Damping off is the term used for a number of different fungus-caused ailments which can kill seeds or seedlings before or after they germinate. The term is used where seeds are specifically planted to be germinated, especially if in warm, wet conditions which speed growth but are considered conducive to fungal attacks. It may be caused by:
- Pythium - a genus of parasitic oomycete. Causes a watery, soft rot of the lower stem and root system and is more common during cool, wet weather.
- Rhizoctonia solani - a plant pathogenic fungus with a wide host range and worldwide distribution. Causes brown, irregular cankers to develop on the lower stems and injury is more common during warm weather.
- Fusarium oxysporum - a soil-inhabiting fungal pathogen, which will infect many varieties of plants at soil temperatures.
- Phomopsis blight - a canker-causing genus of plant pathogens, which cause lesions of fruit, leaves and stems.
- Botrytis - a genus of ascomycete fungi causing several plant diseases (also known as grey mould)