Yup, mine is ready! Over the weekend, I dug some out for one raised beds and planted some cabbage and broccoli in the ground!! Yay! and some chive seed... :)
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imafan26
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Re: what else attacks roots?

In case it is some kind of fungal rot, not only change the soil, but bleach the containers too.
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skiingjeff
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Re: what else attacks roots?

We/ve been saving the used potting soil from our pots in order to throw it in the compost pile once we can begin composting again. :)

It is too cold still here in Western Mass so our pile is still snowed in and frozen.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: what else attacks roots?

I am such a slow learner when it comes to AACT compost tea. It took me years of reading about it here before I ever tried making any, just in the past year or two. And then when I had this problem, I never even thought about it, though I was pretty convinced this was some fungal disease attacking the roots.

I started watering them with the compost tea Tues evening, even though the tea at that point had only been brewing about 12 hours. I was worried about them and wanted to get something started. I've been dosing them with more twice a day ever since and adding it to everything else as well, including the cabbages and broccoli in the ground. I have not lost any more seedlings and things are perking up! Yay!

I guess I need to do as applestar recommended and treat them with it from the beginning. I never had this problem before. Maybe my mushroom compost came with some spores in it.

I did dump all the potting mix that had affected plants in it in the compost. I didn't bleach the pots, but I "rinsed" them in the compost tea and now they are drying thoroughly.

Hopefully, this problem is behind me now. Thanks so much everyone for all the help!
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