Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

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.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Wilting stems on beautyberry in Georgetown, TX
August 16, 2009 - Last summer I discovered that a 4-year old beautyberry had one (of many) stems that died. Leaves on this single stem wilted and dried up. This year the same happened to two or three stems. The rest of...
view the full question and answer

Why are the eastern red cedars in Bastrop/Travis County turning brown?
May 11, 2009 - I live on the Bastrop/Travis county, TX line and have many eastern red cedars on my property. About 10 of them are dying and it has happened quickly with the onset of the warmer weather. I noticed d...
view the full question and answer

Problem with non-native Houttuynia cordata (chameleon)
January 30, 2012 - I have a Houttuynia cordata chameleon plant in a clay pot. My zone is 9b and my yard is partial sun. Up until January, it was thriving. Now, it is dead. I think the cold killed it. I kept it moist at ...
view the full question and answer

Mystery pest eating portulaca blooms
July 02, 2006 - I'm from Texas and I purchased some portulaca from a local nursery about three weeks ago and planted them in the front yard....with plenty of sun. Here's the problem. The foliage seems very health...
view the full question and answer

Cutting Back Perennials in the Fall?
November 13, 2013 - We have large beds of flowering native perennials that we planted around our house as part of a landscape conservation plan (various Joe-Pyes, goldenrods, turtlehead, blazing star, brown-eyed Susans)....
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.