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Old 07/10/10, 06:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Eastern US
Posts: 511
Squash plants are dying (Picture heavy)

I have gardened in Ohio for five summers. I have tried to grow zucchini and other squash for five summers. I have been unsuccessful...drum roll please....five summers!

I love squashes and zucchini. It is so frustrating to me that they always die out early in the year. This is actually the latest I've still had zucchini. Last summer I was able to harvest just one! I should add that I have moved so in total I have been unsuccessful in three different locations. All in the same County, just different homes.

My first thread is here: Zucchini Plant Dying - Yellow Leaves I am hopeful that it is alright that I am posting another thread.

I planted four zucchini plants total. This one was the first to go:

I have looked high and low for bugs and eggs. I have found none. I pulled up the plant and did a zucchini autopsy. Again, I found no bugs or eggs. I did take pictures though...

At the base of the stem:

What is the white stuff?

This is my second zucchini plant that is starting not to look so hot. Picture was taken today. First zucchini autopsy was done early part of last week.

Another from today. Leaves are starting to wilt downward. Slightly:

Squash is planted in the same bed. Kinda lacking the lush green leaves that one would hope for.

Unfortunately the picture quality is poor but this is a picture of my watermelon and cantaloupe bed. It is about five feet from the squashes. These plants are doing wonderfully.
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Old 07/10/10, 09:36 PM
Danaus29's Avatar  
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 19,083
My guess would be wilt carried by cucumber beetles. It takes a while after the cucumber beetles have been eating on the plant before you start to notice signs of wilt.


Last edited by Danaus29; 07/10/10 at 09:37 PM. Reason: wrong link
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Old 07/10/10, 09:56 PM
mommagoose_99's Avatar  
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: NY
Posts: 3,456
You show pictures of the leaves and stems but how do the roots look? Pull up a plant and look at the roots. Sometimes there will be very tiny white maggots on the roots. They just love squash plants. A good healthy dose of compost before you plant your squash plants will provide beneficial insects to control wire worm and cucumber beetle larva, aka the white maggots i mentioned.
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Old 07/10/10, 11:09 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Indiana
Posts: 3,784
I just plant zucchetta instead of zucchini anymore. They grow so fast they seem to be able to outgrow squash borers, cucumber beetles and squash bugs.
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Old 07/10/10, 11:26 PM
bee bee is offline
WV , hilltop dweller
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,559
my guess is squash borer..next victim take a knife and split the stem long ways..you are looking for one or more large white grub-thing..it is the first stage of a moth that lays the egg on the base of the stem near the ground. look at your second pic notice the small perfectly round hole just above the center brown wisp?? If the borer gets to be good sized there will even be frass(catapillar poo) coming out the hole. You can try planting squashes in the moshata(butternuts etc.) family as they have a more solid stem and resist the borers better. I have even done surgery to remove the grub and then buried the stem; gains some time. Then there are the folks that use needles to inject benifecial nemetodes into the stem to kill the borer.. Dusting the stem with insect dust of your choice before the eggs are laid or wraping tin foil around the first 6 inches seems to help. I have seen the borers in leaf nodes further out but usualy later in the season. It is crucial that you dispose of the dead plants because the borer will come out and pupate in the soil and emerge next year to continue the cycle.
" As needs-MUST!!"--- in other words..a gal does what a gal has too!
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Old 07/11/10, 08:10 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Eastern US
Posts: 511
Thank you all for your replies. In years past I have seen the cucumber beetles. I have not seen any this year. Not a single one. I did break apart the stem in the first autopsy. Did not notice anything unusual. No grubs or eggs or anything.

I guess at this point my question is; is there anything I can do? I will use insecticide if I have to. I realized last year that it was stupid not too because the local produce I was buying was not organic and had who knows what applied to it. Sadly using insecticide does take a lot of the fun out of gardening.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to save the zucchini and squashes.
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Old 07/11/10, 08:25 AM
Our Little Farm's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: VA
Posts: 6,971
I also think you have vine borer.

The only way I have found to get around them is to plant late.

As for what to do....pull up and burn infected plants. Go to good plants and wrap foil around stems. If there is any sign of an egg on the stem, remove it. Someone I think made a split in their stems and sprayed pepper spray inside, not sure if this worked or if it would damage the plant, but it may be worth a try.
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Old 07/11/10, 04:50 PM
katydidagain's Avatar
Adventuress--Definition 2
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: NE FL until the winds blow
Posts: 4,174
Originally Posted by Our Little Farm View Post
I also think you have vine borer.

The only way I have found to get around them is to plant late.
If you have space and seeds, start more; they produce quickly so it's not too late in Ohio.
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Old 07/11/10, 05:28 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: KY South Central
Posts: 3,512
Same problem here. One day fine the next wilted. No signs of bugs or fungus on the plant.

Yellow squash are doing fine though and they are planted in the same row.
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