The Q&A Archives: Yellow leaves on squash plants

Question: The leaves on my zucchini and squash are turning yellow. The blossoms shrivel up and die. They are producing but only a few at a time. The rest just don't mature. I live in Northern Ca and they are planted in half barrels. I used 1 bag of Patio Plus Outdoor Potting soil and 1 bag of topsoil. I have been using Miracle Grow to fertilize. I hand water everyday or two depending on the weather.

Answer: Yellowing leaves on squash plants is quite common and can be caused by a variety of things, including transplant shock, over or under-watering and lack of nitrogen. Zucchini like rich, moist soil that's has plenty of organic matter and drains well. They need nitrogen at the start of their growing for green healthy leaves. Try fish emulsion for an organic source of nitrogen or use a balanced fertilizer, e.g., 10-10-10. Follow package instructions for application rates. Water well before and after applying. Squash are moisture sensitive and need a regular supply of water to thrive and produce fruit. How often to water depends on your particular soil's characteristics. You want to keep it uniformly moist, but not soaking wet, to a depth of 12-18 inches. Squash plants develop both male and female flowers. The pollen is transferred from the male to the female when insects such as bees visit the flowers. Although the female flowers will attempt to develop a fruit when the petals fall from the flower, if it was not completely pollinated, the immature fruit will die and drop from the plant. About the only thing you can do is encourage pollinating insects by having lots of colorful flowers in your garden to attract them, and by not using a lot of pesticides in your garden. I hope this information helps.

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