Yellow Squash not growing - Knowledgebase Question

Hilo, Ha
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Question by swbnlvn
June 30, 2010
I have planted yellow squash in the ground with compost, in pots with Miracle grow, and in planters. The problem I am having is that the squash grows about an inch or so and then the flower falls off and then it goes brown and dies. I have lookede inside and do not find any bugs. I actually got 1 squash that was the right size and very delicious out of about 30 plants that I planted. HELP!

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010
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. You can hand pollinate the blossoms yourself by taking a small artist?s paint brush or Q-tip and rubbing the pollen from the male (without a small fruit behind the flower) and into the female (with a small fruit behind the flower).

Also, plants need phosphorous to produce flowers and fruits. You didn't say if you have fertile soil, or problems with other plants, but you might want to use a side dressing of fertilizer high in phosphorous (the middle number) or an organic source, such as bone meal. Scratch it into the soil to the side of the plant's roots.

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. Good luck!

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