pumpkins - Knowledgebase Question

Boise, Id
Avatar for kldinucci
Question by kldinucci
July 20, 2010
I'm doing something wrong. I can't keep the small pumpkins on the vine. They are turning yellow and then fall off. Too much water, not enough, or need fertilizer? Did this same thing last year.

Answer from NGA
July 20, 2010
There are a few reasons for the immature fruits to drop from the vine but the reasons aren't exactly because you are doing anything wrong. When the flowers are not pollinated completely the fruits can begin to grow but then will fall off before they get more than a few inches in size. Poor pollination can result when daytime temperatures are high or when nighttime temperatures are cool; or when there is little insect activity in the garden. Water stress can cause overall poor growth but unless you're seeing die-back of the plants themselves, fruit drop isn't usually the first symptom you see. About the only other cause might be if squash vine borers have damaged the stem where the pumpkin attaches to the vine. Check the stems, the vines and the pumpkins to see if you can find signs of insect activity. I can only suggest that you continue to care for your plants as you are doing now. You can try transferring pollen with a small paintbrush (just visit each open flower) if you think there are not many bees, flies or wasps in your garden. Hope this helps!

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