zuchinni problems - Knowledgebase Question

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Question by henipenni
June 30, 2010
my zucchinis are dying. plants stalks seem mushy,they almost look as they have been digested by bugs! what can I do to save the rest? thanks! Linda

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010
The squash vine borer affects vining crops, in particular squash and pumpkin. Adult moths lay eggs on stems near the plant base. After the eggs hatch, white caterpillars with brown heads tunnel into the stems to eat. They cause vines to wilt, even though they are well-watered, and eventually the plant will die. Look for entry holes and sawdust-like droppings at the base of the plants. Slit the stem lengthwise from the hole toward the tip of the vine and remove the caterpillar. Cover the stem with soil and it will reroot. To prevent them, in early summer, cover the plants with a floating row cover until flowers appear, which helps stop the moths from laying eggs.

Bacterial wilt is a disease of vining plants, but more common on cucumbers and muskmelons. A sign is when well-watered plants wilt during the day, but recover at night, and then eventually wilt and die. If you cut open a vine, the sap will be sticky and white. Bacterial wilt is most often spread by cucumber beetles, so controlling those should help control the wilt problem. Many gardeners avoid the beetles by excluding them with a floating row cover. Good garden crop rotation plus careful clean up of the garden each fall and prompt removal of any wilt-affected plants as they occur can help contain the disease. Also avoid working around the plants when they are damp as from dew. Last but not least, try to grow resistant varieties.

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