White fungus in soil

How to prevent seedling damping off

What causes damping off

Mushy tan spots on these seedlings are signs of infection by damping off fungi that can be caused by over watering.

All of the pathogens (fungi and molds) responsible for damping off survive well in soil and plant debris.

The pathogens can be introduced into the seedling tray in several ways.

  • Pots, tools, and potting media that have been used in previous seasons and are not properly cleaned can harbor the pathogens.
  • Spores of Fusarium spp. can be blown in and carried by insects like fungus gnats, or move in splashing irrigation water.
  • Pythium spp. is often introduced on dirty hands, contaminated tools or by hose ends that have been in contact with dirt and debris.

Once introduced to a seedling tray, the damping off pathogens easily move from plant to plant by growing through the potting media or in shared irrigation water.

Garden soil often contains small amounts of the damping off pathogens. If you use garden soil to fill seedling trays, you could introduce the damping off pathogens that cause the disease into the warm wet conditions best for seed growth.

Seeds planted directly into the garden can also suffer from damping off. Disease is particularly severe when seeds are planted in soils that are too cool for optimal germination or when weather turns cool and wet after planting resulting in slow germination and growth.

The damping off pathogens thrive in cool wet conditions. And any condition that slows plant growth will increase damping off. Low light, overwatering, high salts from over fertilizing and cool soil temperatures are all associated with increased damping off.

How to Prevent and Remove Mold in Houseplant Soil

Mold Restoration June 2, 2016

Mold grows easily in dark and damp environments. While the bathroom and basement are the most common areas where mold can develop in our homes, houseplant soil can also provide the right conditions for mold growth. If you notice mold in houseplant soil or on the plants themselves, take action right away to prevent health risks as well as damage to the plant. Read the tips below to find out how to prevent and remove mold in houseplant soil and on plants:

How to prevent mold:

  • Use healthy and sterile soil for all newly acquired plants or when changing the soil. Consider using commercial potting soil, which contains plenty of nutrients for your houseplants.
  • Avoid overwatering plants. Mold thrives in moist conditions, so too much water will help mold spores to develop. As a rule of thumb, you should water your plants once the top 2 inches or ¼ of the total soil volume is dry.
  • Remove debris (such as dead leaves) from the soil and wipe off dust or dirt from the leaves regularly. Leaving organic debris on the soil can provide a better environment for mold to grow. Don’t forget to trim dead parts of your plant, as well.
  • Provide plenty of light and ventilation to your plants. Sunlight or artificial light are essential not only for your plant’s growth, but also for repelling mold. A source of ventilation, such as a fan on low setting, allows airborne particles to freely circulate around the plant.

  • Locate the mold, which is usually white and fuzzy. Use a spoon to scrape off the moldy part of the soil and then discard it. Wear a dust mask while removing the mold to protect your health. If there is a large amount of mold, it’s best to repot the plant.
  • After removing the mold, add an anti-fungal solution to the soil. You can choose to sprinkle cinnamon or baking soda to prevent most of the mold from reappearing. Try not to sprinkle too much anti-fungal and distribute it evenly.
  • If there is mold on the plant, remove it immediately. Take a paper towel, dampen it a little, and start wiping off the mold from the leaves gently. After each wipe, make sure to freshen the paper towel. Replace the paper towel when all parts have touched the moldy surfaces to avoid spreading mold spores. Cut off any leaves that still have mold visible on them.

As mold in homes can be a serious health hazard, learn how to remove mold in this article and how to prevent mold in your home here. For professional fire, water and mold restoration services, contact your local PuroClean office.

Known as the “Paramedics of Property Damage®,” PuroClean provides fire and smoke damage remediation, water damage remediation, flood water removal, mold removal, and biohazard cleanup to commercial and residential customers. Founded in 2001, PuroClean has a comprehensive network of 300-plus franchise offices across North America. PuroClean technicians are thoroughly screened, insured, and trained in utilizing the latest in mitigation technology and procedures, while operating under a strict code of ethics. Each PuroClean office is independently owned and operated. For franchise information, visit www.puroclean.com/franchise.

Preventing White, Fluffy Fungus On Seed Starting Soil

Many people enjoy starting their own seeds. Not only is it enjoyable, but economical as well. Because starting seeds indoors is so popular, many people become frustrated if they run into problems. One of the more common seed starting problems is the development of a white, fluffy fungus (some people may mistake it for a mold) on the top of the seed starting soil that can eventually kill a seedling. Let’s take a look at how you can stop this fungus from ruining your indoor seed starting.

How to Stop White Fungus on Soil

The number one reason that white, fluffy fungus grows on your seed starting soil is high humidity. Most seed growing tips will suggest that you keep the humidity high over the soil until the seeds have fully germinated. Your seedling planter probably has a lid or cover that helps with this or you have covered your indoor seed starting container with plastic. Sometimes this raises the humidity to a level that is too high and encourages the growth of this white, fluffy fungus.

Either prop open the lid of the seedling planter about an inch or poke some holes in the plastic over the container you are starting seeds in. This will allow more air circulation and decrease the humidity some around the seed starting soil.

I Reduced Humidity but the Fungus Still Comes Back

If you have taken steps to increase the air circulation around your seedling planter and have decreased the humidity around the seed starting soil and the fungus is still growing, you’ll need to take additional steps. Set up a small fan that can blow gently over your indoor seed starting setup. This will help to get the air moving, making it much harder for the fungus to grow.

Be careful though, that you keep the fan at very low levels and only run the fan for a few hours each day. If the fan is running too high, this will damage your seedlings.

