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Some kind of white mold is infesting several of my plants, below is one of the worst infections of a tomato seedling. It is very aggressive, if I remove the top layer of soil it will come back in a single day. It has infected some basil seedlings as well.

It is mostly white, but forms slightly yellow centers in some places, as can be seen from the picture.

Can you identify what it is? And how do I get rid of it?

Click on photo for full size

White mold

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ohhh nightmare! –  jaczjill May 22 '13 at 6:10
    
@jaczjill: Why, what is it? –  Bjarke Freund-Hansen May 22 '13 at 6:38
    
Even I don't know, but it spreads..! I am waiting for someone to answer this. –  jaczjill May 22 '13 at 8:40
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It most definitely spreads :/ I am really hoping someone can help me. –  Bjarke Freund-Hansen May 22 '13 at 8:58
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are many possible types of fungi or slime mould that this could be but the cause and treatment are the same.

The source is wood which is part of a soil mix that has been inadequately composted or sterilized. The culprit is eating the woody bits in the soil.

You cannot control this just by removing the soil as it will be found throughout the soil. There is no harm to people or a mature plant but seedlings might not like the competition.

Control measures include:

  • keep the soil drier. They need a moist or wet soil to thrive
  • I have read suggestions to sprinkle cinnamon on the soil but have no research to prove it
  • a copper based fungicide will probably do the job but it could kill the seedlings as well

Probably the best solution is to learn to live with it. Do not use any unused portions of that bag of soil unless you have sterilized in the oven at ~212 degrees Fahrenheit (= 100 degrees Celsius) for twenty minutes or so. Caution: the smell of baking soil will not be appreciated by everyone!

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Good points. I've seen these sometimes on those jiffy pots at retail operations after they've been there a bit. –  itsmatt May 22 '13 at 11:56
    
Thank you. I will go for ventilating a lot, watering a bit less and keep removing any mold that forms on top. –  Bjarke Freund-Hansen May 23 '13 at 5:48
    
Also trying the cinnamon now, I am hoping it does not affect the tomatoes. :) –  Bjarke Freund-Hansen May 23 '13 at 19:44
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