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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Monday - June 19, 2006

From: Toledo, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Possible reasons for yellowing leaves in seedlings in Ohio
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a problem with my seedlings. They start yellowing of one leaf then die. When I remove the leaf another one starts. I have photos. I have two differant seedling plants and they are experiencing the same thing. I have lost plants in the past this way. Who might test this leaf for the cause of this problem? I was thinking a school or a soil test lab. I have samples I have taken to test. I want to start a company growing violets and don't want to start a bunch of plants that die from infection. Any help would be great.

ANSWER:

If it is only the lower leaves that are yellowing and dying, this is a normal process that happens as the new leaves above them are added and treatment is not required. However, if yellowing and dying occurs with all the leaves, you do have a problem. One possibliity for the cause of the death of your seedlings is a condition called damping-off. This is caused by a fungus. Control for this disease involves regulating the moisture content of the soil to keep the fungus from thriving. You should provide good drainage for the seedlings and water them thoroughly—avoiding frequent sprinklings of the soil. Providing good air flow around the seedlings is also important. Additionally, it is a good idea to start your seedlings on pre-sterilized soil.

Your Ohio State University County Extension Agent can give you information on soil and tissue testing.

 

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