Seedling Stem Damage

tomatowowgalApril 8, 2011

Please help. Has anyone seen stem damage on their seedlings like this? It is as if something is eating the stem.

I was in the process of hardening off the seedlings and there has been some wind.

Saw a few very small black bugs on the plants.

Any help would be appreciated

Here is a link that might be useful:

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Can't really see much in the picture due to the over-exposure but I assume you mean the bit just above the soil line that looks like it is abraded? Rubbed raw?

Could be wind damage, could be sun scald. My best guess would be wind damage given the darkened stress point right at the soil line where it has clearly been flexing back and forth.

But just transplant it deeply burying most all of the stem leaving just the top cluster of leaves exposed and it will likely be just fine. If you can't plant out yet then transplant it into a deeper container and bury that part of the stem.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 3:34PM
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Thank you Dave for your advice. I had a hard time getting a good picture. I will try to get a better picture. It has definately been windy and sunny here.

Some spots look like the bark has been peeled raw but other spots look like little bites have been chewed off the stem. Very discouraging.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 4:06PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Honestly no need to be discouraged. In case you didn't know it tomato plants sprout roots all along their stem when that stem is buried deeply which is why deep planting is always recommended. They are quite durable plants, quickly heal, and quick to bounce back from stem injury unless it is completely broken.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 5:32PM
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Thank you for the encouragement. Last year I had this huge tomato and the branch bent, I taped it up and propped up the tomato and the tomato made it!! Plants sat out all day and look the same no more damage. Just checked with a flashlight to see if I could see any critters munching but didn't catch anything.

They are staying in tonight cuz it's gonna be cold...

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 12:16AM
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I have seen this several times in the past, and I remember looking it up at the time, it appears to be some sort of surface disease that attacks the skin of the stem just above the soil line for about an inch high, left to it's own devices the plant eventually keels over and wilts with a sort of pinched in bit of dried up stem just at that point,but that only occurs at around the planting out stage or soon afterwards, I have had one seedling do it this year.

But putting it a bit lower in the compost up to the cotyledons often solves the problem and it sends out new roots if you catch it in time.

The problem occurs according to what I have read-because of too much surface moisture just about at the time the seedlings are trying to form their first true leaves on the little stems.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 1:25AM
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