mold in seed tray

princessgardensMarch 21, 2007

why am i getting mold in my seed trays? will this affect my seeds during germination? what can i do to prevent this from happening in the future? thanks

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I think you may be suffering from "damening off". I'm no expert but do a search on this term on this site and you'll find lots of advice.

I think most call for going lighter on watering and using a fan for circulation to resuce risk. I'm sure more experienced folks will chime in shortly.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 8:53PM
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thanks i found some info but how do you prevent it when the seeds are covererd during germination?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 9:27PM
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Like I said, I'm no expert but... I've read on seed package instructions that you should apply "Captan" if you get mold? Never used it myself but it did come from a reputable seed company.

I hope those with more experience will offer suggestions. If not, I suggest trying "Captan" on a few seperated cells to see if it works.

Sorry I can't offer more suggestions.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 9:50PM
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thanks again. any suggestions on soil medium.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 10:11PM
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I have used Miracle Grow seedling mix and potting soil. I'm leaning towards seedling mix mixed 50/50 with perlite lately.

Not sure if you can get this brand in your area (I'm in Ontario, Canada). You should be able to find perlite though. Just mix it 50/50 with potting soil and you should do ok. Perlite is great for moisture retention so you can water less.

Also, although not required for all seeds, a heating mat can be helpfull. My peppers and tomato seeds germinate well on a basic heating mat.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 10:27PM
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How is the mold problem progressing? Have things improved?
I think you jinx'd me! Since you posted I've developed a green moss (I'm hoping it's moss) on a few of my seedling trays.

Transplanting to a drier location this weekend. Love green, but not on my soil!


    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 9:41PM
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i'm sorry to hear that. i still can't get any seeds to germinate i have replanted with a different soil i hope i can get some plants ready in time.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 10:37PM
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Are you by chance using peat pots? I've found that they're much more likely to get mold than plastic cells. You could spray a dilute mix of water and hydrogen peroxide 10:1 and see if that helps. I sometimes get a funky mold growing on the outside of peat pots. It goes away when the pots dry but returns after watering. It never seemed to bother the seeds/seedlings and they did fine when they were planted in the yard but it is kind of gross looking. Definitely use a fan for air circulation. If you are covering the trays you could remove the top and always take the cover off after your seeds germinate. By the way perlite is used to improve drainage not to retain moisture. I don't add any extra to my seed starting mix (pro-mix has enough already) but I do add it to all my container plant mixes. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 11:22PM
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I got mold every single time I tried using peat pots. I hate those things and I will never use them again.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 12:03AM
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I agree peat pots are horrible. Always get mold. I use seed trays or old plastic pots that I wash up and re-use.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 10:30AM
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I'm going to be repeating myself, but spray a weak solution of chamomile tea on the seedlings and that will prevent mold, fungus, and damping off.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 8:12PM
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Susan I've heard of using chamomile tea to prevent fungus, etc. Can I soak fresh chamomile foliage & blossoms instead of dried tea to make the solution?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 8:56PM
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Karyn, you are just gonna love this. You are gonna have yourself a lil' tea party...YAY!! Ok, first boil your water, the you can use your "fresh" chammomile. Pour the the water over the fresh buds/leaves and let it steep for about 10 min. This way your get the oil out of it, b/c thats what is the fugicide. About a cup for you and a cup for the mixture is good, then mix with 3-4 parts per water to that one cup. That will be weak enough to work with. Just let it cool real well before spraying.

I have worked with herbs for the body, so this is alright.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 9:22PM
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karen_b(6a s.c. PA)

I've had to deal with mold on the top of the soil ever since I started sowing under lights in my basement. The best advise that works for me is remove it before it gets too thick with toothpicks. Because I'm not going to prevent it. Tried all kinds of solutions...including the tea. The only time it hurts the seedlings is if it gets too thick it robs the seedlings of nutrients. Also use less nitrogen. Usually I end up repotting the seedlings and putting them in my cold frame and that's the end of the mold/moss. I've even had seeds sprout through it. But don't fret too much unless the mold/moss is killing the seedlings, then it could be damping off and that's an all together different problem. Prevention is the best way to prevent damping off, I sterilize my pots, use only new soil, circulation and don't over water. The teas and other concoctions do work but you really have to be diligent...and I'm not.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 10:57AM
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I have about ten or so trays started and everything is doing good except for the trays with peat pots. I'll never use them again, most of the seedlings perished from dampining off. Does anyone know what exactly is in camomile that makes it work as a fungicide.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 11:29AM
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Bill (Ottawapepper) I know its been awhile since your post, but I know what your green mold is and it is very easy to get rid of. You may have niticed by now some decline in the plants with the green mold. This is a pathogen that causes the soil to literally suffocate the plant roots because the film on top of the soil (green mold) creates a barrier on top of the soil and no oxygen can get to the roots. Simply take a sterile object such as a new popcycle stick or pencil and stir up the top of the soil, make sure to get all the corners, all of the surface. You should see improvements soon, do this to all the affected plants and look out for more in the future. Janet

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 11:28AM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

princessgardens, you said the seeds are covered during germination. Whether you're using humidity domes or placing plastic wrap right over the flats or pots, you need to air out the containers for half an hour to an hour once or twice a day. I've had seeds germinating under humidity domes for weeks and this airing-out procedure, especially if you use a small fan or open window (not on a freezing day!) for air circulation, keeps the mold from forming.

Sow your seeds into seed-starting mix, not potting soil (although things often turn out OK with potting soil too). Keep it moist but not too wet. If the surface starts to dry off during airing-out, moisten it with a plant mister before putting the cover back on.

If you follow these steps you shouldn't have any problems with mold or fungus.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 12:01PM
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thanks nygardener i think that will solve my problem i have been leaving them covered at all times with the plastic.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 9:36AM
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Hi Folks,

OK, getting desperate here. This is my first year with a rampant mold problem and IÂve tried just about everything to control it except a store bought mold killer (like No-Damp) or a home made peroxide solution. Janet, thanks for the suggestion on mixing up the soil. It does help temporarly but the green and white strains I have seem to be quite insistent on returning (IÂve cut back on watering to the point the plants are parched and I have a fan running).

Going to try the home made solution of nine parts water and one part peroxide. Does anyone know if this remedy really works and if so, is safe to use every day?



    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 4:26PM
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i always use the hydrgen peroxide mix 10 parts water to 1 part peroxide to water my seedlings with and don't get mold. my tomatoes always turn out fine,

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 11:44PM
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Thanks so much for all the info on mold! I went to check on my seedlings this morning and was surprised to see that after only five days since planting some of them had emerged; but soon I was horrified to see the mold. This is the first time I have ever used the peat trays and first time for the problem. I have a fan on them now, uncovered of course, thanks again! And I plan to mist them with the peroxide/water solution. I hope it all works! Thanks again! I am a new member and looking forward to more conversations with you all!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 11:19AM
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    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 6:13PM
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I am using both peat pots and a biodegradable egg mold on the peat pots, but the egg cartons have a spider-like white mold forming around the edges...I tried the 10-1 hp solution, so will see how that works. Thanks for all the good advice, also.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 1:42PM
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