The Q&A Archives: Cucumber

Question: I have a very small garden and all things are growning really good except my cucumber plants. Around the base of the plants it looks like they are dying but at the ends of the plants the leaves still look green. Some of the lower leaves look dry. The lower vines close to the ground look a little distorted. Do you know what could be wrong?

Answer: Cucumber vine wilt is a disease caused by a bacterium, Erwinia tracheiphila, that overwinters in the bodies of the striped and 12-spotted cucumber beetles. In the spring, the beetles emerge from the ground and feed on young plants, introducing bacteria into the leaves or stems. The bacteria reproduce in the water-conducting vessels, producing gums that interfere with water transport. The beetles and bacteria are so intimately related that controlling the beetles will control infection by the bacteria. Once infection has occurred, however, no control is possible and wilting plants should be removed, if practical. this year is generally from bacterial wilt. This disease is carried in the bodies of cucumber beetles and the plants are inoculated when the beetles feed on the cucumber plants. In order to control the problem, you'll need to control the beetles before they feed. If you grow cucumbers next year, you can control the beetles with applications of carbaryl, usually on five day intervals, and the wilt will be prevented. Be sure to read and follow all label directions.

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