squash dying on the vine

Youngsville, NC(Zone 7a)

we planted several plants of 3 types of squash- zucchini, yellow crookneck, and something called "Tigress" which is supposed to be like Zucchini with yellow stripes. We've harvested a fair amount of the Zucchini but the other two types are suffering somehow, all of the fruit that starts seems to wither and die on the plant before being ready to pick. Also the plants don't look particularly healthy, kinda sickly in general. I'm thinking that even though I'm watering twice a day it just isn't enough with the hot dry weather we've had, but yesterday I also noticed what looks like a Stinkbug infestation on one of the groups of yellow squash. Could either of those conditions be the culprit, or something else I should look for?

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

Could be a number of things...

1. overwatering or improper watering - I live in the desert and it's HOT - lol. 112 today. I water every 3 days and water deeply. The very first year I gardened in the desert I was watering all the time (I have raised beds) and then it hit me - I had to water so much because my roots were so close to the surface and dried out quickly. Now as soon as plant starts to grow I water on this deep watering schedule. Less often in the winter.

2. bugs - stinkbugs, squash bugs and squash vine borers (SVBs) are the most detrimental to your plants. Stinkbugs and squash bugs you can see and squish or knock into soapy water. SVBs are trickier. The eggs are laid by a moth and as soon as they hatch they bore into the stem of the plant. Look for frass, which will appear as sawdust looking stuff at the base of the plant.

3. fertilizer burn - what, if anything, have you used for fertilizer? I am organic and use only compost at planting and to mulch with and fish emulsion the rest of the season. Chemical fertilizers can "burn" your plants if not applied correctly or in too large of an amount.

Hope you figure out what is going on. Pictures might help if you can post some.

Plantersville, TX(Zone 9a)

I deep water my squash also. Its planted directly in the ground, so it doesn't dry out as fast as a raised garden. Lots of compost mixed into the soil will help retain the moisture. This year I have put in an irriagation system, & my squash seem to be doing much better in this heat.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

Where I'm at it's so dry it's not normally a problem, but squash and pumpkins do not like to have their leaves wet. Leads to powdery mildew. Water the ground and not the leaves if at all possible. Can't control the rain of course...

Youngsville, NC(Zone 7a)

I've caught the stinkbugs crawling all over my squash plants. Seen herds of the nymphs and egg clusters too. Sounds like you're telling me the only solution is to squish them one by one. Any hazards to contact with them? Do they bite or sting?

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

They stink - really give off a horrible smell when squished. I'm not sure if they bite or not. I squish them with gloves or knock them into a container of soapy water. The eggs I cut off the leaf and stomp them. The nymphs are fast and harder to catch...

Youngsville, NC(Zone 7a)

here's some pics of what is going on with my squash... you can see nymphs, egg clusters, and an adult

Thumbnail by dm440c
Youngsville, NC(Zone 7a)

another

Thumbnail by dm440c
Youngsville, NC(Zone 7a)

here's a shot of what is happening to the fruit

Thumbnail by dm440c
Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

Yikes!

The first pic is squash bug eggs and nymphs...

Thumbnail by locakelly
Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

I'd grab those leaves with the nymphs, cut it off and stomp those nasties over the Rainbow Bridge...

Get rid of the eggs anyway you can. Cut the area off and squish them. Look carefully on stems and under leaves, especially new growth leaves. They don't care for the old leaves...

Thumbnail by locakelly
Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

The second pic is a stinkbug. They are fast. I try and cut them in half with my garden shears - hold your breath - they really do smell foul! You can also get a container of soapy water and knock them into it with something. I prefer not to touch them - lol...

The last pic, your fruit looks fine. The one that is "rotting" looks like it didn't get pollinated. It will turn yellow and shrivel up and fall off. You can cut them off too - helps to keep critters away looking for a free meal.

Definitely get rid of the bugs. They like healthy plants, so you know your plants are in good shape. They can withstand a small invasion, but those things breed like rabbits and too many will kill your plants. I don't see and evidence of SVBs and that's good...

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

Quote from locakelly :
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The last pic, your fruit looks fine. The one that is "rotting" looks like it didn't get pollinated. It will turn yellow and shrivel up and fall off. You can cut them off too - helps to keep critters away looking for a free meal.



Thanks Kelly I had a few of them too and like you I deep water now that it is hot. Now I wont worry so much...

Youngsville, NC(Zone 7a)

so, are the nymphs in the pictures Stinkbugs or "Squash Bug" like you said, or some other kind of insect? IS this different than an Aphid or are they all just different common names for the same thing?

This message was edited Jun 27, 2010 11:04 AM

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

The nymphs are squash bugs. The big brown bug in your 2nd pic is a stinkbug. Adult squash bugs look similar but I never let them get that far - lol. Aphids are small and come in many colors.

You usually know you have aphids because you suddenly have a lot of ants. Ants "farm" aphids - they are attracted and feed off the sticky nectar aphids secrete. Soapy water or insecticidal soap or a strong blast of water from the hose will take care of aphids.

All these guys are bad - they hurt your plants by sucking the juice out of the plants. A bad enough infestation will eventually kill your plants.

Here's the google search for pictures of aphids..

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=pictures+of+aphids&aq=f&aqi=g3&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

Squash bugs...

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=pictures+of+squash+bugs&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

As you can see, the adults of the stinkbugs and squash bugs look really similar. Stinkbug has a more pointy rear end. Squash bug's is more rounded.

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