Pythium sp., Phytophthora sp., Rhizoctonia sp. and others
Damping off is the term for a number of disease conditions that result in the infection and death of young seedlings. A water soaked lesion is usually visible on the stems near the soil line in the early stage, but wilting and death of the seedling quickly follow.
Seed germination in cool, damp soil predisposes seedlings to infection. Overcrowding and overwatering are complicating factors. Sterilization of seed beds, use of clean seedling germination medium, and careful attention to watering in the first two weeks of plant growth minimize losses. Fungicide-treated seeds may reduce losses in the field.