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Old May 12, 2018   #1
SueCT
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Default Seedlings with curling leaves

My seedlings look aweful a couple of weeks after transplanting from seed starting mix into miracle grow potting mix. It is what I have always used. I see a lot of dirt/potting mix on them, I wasn't super clean/careful repotting them and have turned them upside down a time or two, to check the roots and underside of leaves. I am stumped. Aphids I am not seeing? every once in a while I think I see a fungus gnat move while watering out of the corner of my eye but if there, they certainly aren't heavily infested. I removed a couple from the cups and roots are developing but not extensive yet, so its hard to remove them and keep the root ball intact. Already tore some roots trying it one, but they were certainly not water logged. I was worried about over watering. Then I thought maybe they were too dry but did not improve after I watered. I replaced the light bulbs in the lights a week ago maybe, and keep them very close but I don't see any signs of leaf burn. I don't want to loose 50 seedlings and have to resort to big box plants or give away the extras like I usually do if they are infested. Thr 3rd pic the large leaves are blurry but it shows a good clear pic of the curled leaves in the background. The little tiny plants never got transplanted and are right next to the larger ones and look fine. If it were aphids wouldn't they go after the little ones too? I am just stumped at this point.

[IMG]2018 seedlings by Susan Albetski, on Flickr[/IMG]

2018 seedlings by Susan Albetski, on Flickr


2018 seedlings by Susan Albetski, on Flickr

2018 seedlings by Susan Albetski, on Flickr

I believe this is just dirt/potting mix:

2018 seedlings by Susan Albetski, on Flickr
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Old May 12, 2018   #2
jillian
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Wow, that almost looks like herbicide damage but I don't see how it could be. Geez, I feel for you. Hopefully someone can chime in with some diagnosis and solution!
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Old May 12, 2018   #3
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The last picture (#5) looks like dirt, but the black spots in the third from the top (#3) looks like a different story. Most of the spots are too uniform in shape to be just dirt. You might want to clean the under side on just one of those leaves then come back in about a hour and check if any black spots have returned.
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Old May 12, 2018   #4
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Possibly too much light intensity. I'm guessing that the roots were damaged, the plants were subjected to transplant shock and had less ability to take up water. With the reduced water, less transpiration could take place to help cool the leaves. And with the addition of the new lights/bulbs, the increased light intensity has put the plants in a state of stress.

The fact that the un-transplanted seedlings are unaffected clearly point to a physiological stress that happened during and directly after the transplant.

Raise the lights up and keep the growing medium's wetness as even as possible. Hopefully the plant's root systems will recover enough to alleviate any issues with the new growth going forward (though the old, twisted leaves likely won't straighten and could even die off).

By the way, what type of lights (LED, T8, T5, etc.), how many of them, and how close were they to the tops of the plants?
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Old May 12, 2018   #5
SueCT
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T12 lights about an inch from the tops. That is what I have done in the past, but maybe needed to with the old bulbs if they were getting weaker. I don't remember how close I kept them when the lights were new. But as close as I could without the lights touching the plants.
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Old May 12, 2018   #6
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T12s shouldn't be too intense in general, but new bulbs will be quite a difference from old, worn-out tubes.

I'd raise them up a few inches more for the time being and see if you can halt the leaf issue. Those images seem to show (and maybe you can confirm) that the upper-most leaves closest to the lights are the most affected. The lowest ones seem mostly normal... and the un-transplanted ones are completely unaffected.
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Old May 12, 2018   #7
oakley
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They look too wet and no air?...Can you move at least a few or a dozen sequestered
to another location in the home? a fan on med/high?

Separate them. Move a few outside in shade. The weather seems good to be outside
this week. Let them dry out outside...just a thought.

