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Categories: Soils, Fertilizers and Irrigation

My orange seed-bed stack has "damp-off." Same say "too much water;" "not

enough water;" "put on lime;" etc. I use a medium amount of water and

more of my stack is affected than that of any other grower. One man has

kept his well soaked since planting, and only about six plants were

affected. Another has used but little water, keeping them very dry; he

has lost none.

Damping-off is due to a fungus which at
acks the tender growth when

there is too much surface moisture. It may be produced by rather a small

amount of water, providing the soil is heavy and the water is not

rapidly absorbed and distributed. On the other hand, a lighter soil

taking water more easily may grow plants without damping-off, even

though a great deal more water has been used than on the heavier soil.

Too much shade, which prevents the sun from drying the surface soil, is

also likely to produce damping-off, therefore, one has to provide just

the right amount of shade and the right amount of ventilation through

circulation of the air, etc. The use of sand on the surface of a heavier

soil may save plants from damping-off, because the sand passes the water

quickly and dries, while a heavier surface soil would remain soggy. Lime

may be of advantage if not used in too great quantities because it

disintegrates the surface of the soil and helps to produce a dryness

which is desirable. Keeping the surface dry enough and yet providing the

seedlings with moisture for a free and satisfactory growth is a matter

which must be determined by experience and good judgment.