The Q&A Archives: Controlling Worms on Zucchini

Question: Last year I had some beautiful zucchini plants going and then some sort of worm got into the root and caused the roots to rot thus the demise of my whole crop. What causes this, what are they and what can be done to prevent them? Mary Ametani Madison, WI

Answer: I know there are borers that infest squash vines, but I'm not sure what could be attacking the roots of your zucchini. Squash vine borers do enter the plant at the base of stems early in the season, and this could lead to root rot. If the vine wilts and you notice a pile of greenish "sawdust" coming from a hole in the vine near the stem, you probably have a borer problem. First, plant your squashes in a different location each year, and cover them with a floating row cover as an insect barrier (sold by Gardener's Supply Co., or call 1-800-863-1700) to keep the adults from laying their eggs near the plants. This will also help keep cucumber beetles at bay! Just be sure to uncover the plants when they start to bloom so bees can pollinate the flowers.

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