At this point in our climate and difficult humidity, rain, chilly, hot, sunny, try to treat
a few a bit different....
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Old May 12, 2018   #8
SueCT
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I thought about them being too wet that is one reason I removed a couple from the cups to check. Not too wet at all, soil does not even hold together, and certainly not soggy. I watered a couple just before taking pics that may be why they looked wet. Some had dry soil starting to pull away from the sides of the cup. No yellowing leaves or spots that look like disease or other bug damage. The curled leaves do feel a little dry but are not browing and do not crumble when I touch them. Raining here and I am afraid to stess them more by trying to transition to outside when they are already stressed. I might try that with just a couple in a couple of days or later this week if nothing else works. It is raining today, and it is supposed to be 85 on Tuesday, so I would wait until Weds. The really curly leaves are clean underneath, I don't see any dirt or bugs at all, but they tear a little when try to open them so I don't want to maniplate too many. I moved the lights higher. I had a ceiling fan I have been using that I had forgotten to turn on today. I moved the lights higher and put the fan on. I am going to avoid watering unless I start to see a little wilting or pulling away from the sides of the cup again I guess. I have found in the past it is better to err a little on the dryer side. But if it is from the lights, they need enough moisture. I know putting them outside has improved things once or twice so I will watch the weather and consider that starting on Weds. This is so odd. I am not that new at starting seeds and usually have 75-100 healthy seedlings to give away. The only time I have had disaster I left them outside all day while I was at work and it got very windy and they were dried out and toasty when I got home. That was a heart breaker. If all those leaves end up falling off, I might as well go buy plants because they will be sticks and recovery will take a long time. Plant out is about 10 days to 2 weeks away.
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Old May 12, 2018   #9
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In the copy below of your third picture, is that a tomato leave I have circled red?
Do you see white spots on it?
SueCT_Pic#3.JPG
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Old May 12, 2018   #10
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I think that they will outgrow the curl once planted out. I think that it is due to too much nitrogen.
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Old May 12, 2018   #11
SueCT
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yes it is, Dutch, and it does look suspicious for a couple of aphids. I will check again but I didn't see any. I have moved them around so it would be hard to be sure which one it is. Don' t you think it would take quite a few to cause this much damage, though? I wouldn't think I would have to search this hard for them. The underside of the curled leaves are clean. I can't hold one open and take a pic at the same time, though. But the dirty leaves are the older ones and the newer leaf growth is curled and clean. Maybe I can identify the leaf and check it again.

Last edited by SueCT; May 12, 2018 at 10:17 PM.
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Old May 13, 2018   #12
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I would transplant them soon if possible, and wash the medium while doing it. There's a high chance of something funky in there. Like slightly wrong pH coupled with maybe too high of some microelement can lead to some really bizarre things happening, or some other contaminant in the potting mix. There were some tests here for organic fertilizers and some scored up to traces of 7 pesticides, and even some of the high brands had like 3 (plus heavy metals). Potting mix is even more likely to be contaminated, especially lately with so many going 'peat reduced, for the environment', which means the clean sources of peat are now replaced with other things which are likely to be contaminated.
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Old May 13, 2018   #13
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Oh your poor seedlings. I would be highly suspicious of that potting mix. It is obviously something that all of the seedlings have in common. I know that you have used this brand before but not this BAG. Possibly something is wrong with the mix since every plant seems to be affected. You could not have damaged every single plant during transplant and if it were aphids, I would expect to see them if they were causing that much damage and I would also expect to see them on the smaller seedlings.

If it were me I would take a couple of little seedlings that are not affected and plant one in that Miracle Gro mix and another in a new mix and compare results.
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Old May 13, 2018   #14
oakley
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Do you have another brand potting up mix that you could re-pot a few?

I believe that one brand last year could be completely different this year. Last season
I was convinced I had the 'bottom of the barrel' of a seed starting mix. It turned to
concrete after the first bottom watering...

This year an early started tray went south fast. Very few of those starts did well once
potted up. (I saved a few just to see and still look stunted)
So, I now have three seed starting mixes and three different potting up bags. I so don't
trust what worked before will do the same.

Fortunately I dense planted but repeated the same dense planting a couple weeks later
and the second tray is very healthy. Completely different seedling health. You would never
guess they are from the exact same seed packets.

The reason I mentioned too much moisture is a solid crate last year holding a dozen
seedlings got hit by a heavy rain while we were out of town for the weekend. Wet feet
caused droopy foliage but recovered once dry.

Aphids are sneaky fellas.
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Old May 13, 2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissS View Post
I think that they will outgrow the curl once planted out. I think that it is due to too much nitrogen.
I agree with the first part of your answer but not the second part, well maybe a bit re N, but see below..


I don't find what you show as being rare,rather I'd call it unusual growth and it's called unbalanced growth.

Which means that the roots and or foliage or both are growing faster than they should. IMO it has nothing to do with fertilizers, etc.

I've seen it many times. As the plants grow they will get with it and the foliage will return to normal foliage.

http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=18627

See post 5 above and the link I put up there as confirmation, but I didn't check that 2nd link to be sure it is still active,so fingers crossed..

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