The Q&A Archives: what is causing my summer squash to die early?

Question: My summer squash is just starting to bear & now the leaves are turning yellow & the squash are drying up & rotting on the blossom end? What is the treatment?? Thank you ,Jean P.

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 is most likely fungal or bacterial diseases attacking fruit. 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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