Something has been going on with my zucchini plant, at first a couple of leaves yellowed and i just thought it was just no big deal--as it has been doing that occasionally ever since planting it. But today i notice that it has really started going downhill fast. Some of the leaf stems have totally rot away from the main stem. and i have noticed beads of juice / sap on the leaf stems. I could not see any signs of insects on the plant, so perhaps it is something bacterial / fungal?
Urgh! jmc, I wished I knew. I am so new to raising the edible garden. I'm don't have any clue. Oh wait, others have talked about borrers, insects that deposit their eggs into the plants and larvae hatch and eat their way out from within the vines.? Hope other experienced gardeners will chime in soon.
yeah, is there any way to naturally cure this without having to rip out the plant in an attempt to save the squash plant that is right beside it, because so far my yellow crookneck squash remains unscathed from this attack, and it is sitting just right beside this one.
I have read every post discussing this issue, and if there is a way that works non chemically I have not found it. I have not tried all of the methods, but the people who have tried the others did not seem to have much success. I am sure how successful these methods are have a lot to do with what part of the country you are in and how bad the problem is there. Here I have decided it is impossible, but someone could prove me wrong...I wish they would!
Watch your yellow crockneck very closely, it is one of their favorites, they devoured mine last year before they ever made a squash, so I planted the straight neck this year, they did a little better last year, and I was able to get a few squash off of them this year. Some people consider BT and Spinosad organic, so check them out and decide how organic you want to be or how hungry you want to be.
I have managed to save plants doing the surgery route (although these are too far gone) and have plants that re-root themselves vigorously along the stem survive although they were not terribly productive given the stress. Other than that... well supposedly you can see the eggs on the stem if you catch them the right day but they are invisible to me.
I plant C. moshata exclusively now, or at least as of this year I do. These are not immune from SVB, but are not a preferred plant. So the SVB fly off and bother other people's gardens instead, apparently, since I haven't seen a single one this year.
mom just came to me and said she found something advertised in a book about treatment for them involving a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol. But of course you have to buy the book to see "how to do it", lol.
Insectides orgainic or not dont help much with the SVB bc the larva is in the plant. I've heard of people injecting the stems with BT. This is the first year that I had any luck with squash since I mocked to Tx 20 yrs ago. The only thing I did was put Tulle over the plants like a row cover. It's too late for these plants but you may want to give it another try. I wasn't as vigulent as I should have been with the tulle, I didn't keep it tacked down as the plants grew. So I did lose a couple of plants to the SVBs I did remove them and boy do they smell. All I can say is the tulle works if you use it from the get go. It's cheap and easy to handle. It does have to be removed to allow for pollination. I think you stll have time to grow more. Good luck!
Thanks. I suppose if i would have known what to look for, i may have at least saved the majority of the plant, but this was my very first experience with this specific pest, so unfortunately, lesson learned the hard way eh?
since my zucchini plant has been pronounced a death sentence. I figured i may as well experiment a bit, i clipped off the end of the plant that was still healthy looking, and that the SBV's havent gotten to yet, and have the end a dip in rooting hormone and dropped it into a cup of water to see if it will actually take root, lol. Hey, cant hurt to try seeing as the main plant is doomed anyways, and if it works (although i have my doubts, seeing as i have never even heard of someone trying to root a squash type plant, lol), that would mean i get a brand new free zucchini plant. :)
i am quite sure that my method is completely unorthodox when it comes to trying to restart a squash from a cutting, lol. as it says nothing about water, just that "if you are unsure about a specific plant, do a test cutting first", which is just what i did :)
Just the main stem. You have to look at the plant and use some judgement on this. Look where you have the frass, make sure you get that area but also do the healthy looking area. You never know how many are in there. And the injections mean no splitting of stems to try and get them out. I would inject a leaf stalk if I saw borer frass but I don't think they go to the leaf stalks.
Yes lime, as well as lime-sulfur, and copper are all organic anti-fungal products. But remember just because something is organic or natural doesnt mean that it is safe or non-toxic. Copper for example is natural but also a heavy metal. It is also extremely toxic.
Lime and or lime sulfur is extremely alkaline and can cause blindness if you get it in your eyes. Both copper and lime sulfer have been used since the mid 1800's in agriculture. They also cause damage to foliage and to the finish on fruits. Thats why most growers only use the products now in dormancy.
I read somewhere an intriguing suggestion that I am now trying out. The claim was that "Momma" squash borer comes by only once in a season to lay her eggs. So, the suggestion was to plant your squash as early in the spring as weather will allow, harvest as many squash as you can before the borers kill the plant. Immediately after pulling out the dead plants, put in more seeds or bedding plants and have more squash later in the summer/fall. My test of this is currently underway. I'll let you know if it works. In the meantime, I'm watching out for squash beetles and other pests that should be much easier to control.
