The Q&A Archives: zucchini leaves

Question: already have harvested 6 zucchini's(2 potted in lg.container)-however lately several of the most mature leaves have started to yellow,brown on the edges&shrivel-should i cut them off?lots of rain lately-too much moisture?they're planted in a great mix w/compost & fertilizer. also lately the new baby zucchs started to grow, then shriveled and turned yellow..

Answer: If the older leaves are the only ones affected, just pick them off the plant. Poor pollination can cause the baby squash to abort, but if you find that the blossom end is rotting but the part near the stem is okay, they may be showing signs of blossom end rot, a physiological condition caused by a lack of calcium at the growing tip of the fruit. While your soil may have adequate calcium, fluctuations in soil moisture content from dry to wet really increase the incidence of blossom end rot. It is especially bad on the early fruit each summer and in sandy soils. The damage occurs as cells die at the tip of the fruit. In time (and as the fruit grows) the spots enlarge and turn black. So, by the time you see it, the damage actually has already occurred some time back. Remedies include: having a soil test to make sure calcium levels are adequate, adding organic matter to a sandy soil to increase its moisture holding capacity, keeping plants evenly moist, especially during the development of the first fruits (mulch helps maintain soil moisture), and spraying plants with a Blossom End Rot spray (contains calcium) which can usually be purchased from your local garden center. Best wishes with your summer squash!

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