Recently Purchased Plants Developing Fungus That Girdles Bottom Of Stem

Question From: Amherst, Virginia, United States
Q: our recently purchased Zinnias in small plugs, are developing a fungus that girdles the bottom of the stem close to the ground, causing the plant to wither and die. I have experienced this same problem with Vinca in the past. They are not yet in the ground and this problem has already started. What can I do to correct this problem before all the plants are affected

A: Carol, The fungus your seedlings have is referred to as damping off. It can be one of several diseases. It's very difficult to control. One recommended product is Bonide Captan as a soil drench and foliar spray. Over watering, too much fertilizer and cold, damp conditions are causes, as is contaminated soil. If you buy your plants at the same source, I'd consider a change. Best Nancy