Starting seeds indoors doesn’t need to be tricky. Now that you can keep the fungus off your soil, you can grow healthy seedlings for your garden.

It can be very disheartening when your microgreens are growing really well and then they suddenly appear to have mold on them.

Your first thought will probably be to get rid of the entire crop. But, you don’t have to be that drastic!

Instead, take a look at this article and discover what mold on microgreens actually looks like, how it forms, and how to prevent/remedy it.

With a little help, you can beat the mold and be enjoying your microgreens in no time!

What does mold look like on microgreens?

The first thing to understand is that there is a difference between mold and root hairs. Every plant has tiny hairs that form part of the root. They stick out from the lowest part of the plant and help to increase the surface area; allowing your microgreens to absorb all the water they need.

Visible mold on microgreens

At a glance, these tiny hairs can look like mold, but there are some key differences that will tell you it’s root hair not mold on microgreens:

  • Mold looks like a fine spider-web, root hairs are fuzzier.
  • Mold is slimy if you touch it but the root airs are not.
  • Root hairs only exist on the root; your old will grow anywhere on the plant.

Top Tip: Water your microgreens to see if the root hairs lie flat, in effect they will disappear. Mold doesn’t do this!

Root hairs

How does the mold form?

Mold on microgreens is the same as mold in any other environment; it needs bacteria, moisture, and slow-moving air. If you alter the conditions your microgreens are living in, you can deprive the mold of everything to needs to survive; effectively killing it.

Will Mold Affect The Microgreens?

If there is mold on your microgreens then they will probably continue to grow but they will not be safe to eat. You’ll need to wash the microgreens and then cook them at a high temperature to ensure the mold has gone. Unfortunately, this will also destroy the goodness in your plants; making you wonder why you’ve grown them.

The mold spores can also stay in the growing medium and affect the next batch of plants!

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How to prevent mold on microgreens

There are several things you can do to help prevent mold from forming in the first place.

  • Ventilation

Mold doesn’t like moving air, it doesn’t give it the chance to breed and multiply as the bacteria are moved on before they can be really effective.

Cheap fan

This is why it is essential to ensure ventilation at every step if the growing process. When you’re germinating your microgreens they are generally covered and at higher risk of mold due to minimal air flow.

To prevent mold on microgreens simply add a couple of ventilation slots to the side of your lid and then place a fan next to the tray. This can be turned on for 15-30 minutes of every hour, refreshing the air around the plants and keeping the mold at bay.

  • Light and temperature

Mold is not a fan of bright lights, as soon as germination has occurred you can move your plants into the light. However, artificial lights are not always the best option for your microgreens. You’ll probably prefer to put them in indirect sunlight; giving them enough light without excessively drying them out.

If sunlight isn’t an option then a grow light, or a standard fluorescent light is a good option; it will help your plants to grow while keeping the sun away.

  • Clean flats with hydrogen peroxide or bleach

Before you starting growing or even germinating your microgreens it is important to clean all your equipment thoroughly.

You can clean the trays with a 1500ml spray bottle; it will need 50ml of hydrogen peroxide, 50ml of white vinegar, and the rest can be normal water.

Wash your trays and other equipment with this solution before sterilizing the growing medium and sanitizing the seed.

It should be noted that you can only sanitize seed that can be soaked before growing. Simply place them in a bowl of water with a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide. Leave them to soak for a couple of hours and then proceed as normal with planting.

This will kill any infection already present in the seed and help to ensure that you don’t suffer from the mold on microgreens.

  • Humidity control

Mold loves moisture, in fact, it is essential to its survival. Unfortunately, your plants also need water to survive, having moisture in the growing medium is essential.

dehumidifier

But you can remove moisture in the air without affecting your microgreens. To do this you simply need to invest in a cheap dehumidifier. Having it on a few times a day will get rid of the moisture; making it very hard for the mold to survive and flourish.

  • Avoid Bunching Seeds

It is also worth noting that bunching the seeds up will lead to a concentration of moisture and a lack of airflow; due to the growing microgreens blocking air movement.

That will encourage mold growth. Try to spread your seed so that there is a little room around each one; your plants will grow better for it.

How to remedy mold on microgreens

Taking the right preventative steps should help to stop the mold on microgreens from appearing. But, if these steps haven’t been successful you can still resolve the issue on the growing plants.

There are a couple of things you can do:

  • Hydrogen peroxide with water

Grab your water spray bottle with a mixture of water, white vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide. You can spray this over your plants; it will kill the mold growing on them.

However, don’t make the mixture too strong, if you do you’ll end up burning the leaves of your microgreens; as well as killing the mold.

Bottle of food-grade hydrogen peroxide

Top Tip: Don’t try to rub the stems of the plants; they are too delicate and you’ll damage the root hairs; making it likely that they’ll die.

  • Sunlight

Sunlight is good for plants and something that mold doesn’t like. If you are experiencing some sunny days then place your plants in direct sunlight; it will help to dry and destroy the mold.

However, it will also dry out your microgreens. You’ll need to place a water tray under the growing medium tray. Keep this watered and monitor your microgreens; they should get the water they need from the water tray without giving the mod any additional moisture.

This will also improve the drainage of the soil, reducing the risk of mold on microgreens and preventing you from having to deal with the issue!

A final thought that can work, is to remove the moldy plant, or affected part of the plant. This can prevent the mod from spreading. But, mold can be difficult to see in its early stages, you may simply be removing plants without winning the war on mold on microgreens; proceed with caution.

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