Hummm. Who exactly claims that the moth only visits once? Don't sound reasonable to me.
I do agree with getting plants in early so that they produce before the SVB season comes around. And I also agree that it is a great idea to start seeds for replacement plants. But the SVB moths keep coming around so they visit those replacement plants also.
Perhaps in some climates, the SVB moth only has time for one generation, but that's not the case here in Alabama. There are downsides to having a long growing season.
I agree that as planting early as possible helps with summer squash -- you at least get to harvest for a while before they show up. And my summer squash plants always play out by about this time of year anyway. If I were a bigger fan of squash, I would succession plant just to keep the harvest levels up, but as it is by the time the plants are pooped and hardly producing I'm sick of squash anyway!
I still haven't been visited by SVB this year yet, which is truly odd. (I probably just jinxed myself saying that.)
I don't have many issues with SVB. But I do get lots of squash bugs. And if I dont stay on top of them they can wreak havoc. I am seeing their eggs all over on the upper and lower sides of the leaves and only a few adults at this point in time. I have been dousing them with Neem oil. If I don't stay on top of them my zuchini, pumpkins, wintersquash, and summer squash will start wilting.
drobarr, when you mentioned of "squash bugs". Do you mean Striped or Spotted cucumber bugs ( Diabrotica undecimpunctata)?
Is this the culprit? (photo from my garden). I've noticed these come in two color, reddish orange with dots on the wings, also greenish with black dots on their wings. They're slightly smaller than our lady bugs. But they could easily be mistaken with the "good guys", ladybugs.
Squash bugs are a dark gray and they produce jillions of lighter gray babies. I check my plants every couple of days. Yesterday they looked fine, today not so good I picked a scallop squash and low and behold jillions of squash bugs were everywhere. It's amazing how fast they can kill a plant.
drobarr-thank you for pointing out that organic doesn't mean safer. To me all organic means is that it has a Carbon atom.
In chemistry "organic" does mean that the substance contains the carbon atom. So in a chemistry sense nearly all pesticides are "organic". In other countries they use "biological" or "natural" in the place of how we use the term organic in USA to avoid the confusion.
Natural(organic) vs synthesized(conventional)...Not always the case but most natural things tend to be safer and less toxic and shorter lasting than many of the conventional pesticides. But the acute toxicity of many natural products can be very high. The problem is that some folks think that because something is "organic" or natural that they don't need the gloves or take the same precautions as they would with conventional products. Many people have been hurt and or sickend by handing and applying natural compounds. Even though they are natural, they are still toxic pesticides, and can pose a danger to humans.
My point is that please be careful with whatever pesticide you use...either a natural pesticide or conventional one. Read the label, and use the personal protective equipment they recommend. Wear the gloves, eye protection and long pants and sleeves as a minimum.
Be most careful when you are handing the concentrated product.
Well stated drobarr. I feel so grateful that you're a contributing member of our DG-family. Your sharing of pertinent information regarding safe-gardening practices will undoubtedly benefit many. Thank you for being there, and if I haven't welcomed you formally before, please pardon. Here is a big welcome to DG.
Fellow gardener in the South East USA.
Once again, SVBs have taken my zucchini and yellow squash from me just at the heighth of production. Next year I am going to use tulle. I only plant about 3 of each type of squash, so I can easily hand pollinate.
just wondering...could you use one of those chicken flavor injectors? I may try spinosad.
Anyone tried the foil around the base of the plant method? or I have heard the tubes from toilet paper or paper towels work too.
I used tulle last year and I had squash coming out of my ears, for the first time in yrs. I just tacked it down on the raised beds. I'm not growing any bush types this year and they are the only type the SVB seems to bother, at least for me. I like the tulle bc I can use it for other stuff too. Good luck
Drthor, thanks for the picture. I think I will copy your set up with hoops and the agribon.
I am enjoying a zucchini muffin for breakfast this morning and I hope next year will bring a more plentiful squash harvest using the above method. I would love to open the freezer in winter and find a bag of shredded zucchini to make yummy muffins on a cold morning.
would you be so kind and d-mail me your zucchini muffin's recipe, please?
It sounds yummy !
Also, next year I will try to plant "moschata" type squash. Mostly they are winter squash ... but if harvested small they taste just like zucchini !
The stem/trunk of the moschata squash is very hard, like bark (I have a few planted this year already and they are doing great). No way the SVB could drill into these trunks ... at least I hope ...
