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Fungal wicking

Posted by Leekle2ManE Lady Lake, FL 9a (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 10, 14 at 18:55

Anyone have some suggestions on how to prevent/stop fungi from causing seedlings to wick? I have two flats of coleus sprouts and in both flats it looks like I've lost 20-25% of my sprouts to fungal wick, at least I'm assuming it is fungal since they are most definitely not stretched (I lost an entire flat last year to stretch-wick and have since corrected my lighting).

My first flat was done with a home brew mix (3 parts sand to 1 part compost and a light dusting of azomite to the entire batch), but when I started seeing the wicking, I decided to use a store-bought mix for the second flat. In both cases the flats themselves were new. The chances of cross contamination are very small as I have kept the two flats seperate from each other. The survivors of the first flat are now starting to go through their color changes, but have yet to form their first true leaves, so I am hesitant to spray with anything stronger than distilled water. But if there is some way to reduce my chances of losing sprouts to fungi or prevent this 'crop' from suffering further loses, I would love to hear about it.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Fungal wicking

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 18:00

Sorry but even with over 50 years in the nursery business I have never heard the term "fungal wicking" applied to plants. "Stretch-wick" either. Can you tell me what the source of those terms may be?

So I am going to guess that what you are asking about is damping-off, a fungal disease that kills seedlings and is characterized by stem lesions at or just above the soil level. Is that the issue? If so then the primary cause of the problem is soil that is kept too wet and lack of sufficient air circulation (small fans are recommended).

If adjusting your lights solved your "stretch-wick" then the usual term is "leggy" seedlings - elongated stems that cannot support the weight of the leaves and is caused by insufficient light.

Hope this helps. If I am way off base with my guesses could you provide more detailed descriptions or pics of the plants.


Here is a link that might be useful: pics of plants with damping off

RE: Fungal wicking

No, you're pretty much spot on. I haven't been in the business. At all. Very much an amateur. I've seen both wick and damping used in internet conversations, but at the time of posting wicking was all that came to mind. I'll try to use damping in the future do as to avoid confusion. Its possible my soil was a bit too wet, though I tried to press out any extra moisture without compressing the mixture too much.

Air circulation could be a major factor for me. The only area in my house I can set up my seed station without infringing on the wife and kids is the laundry room and there is not much air movement in there. But this might help explain why my success went up last year after moving my station outside when weather permitted.

Thanks for the info. I'll see what I can do about increasing air movement, but my outlets in the laundry room are pretty much full.

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