The Q&A Archives: Squash Plants Deformed

Question: My Zucchini and yellow sumer squashes leaves are curling and the fruits are very deformed. This happened last season afer about 6 weeks of good fruit. This did'nt happen to the scallop or the winter squashes that I planted near by.

Answer: A few possibilities come to mind. If the baby squash are just emerging, it could be that the female blossoms weren't pollinated. This sometimes happens early in the season, before the male blossoms appear. It can also happen during cool spells when pollinators are less active.

However, it sounds as if the problem might be fungal or bacterial disease. The wet scar formed when the flower detaches from the fruit is a prime site
for infection if conditions are right. Cultural techniques like not overwatering, using a drip watering system rather than constant overhead sprinkling (wet plants create a perfect environment for disease), and growing vines on a trellis to improve air circulation all will help significantly. Mulching with a layer of dry organic material, such as straw, can help reduce the problem somewhat but is not a 100% solution to this problem. Try these cultural practices and see if there's improvement. There's still squash-growing time left! Good luck!

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