Re: [CH] Falling seedlings : cutworms?

David Stanton (
Mon, 06 Apr 1998 09:46:26 -0400


Although I am not familiar with what you describe as a "hard yellow_white part," your
seedlings may be suffering from damping off. Typically, there is a lesion on the stem at
the soil line. If severe enough, the stem is girdled and the seedling keels over and dies.
It almost looks like it has been pinched or strangled. This is caused by a soil-borne
fungus that does best in cool, wet conditions. A few questions:

What kind of environment are your seedlings in? Already in the garden? Inside? Warm/cold?

What are they growing in -- potting soil, garden soil?

Growing pepper seedlings in cool, wet garden soil almost guarantees damping off. If you
grow them in warm (70-85 degrees Fahrenheit), moist soilless mix until the weather is
warm, you probably won't have a problem with it. Other things you can do to prevent it are
to sterilize your growing and watering containers with a bleach solution before planting
and treat the seeds with an antifungal agent such as Captan.

If you believe that my diagnosis is correct, try this:

If you have some seedlings that are not falling over yet, you may be able to save them. I
suggest you drench the plants and soil with an antifungal solution and move them to a warm
place, but you still may not save them all. Also, the plants that are affected but not
killed may not produce to their potential.

Of course, if it is bugs or something else doing this, you'll have to follow a different

Good luck,

> Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 12:29:06 +0200 (MET DST)
> From: (Jan Doumen)
> Subject: [CH] Falling seedlings : cutworms?
> Hi,
> my seedlings are one my one falling, even those that contain already
> several leaves. I have discovered that just above the soil there is
> hard yellow_white part, which can be scratched off. I have the impression
> that this hard part is causing the plants to just fall aside.
> In DeWitt & Bosland's "The Pepper Garden" I can only find one disease which
> matches the observed symptoms and that is that they are attacked by cutworms.
> Is there any other possibility?