Damping off covers a range of fungi that cause plant death in establishing pasture. Causal pathogens are Pythium and Fusarium spp.
Young plants wilt and die from lesions at and below soil level.
Infection is common in autumn and winter particulary during cold wet weather. Fungal spores are widespread in the soil and can become very active when climatic conditions are suitable.
Prevention and management
All the fungi are soil-borne and spores can build up over successive years in the same species, in the same ground. Wet, cold conditions are conducive to infection, when host seedling growth may be restricted. Seed treatment with fungicides such as AGRICOTE Grass and AGRICOTE Clover provides early control of damping off.
Damping off in ryegrass caused by Fusarium.