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Help ! What is killing off my squash and cucumbers.

West Nyack, NY

I am a beginning gardener. This ia the first time I have had a chance to actually garden and I was thrilled but something is killing off my plants. It started on the zucchini , which produced one small squash then the leaves started to shrivel and die. I sprayed with milk and baking soda thinking it was powdery mildew with no change. The stems of the plants turn pale yellow and soft and eveventually the plant breaks off at the crown. The roots are yellow and decayed and sometimes give off a sort of putrid odor.
Is it bacterial wilt? Fungus? If you know please share. I am not sure if I can plant any fall or spring veg here again. Thanks

West Nyack, NY

These are pictures of the last squash plant to die.

Thumbnail by blackeyedsusan1 Thumbnail by blackeyedsusan1 Thumbnail by blackeyedsusan1 Thumbnail by blackeyedsusan1
Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

The squash is being destroyed by the Squash Vine borer. It's a nasty critter. The moth lays eggs on the stem and stalks of the plant and then when they hatch, they bore into the stems and stalks and destroy the plant from the inside out. Did you notice any sawdust looking stuff (frass) along the stem of the squash plant?

West Nyack, NY

Thank You. I am so glad to finally know what I am dealing with. I haven't found any of the worms in the stems yet . Maybe I should pull the squash out and try some fall veg.
Thanks again mystery solved.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Do you water from the top or do you use a drip system or soaker hose?

High Point, NC

Make sure to throw the pulled dead plants away (dig the root too). Last year, I left pulled squash plants them on the ground and discovered I'd created a hatchery for stink bugs! Now I throw the plants in the garbage as soon as they're pulled. I have enough problems with borers and stink bugs without actually raising them!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

If you have a compost pile, don't put them in there either. We put all our infested/infected plants in paper yard bags for the City to pick up and compost. (One reason why I don't use the free compost they offer! LOL)

West Nyack, NY

I use a watering can to water in the garden but it has been so wet here this summer that I haven't had to water much myself. I was hoping for some hot sunny days in August but they have been few and far between. I was going to pick up some free compost this weekend so i'm glad you warned me it makes sense that it would be full of fungus and evil squash borers.
I will certainly go out tomorrow and dig up around the area the squash was.

Delhi, LA

I think stephanie is right on with the borers. Plants will look good one day and the next be dying. I had my first round with them this year. They killed my cucumbers (American type) and didn't touch the Japanese cukes. Neither did they bother my squash.

Gonna have to do something different next year.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

It's best to not water from the top. Water at the base so that stuff doesn't splash up onto the leaves. Mulch at the base of the plants if you can and use a soaker hose or some kind of watering system that's close to the ground.

Jim, those SVB are the pits!! Evil little things, aren't they?

Delhi, LA

They hit me a lick this year for the first time. I'm going to try foil around the plants next year. That is supposed to help.

Chino Valley, AZ

HA! This solves a mystery for me too. One of my zucchini plants was fine, dying the next day. How do we fight these evil ones?

Delhi, LA

The way I will try to beat them is to cut a square of aluminum foil, then cut it to the center. When the plants get a little size on them, slip the foil around the plant and pull it tight. As the stalk grows it will push the foil. The demon that lays the egg, does so at the base of the plant. When the egg hatchs, it goes straight into the ground at the base of the plant and then bores in and starts its trip up the middle of the stalk. The bug lays on the foil and the little worm is stopped by the foil from going in to the ground. This is second hand information and I haven't tried it but I will next summer.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I realize this is an old thread but this is the first time Ive been able to raise mostly healthy squash plants in TX. All I used was tulle. I placed it over the beds as soon as I sowed the seeds. The only problems I had was when I didn't secure the tulle down well enough and the moth got in. Even then I had more squash then I could use. The plants got so big they escaped the tulle. I had a volunteer come up in Oct. it was the healthiest plant yet and did produce some, however the recent freeze killed it. This method is so easy and inexpensive. I have never had a problem with them on cukes, and I wonder why?

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