Fungus Growing On Burpee Seed Starting mix?

dalmation1080February 10, 2014

Okay. I just started some seeds less than 2 days ago (in a greenhouse tray), and to my horror I just checked today and there was white fnus/mold growing in the tray! The seeds havnt even sprouted yet, and I am worried for their saftey.

I am using Burpee Eco-Friendly Organic Coconut Fiber Seed Starting soil, I was under the impression the soil was supposed to be sterile? Expecsially for seed starting mixes? Is there anything I can do!?

The trays used are brand new and sterile, and this is only affecting the burpee mix (I have other peat in another tray & its fine)

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gardengal48

What you are most likely seeing is the natural breakdown of the organic matter - in this case, the coconut fiber - in the starting mix. All organic matter decomposes and a fungal organism is part of that process. It shouldn't be of much concern although it can be an indication that the starting mix is too wet or excessively moisture retentive. You might want to consider cutting back on your watering - the mix should be just barely moist to the touch.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 7:32PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Number one: The starting mix that you've got is not sterile, otherwise the fungi would have been destroyed.

Number two: There is lack of air circulation over the surface of the containers.
Molds an fungi, in general, need moist /aqueous/ wet stagnant environment in the presence air to multiply and grow.

My solution is to:

-- sterilize starter mix
-- bottom water, to prevent wet exposed surface.
-- cover the top with very small pine bark.

It works for me.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 10:42PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Fungi, molds, need a fairly moist and warm environment to grow so if your seed starting soil has some that indicates it is too wet and too warm. By itself it may not be a problem but could indicate the potential for damping off disease.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 6:52AM
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dalmation1080

I was under the impression that seed starting mixes were sterile. Ecspeccially from a big name company like Burpee. I just purchased the soil the day I put in the trays. I've sent a message to them but they say it's mildew, even though it's not powdery it's fuzzy.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 9:35AM
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gardengal48

Did you read the previous responses?? ANYTHING organic will begin to decompose once exposed to moisture and heat, "sterilized" or not. The mold/mildew is just a visual manifestation of this beginning decomposition. It is not harmful in and of itself except that it can indicate an excessive amount of moisture and/or lack of air circulation. Back off on the watering and consider using a fan to move the air around. Your starting mix is just fine.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 5:55PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Since the packagers of these seed starting mixes cannot guarantee sterility they do not sterilize them. Assuming they are is a common misunderstanding and is one reason why there are so many web sites that tell us how to sterilize seed starting mixes.
Then, as soon as you expose that mix to the atmosphere of your house it will no longer be sterile and the thngys that become the molds, etc. fall out of the air onto that growing media. and will grow if conditions (temperature and moisture) are right.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 6:36AM
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JoppaRich(7b)

"Number one: The starting mix that you've got is not sterile, otherwise the fungi would have been destroyed."

As soon as you open something, it isn't sterile anymore. There's plenty of fungal spores in the air, so if you give fungus the right environment (in this case, seed starting mix that's staying too wet), it'll grow.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:37PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

The key to prevent damp off/various other fungus and molds on soil, is to make sure the soil drys out thoroughly between waterings, almost to the point the plant starts to wilt. Keep all plants in open air, turn a fan on throughout the day, Or even better, have it on constantly. This is the key with any medium. Provide the worst environment for pathogens as possible, while still providing adaquate environment to grow plants. Keep a dry environment as you could without harming the plants. While providing adaquate air circulate/heat control with a fan. Once you get this keyed in, you will experienc little mold/pathogens.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 11:33PM
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