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Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers

Damping off disease

Rhizoctonia and many others, Pythium spp.

Recognize the problem

The main cause of seedling death in seedbed is damping off disease. Stems are black and shrunken at the soil line, and ultimately they die. Damping off is a major problem in vegetable seedling growing all over Bangladesh.


Damping off is caused by fungi which spread in the vegetable seeds and in the soil. The disease starts before or after the seedlings emerge. Sometimes damping off damages all of the seedlings in a seedbed. Damping off is worse in moist soil.


  • The seedbed should be well drained. Avoid overwatering and use raised beds.
  • Plant high quality planting material.
  • Soil of seed beds can be treated by sun drying. Plough the land and fallow it for about 4-6 weeks of open sun.
  • The soil can be treated by burning. Cover the soil 8 to 10 centimetres deep with straw, dry leaves or sawdust and other burning materials. Then light it on fire. A quick burn will kill the diseases and the eggs of insects in the soil.
  • The soil can be soaked with the fungicide mancozeb at 2 grams per litre before sowing the seeds.
  • Seed can be treated by Provax, which is thiram (37.5%) + carboxin (37.5%). Dissolve 2 grams of Provax in 15 to 20 millilitres of water and soak one kilogram of seed in the water.
  • The disease can be controlled by spraying metalaxyl M and mancozeb at 5 grams per litre of water, 5 to 7 days after the seedlings sprout. Spray a second time at 14 to 16 days after the seedlings sprout.

When using a pesticide, always wear protective clothing and follow the instructions on the product label, such as dosage, timing of application, and pre-harvest interval.

The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to: Bangladesh

Authors: Md. Shahinur Islam, Karim Uddin
Syngenta Foundation Bangladesh
tel: 880 01718 514725 email:
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence.

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