squash fruit shriveling - Knowledgebase Question

Jacksonville, Fl
Question by kaygfox
June 2, 2010
After my squash fruit start to grow they shrivel and don't come to maturity...what can I do to help. Thanks, Jacksonville

Answer from NGA
June 2, 2010


Poor pollination can be the cause, especially if the squash is only an inch or two in size when it shrivels up. If it is larger than that and begins to shrivel from the bottom to the top, blossom end rot is the cause. The cause is lack of calcium in the soil and more commonly uneven soil moisture levels. Watering correctly should stop the blossom end rot. (Over watering and under watering can both cause drooping or wilting due to root damage.) Your goal in watering is to keep the soil evenly moist like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet and not dried out. There is no set schedule for watering, it depends on your soil type and on the weather. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still damp, do not water yet. When you do water, apply it to the soil surface and water thoroughly and slowly so it soaks down to the deeper roots. After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water soaked in; it can be surprising. Using an organic mulch several inches thick over the root area will help reduce watering needs as well as feed the soil gradually as it breaks down over time. You may also want to check the soil pH. If the soil is too acidic, lime would be used to raise the pH; lime will also help supplement the calcium in the soil.

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