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Beginner Gardening: my squash plants are all turning yellow and dieing

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Forum: Beginner GardeningReplies: 7, Views: 121
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Crozet, VA

June 27, 2010
3:29 PM

Post #7925559

Last week I finally pulled up a zucchini plant that a few days before had begun turning a pretty uniform yellow all over the leaves. These plants have produced a bit already and this being our first go at vegetable gardening we are wondering what might be going on with them. Earlier my husband went to check the garden and has come back in saying that whatever happened to the plant last week has now started happening to some of the other plants. He is going to try and take a picture for me to post here and we are hoping that someone will have some ideas as to what might be occurring and how we will go about correcting it.

I should add that we are having a hotter summer in Central Virginia than anyone can remember at this time of year. The plants are being hand watered and we don't believe that they are either over or under watered. They are receiving a half gallon of water every other day and at least one good drink from a water hose recently. They also have cardboard and straw at their base.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.


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Crozet, VA

June 27, 2010
3:31 PM

Post #7925563

Another pic of sick squash plant...

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Crozet, VA

June 27, 2010
4:03 PM

Post #7925609

This is one that hubby just pulled up and it looks as though the stem or root has rotted for some reason. The others aren't in this condition yet. Help please if you can.


Thumbnail by rubyw
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United Kingdom

June 28, 2010
3:14 AM

Post #7926622

Hi there, to be honest, with the roots rotting and the leaves turning yellow, it sounds like they are being over watered.. I have squashes and courgettes growing in my allotment and made the same mistake, thinking they were a very thirsty plant and watering them every day, AND putting mulch around the base of the plants to keep the water in. The fruit on the plant has been rotting and i wondered why, my boyfriend went to have a look at them and told me they were being over watered. I have now stopped watering them every day and instead gone to every other/3 days.. it depends. Keep a check on the leaves and when they start to wilt give them water, and see if that stops them from rotting. Obviously water them from the base and not onto the leaves. I really hope this helps!
Crozet, VA

June 30, 2010
5:25 AM

Post #7932336

Thank you silkkat. After posting this message we had an Email from the County Extension Agent whom my husband had contacted earlier to show him the leaves and the Agent had done some research and came back saying he saw evidence of Squash Bug and that the one with the rotted stem was due to a Squash Bore. He sent information on how to treat for both pests and hopefully that will begin to correct things.

We have been getting beautiful fruit from the vines but knew that more should be coming and wanted to try and prevent destruction of the plant if at all possible. Hopefully the application of a recommended chemical will destroy the pests and we will continue to enjoy more squash.

As for the possibility of over watering...we are experiencing high temperatures and no rain for almost a month now, so we didn't think it was either over or under watering. I do want to thank you for responding to this topic though and appreciate your thoughts on it.

Here is wishing you good luck with your garden. It is a gamble it seems as to whether we produce good eats or whether pests or the weather destroy our hard work. Thank you so much for your time.

New London, NC

July 2, 2010
10:00 AM

Post #7937992

What do you do for a squash bore?
Birmingham, AL
(Zone 7b)

July 2, 2010
12:22 PM

Post #7938269

rubyw, 3rd picture is definitely caused by a squash borer. Chemicals will not help for any of your plants that already have the bug in the stems. When you find another plant with the stem looking like it does in picture #3, cut open the stem lengthwise and see if you can find the squash borer still inside (big fat white caterpillar). Destroy it if you find it. If not, dig in the dirt around the base of that plant & see if you can find it. After it's fattened up from eating, it'll drop into the ground. You want to get rid of it if you possibly can, before
the chrysalis turns into a moth, which will then lay eggs and start the process all over again.

Crozet, VA

July 9, 2010
7:45 AM

Post #7954737

Hi Donkey and Jolie. The same chemicals that are used for squash bugs are suitable for the squash borer too.

Jolie - Thank you for the information on how to handle the borer. Ewwww...he sounds like a nasty booger!!! I will certainly tell hubby to do that in the future if he see more evidence. Your description sounds much like grubs which I truly hate running in to while gardening.

Thankfully other than losing the one plant and some of the others looking a bit poorly, the output of squash has been pretty good. I currently have a fridge full of zucchini and plan to spend the afternoon making zucchini bread and freezing the remaining fruits. I put up four containers of yellow squash earlier in the week and I am sure they will be good during the winter months when we use them.

Thanks to all for ideas. Certainly appreciate the help.


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