Pumpkin Vine Pruning - Knowledgebase Question

Farmingdale, NY
Avatar for wms444
Question by wms444
July 24, 2000
I'm new to gardening, and am trying to grow some large pumpkins. I have heard that you are supposed to pinch back pumpkin vines to direct the plant's energy towards the pumpkins (instead of more leaves.) Exactly how does one do this? Do I just take a pair of pruners and cut off the end of the vine? How much vine should I leave behind?

Answer from NGA
July 24, 2000
You can use pruners to cut off the side vines, or you can use your fingers to pinch off the growing tip on each side vine. Leave the main vine where the first pumpkins grew so that it can fuel their growth. Remove the side vines or secondary vines so that the roots don't have to feed them as well. This will give you bigger better pumpkins on your main vine. Also, you can limit the number of pumpkins your vine carries by removing the newest, smallest ones closer to the tip of the vine. The fewer the pumpkins the bigger they should ultimately be. In any case, about two weeks before frost if the pumpkins are not ripe yet, go ahead and pinch off the tip of the main vine to stop it from growing longer. This should encourage the existing pumpkins to ripen.

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