Damping off is when pythium, a root-parasitic fungi, strangles a plant at its roots. It most commonly occurs in small seedlings and is most often caused when a plant's root system has a lack of airflow and there's excess moisture on the stem and coco pod, as that expedites the development of fungi. See below for more information on how to tell the signs, what you can do to deal with damping off, and what you can do next grow to deter it from happening.
Identifying Damping Off
The #1 sign of damping off is that where the stem meets the coco pod, the stem is 'bowed' in (i.e. thinner below, thicker above) and browning in colour (Figure 1). Think hourglass shape.
Fig 1. This is a plant with a 'bowed' in stem.
Other signs of damping off can include the plant tipping over and leaf chlorosis (i.e. yellowing). Plants can react to damping off differently however, so make sure to check the stem first.
Dealing with Damping Off
In most cases, damping off will result in a dead seedling. Some can survive; however, unfortunately, those that do usually have a lower yield than normal. They can also die off mid-grow in some cases even if they appear to have recovered.
If you have signs of damping off and wish to continue your grow, please do the following:
- Push your coco pod up above the reservoir lid by 1-2 inches immediately. You can secure it in place by piercing the coco pod's sides with toothpicks. This will help to reduce the amount of moisture in the coco pod.
- When the plant becomes more top-heavy, you may need to give it additional support to keep it upright depending on how much damping off took place. Use a product like our Support Racks to keep it in place.
Preventing Damping Off
- In Germination, do not water your coco pod after it's initial planting. This will help deter moisture build up, which feeds fungi development.
- Once your plant's root system has touched the water in your reservoir, push your coco pod up above the reservoir lid by 1-2 inches, securing it with toothpicks to make sure it doesn't slide down.
Still have questions? Please see HERE for how to contact us.