Check Baker Creek for the moschata seeds. They have tons of them (off course I got all the varieties from Italy): http://www.rareseeds.com/store/vegetables/squash/winter-squash/
I agree with Drobarr regarding treatment options. The problem is not SVB here. As for SVB, I have recommended Agribon for years. I usually get three years out of it. It's effective even if it has holes. Squash plants stay covered until there are female flowers.
I have had better success planting late rather than early. I've tried every which way and late works. The moth breaks the soil here in May. You can probably find out, with a little online research, when it breaks soil in your region. So I plant mid to end of May. Birds nail the moths while my plants are too young to interest them (plus they are covered) and by the time my squash has female flowers the moth population is pretty much depleted. The photo below was taken yesterday. I have zucchini and straight neck growing together. Harvesting began two weeks ago. I plant fewer plants than years ago, to cover easily, but the plants go on for months and the yield is higher. Some folks plant early and late.
Years ago I also posted about injecting vines with Bt. It is selective as well as effective if you know where to inject. Best to get above the borer. This year I have sprayed with neem every week to ten days. I see no borer eggs anywhere. There was a time when Spinosad package directions stated not to use it more than two or three times a growing season to prevent resistance. I'm not seeing that recommendation now but believe, organic or not, we need to limit applications of any singular insecticidal product. Better to switch it up. I am saying this because I also grow orchids and have a green house. Orchid growers know full well the problems of long term insecticide treatment with one product.
Maypop, Looks great!
Here is the zucchini muffin recipe for anyone interested. This works best as muffins, as the bread tends to be too dense to be done on the inside before the outside burns.
Preheat oven to 350degrees. Makes about 2 dozen. Batter can be frozen.
13/4 cup sugar ( I like 1 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup white)
2 cups grated zucchini ( yellow squash works too, or add a bit of carrot or pumpkin)
2tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour (I use 1 1/2 cups wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups white, but don't use all wheat, too heavy)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon*
1/4 tsp nutmeg*
1/4tsp ginger or allspice*
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup nuts (toasted pecans are nice)
1/2 cup raisins, golden raisins or dried cranberries or any mix of them.
*You can use 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp apple or pumpkin pie spice
Grease muffin pan well or use liners.
Beat eggs and oil in a Large mixing bowl. Beat in sugars and vanilla then gently mix in grated zucchini. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder AND baking soda,salt and spices. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in the large bowl. Mix until just blended, lumpy is ok. Fold in nuts and / or raisins. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.( I sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar)
Bake about 20 mins or when toothpick inserted in middle of muffin comes out clean.
This recipe is great for adaptations, very forgiving. You can cut the oil by 1/2 cup and replace with yogurt, applesauce, Cooked oatmeal, soymilk ( may need to add 1 or 2 Tblsp Flour)
Add ins like flax seed, oats, more zucchini, wheat germ or bran or chocolate chips are fine up to a half cup. The muffins can be iced with cream cheese frosting, or baked with streusel on top.
We lost all our squash this year to the squash borers. Ag people here say that once you have these they get in the ground and there is no getting rid of them. After pulling out the plants we are spraying with "Eight" which was recommended by the Farmer's Co Op locally. Next year when I plant should I use the Spinosad injections before I see any signs of the insects being present to prevent damage if they should bore into the stems?
Ive had really good luck planting the plants in a different area of the garden then covering them with tulle, so the SVB hatches in one part of the garden but can't get to the plants. When they flower they do need to be hand pollinated. You could plant before of after the SVB has emerged, so the plant isn't available to them. I've heard mixed results with injecting, but I would do it before you see damage. I've cut thru the stems to get the maggots out and they are smelly ad gross but the chickens are happy. Since I started using the tulle I have had more squash then I know what to do with.
I bought tulle to use for covering my hooped squash and cukes, prepping for anticipated problems. But I didn't do a very effective job of hand pollinating last year, so I was hesitant about when to put the tulle on. Instead I made myself a screen for the french door I sit at when I'm inside.
I had problems with SVB in Massachusetts, but none here. Yet. What I did get was my neighbor's lawn sprinkler water coming over her junipers and LOTS of mold.
Sigh, I had a really good zucchini season this year. My freezer is half full of zuc bread and chocolate zuc bread. Now the plants are pooping out ;(. I always hate to see the zucchini plants go. I know some don't like them, but to me a good row of zucchini means summer...
OK, I've had my sad-to-see-summer-go moment. Now on to fall. Maybe I will try just two zuc plant for fall and see what happens.
That's what I would do...give it a try can't hurt anything. I don't like summer squash BUT this is the first year I haven't tried to grow it. The tulle worked so well last year, I was giving summer squash away to anybody that would take it and I made bread more then once. Lol
Unlike the rest of you, I just harvested my first zucchini! Yes, it's late, but because my sunny beds were full I planted it in a rather shady spot. My winter squash actually ripened before my summer squash!