Damping Off

Pythium spp. and Rhizoctonia spp.

lawn icon golf icon sports turf icon hot weather icon foliage icon roots icon icon descriptions


Seedlings of all cool-season turf species

Disease description:

Damping off affects only newly seeded or newly emerged seedlings. Preemergence damping off results in poor establishment of newly seeded areas. Seedlings suffering from postemergent damping off are flimsy, limp and twisted and quickly decline to areas of bare ground. In larger seeded stands, symptoms will start in a small area and rapidly expand to cover larger areas. In conducive conditions, pathogen mycelium may be present among seedling bases.


Do not seed cool-season turf species in late spring or summer. If possible, seed cool-season turfgrasses in the early fall when most of the summer stress and high temperatures are no longer an issue. Provide good surface and subsurface drainage to the seedbed, and provide frequent small doses of water rather than overwatering. Avoid planting in areas with restricted air movement. Water in the early morning rather than at night to restrict leaf wetness duration. If mowing, raise cutting heights or stop mowing young turf when damping off is occurring. Fungicide drenches or seed treatments may be necessary in severe cases.