The Q&A Archives: Rot Damage on Tomato Plant

Question: I planted tomatoe seeds indoors and they are about 4 inches high. I noticed on
some of the plants they were bending over. I check the surface near the root section
and it looks like it has developed some kind of disease. Is this caused from cut worms
and how can I prevent this?

Answer: Based on your description, it sounds as though there may be a problem with "damping off" or a similar condition. (Cutworms are found outside, so far I haven't heard of any indoors.) These types of problems usually occur when they are overwatered, or when there is inadequate light and air circulation as when the seedlings are too crowded, or possibly if there is not enough light for them to grow well. Temperatures below about 65 degrees can also contribute to the problem because tomatoes are heat and sun lovers. You might add supplemental light if you haven't already and, at 4 inches tall they should be spaced well apart at one per cell or pot, and be sure the soil is only moist but not soggy. You might also consider running a small fan somewhere in the room to increase air circulation, but do not aim it directly at the plants. Good luck with your tomatoes!

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