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[¦dam·piŋ ′ȯf]
(plant pathology)
A fungus disease of seedlings and cuttings in which the parasites invade the plant tissues near the ground level, causing wilting and rotting.



the partial or complete destruction of winter wheats and other winter crops (such as perennial grasses) from “starvation” as a result of a prolonged period under deep snow cover.

Damping-off is caused by insufficient light, the cessation of the flow of water and food from the soil, and the high humidity and temperature under the snow. In these conditions new nutritive elements do not form in the plants, and those accumulated earlier are depleted. As a result, carbohydrate starvation sets in, followed by protein breakdown, and, finally, by disease (fusiarial wilt, sclerotinia rot, and others).

Damping-off occurs primarily in mild winters, especially on overgrown and not very hardy fall crops that were covered with a thick layer of snow that did not melt early in spring (in hollows, on the edge of forests). Damping-off also occurs when a thick layer of snow (40-50 cm) covers winter crops not prepared for wintering or soil that has not frozen through. A hanging ice crust that lets in light and hence raises the temperature can also be a cause of damping-off. In all of these instances, the active life processes of the plants continue, and their respiration increases.

In order to prevent damping-off of plants, sowing too early and too thickly and excessive nitrogen fertilizing should be avoided; use of a phosphoropotash fertilizer, resistant strains, hill sowing, and rollers to pack down snow on in-completely frozen soil are recommended.


References in periodicals archive ?
If seed has been sown so thickly that the developing seedlings' leaves form a closed canopy over the soil, position a fan so that its air current lightly agitates the leaves, so as to carry away excess moisture and thus control the spread of damping-off fungus.
Damping-off disease may be spread throughout infected containers.
Liquid from a butt may contain bacteria or fungi which can cause damping-off.
Water in well with a copper-based fungicide such as Traditional Copper or Cheshunt Compound to prevent damping-off disease.
In seedlings, it causes rotting of the stem, called damping-off.
Water from the mains only, as water from a butt often carries the fungi which cause the fatal damping-off disease.
Researchers are hoping to deliver a one-two punch against underground fungi responsible for damping-off diseases that rot seeds and seedlings.
The only problem I have known is fungal damping-off disease, the curse of many seedlings, so treatment with a copper-based fungicide is advisable.
It also curbs various species of pythium, the soilborne fungi that cause damping-off diseases in seedlings of agricultural and nursery crops.