Look Alike Seedling Diseases

post emergence damping off; courtesy of University of Nebraska Lincoln.

They are hard to diagnose. Seedling disease symptoms may be caused by multiple factors including the presence of more than one disease, insect feeding, herbicide damage, planting problems, the weather and environment in which they are planted.

Determining what is happening with that young stand may allow the proper intervention to reduce stress and optimize the crop’s productivity. Soilborne organisms including Pythium, Fusarium, Rhizoctonia or nematodes commonly challenge young stands.

Fourteen species of Pythium alone may cause root rots and seedling blight. Post-emergence damping off, as shown in the photo, may result from a number of these infections.

Cool and wet conditions after planting can heighten seedling disease progression. Even with the best seed, seed treatments, and ideal planting conditions, cool and wet conditions following planting can elevate seedling disease occurrence.

Symptoms of seedling diseases include:

  • Root or hypocotyl decay
  • Rotted or discolored seedlings just before emergence
  • Rotted seed prior to emergence

(Photo University Nebraska Lincoln.)