Gardeners Glossary: Damping Off

Damping off is the term used to describe a fungal infection which will decay seedlings in their early sprouting stages causing them to die off. Usually, you will find the mould in damp soil with poor ventilation that has been left in a warm area for too long, which is the perfect environment to allow fungus to multiply.


  • A fuzzy white layer over the top of the soil (as pictured)
  • Seedlings suddenly collapsing as soon as they reach the top level
  • Discolouration of seedlings
  • Dark, rotted roots


To prevent your seedlings from damping off, you will need to make sure there is proper air circulation around your plants. You wont need to have a fan on them on all day long, but keeping the window open and allowing the breeze to blow through will keep the top layer of soil drier, while hardening your plants.


Always be sure to provide plenty of drainage opportunities to stop water from stagnating and rotting your roots. If youre having trouble with getting the water to drain, line the bottom of your pots with small pebbles which the soil will sit on and allow water to seep through.


If damping off becomes a real problem and you cant seem to find the cause after trying everything else, it may be a good idea to check the pH levels of your water supply. Alkaline water (with a pH level greater than 7) provides a much more comfortable breeding ground for fungal infections than slightly acidic water, so if its on the high end, it may be an idea to use external water sources until your plant is strong enough to be planted outdoors.


Lastly, when youre next out shopping for seeds and plants at the nursery, be sure to ask for the disease resistant ones which have developed a tolerance to fungal infections. DoLeaf is a great place to start if youre in America, but elsewhere, just asking the people that work at the nursery should give you a clue as to the plants which have been bred to handle fungus with ease. Have you had any experiences dealing with fungal soil infections and do you have any tips to share?

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Biennial: A vegetable that completes its full life-cycle in two growing periods. It produces leaves in the first and bouquets in the next.

Biodegradable: In a position to decompose or breakdown through natural bacterial or fungal action. Chemicals made of organic and natural subject are biodegradable.

Biological Infestations Control: Using living microorganisms such as beneficial pests or parasites to damage garden pests.

Bolt: A term used to spell it out a place that has truly gone to seed prematurely.

Bone Food: Finely surface fertilizer made up of white or light grey bone that gives phosphorus to the ground.

Calcitic Limestone: One common materials used for “liming” ground that comes with an acidity level that is too much. This kind is mostly used possesses calcium carbonate.

Chelation: The forming of bonds between organic and natural substances and metals, a few of that happen to be insoluble, as with humus. Soluble chelates are being used in fertilizers to keep nutritional metals, such as flat iron, mobile in the earth and therefore open to plants somewhat than locked up in insoluble nutrient salts.

Chlorosis: A yellowing or blanching of the leaves credited to insufficient chlorophyll, nutritional deficiencies or disease.

Cold Body: An unheated framework usually manufactured from wood and protected with cup or plastic. Wintry frames are being used to protect vegetation from frost and are helpful season extenders.

Associate Planting: The sowing of seed products in your garden so that plant life help the other person grow rather than competing against one another. Visit our friend planting guide for more information.

Compost: Completely decayed organic and natural subject used for conditioning ground. It really is dark, odorless and abundant with nutrients.

Cover Crop: Vegetation grown up to safeguard and build the garden soil during an period when the region would otherwise lay fallow.