The Lawn Man

Seedling Diseases

Seedling diseases may be caused by many fungi including Microdochium nivale (Fr.) Samuels and I.C. Hallett, Fusarium spp. Drechslera spp., Bipolaris sorokiniana (Sacc.) Shoemaker, Rhizoctonia spp and Pythium spp.

Seedling Diseases

Plate 1: Post emergence damping off


Three types of seedling disease may occur

seed rot, where the seed fails to germinate

pre-emergence damping off where the seed germinates but fails to emerge

post-emergence damping off where the seedling emerges but fails to establish (Plate 1).

Where are seedling diseases found?

Any area that has been newly sown

All turfgrass species can be affected, although post-emergence damping off is most severe on Bentgrass, Fescue and Poa pratensis L.

Effects of seedling diseases

A very thin sward may develop, allowing access for Poa annua grass seed germination and contamination of the final sward

High risk situations

Dry conditions favour Fusarium spp.

Wet conditions favour Pythium spp.

Inadequate or excessive seedbed fertiliser.

Sowing during poor weather conditions.

Poorly prepared seedbed

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