Wilting Zukes

Went outta town for a few days , while we were gone the gkids and their mom watered for me . A couple of my zucchini plants have an unexplained wilting of leaves - and one has died , but it was weak to begin with . I'm pretty sure they didn't water enough to let it soak deep like I do , but most of the rest of my plants - and all the cantalopes - are still doing well . One thing , the plant that is wilting he most has a zuke about 6" long growing . Can that increase the water required that much ? I watered everything well yesterday , let the hose run slow and moved it around until everything is deeply soaked . This morning the leaves are still wilted ...
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Snag
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wrote:

Not a good sign. Do you check the soil for dampness before you water? How often and long do you water? Any chance the zuch drowned? Do you have insects that look like this <http://www.vegedge.umn.edu/vegpest/cucs/squabug.htm ?
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- Billy

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Billy wrote:

Yes , I let it dry down an inch or two before watering .

I water when the soil is dry an inch or two deep . And I water until it's soaked a few inches deep . I want to make sure I encourage the roots to go deep .

Nope , see above . We've been having extremely hot/sunny weather here .

Nope , the birds do a damn good job of keeping the bugs out .

I suspect they just didn't water enough/deep enough , because the plants seem to be recovering . All except the one that died ... as I said , we've had a lot of really hot sunny weather here in Memphis Tn .
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Snag
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wrote:

If they are still wilted in the morning, I'd put up something to block the hot afternoon's sun. I had to do that with some potted plants that I separated from each other just before planting this year.
Let's just hope it's just one of those little mysteries of gardening, and now it will go away.
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- Billy

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"summer" squashes are highly susceptible to both, cantaloupe less so. Typically, nematode infested plants will perk up quickly after watering but will quickly wilt down, sometimes even later in the same day of watering. Borer infested plants don't. The only sure way to diagnose either is inspection.     I know of no effective natural control for squash vine borers. I guess certain contact poisons might do. Down here in the south, we direct-seed as early as possible (Feb-Mar, depending on overnight lows) in order to get a useful crop before the borers hit. In cooler climes, greenhouse starts are often used.     The only effective chemical control of nematodes, of which I have any knowledge, was removed from the homeowner market years ago (and for good reason). Based on my experience, I have concluded the use of marigolds and solarization for nematode control to be mythical; YMMV. Although, "just in case", I still plant marigolds amongst particularly susceptible veggies such as squash, okra, peppers, eggplant, I depend on periodic applications of Steinernema feltiae, a "cannibalistic" nematode that does not seem to harm wasps and other beneficial-to-me insects that have ground-dwelling instars. On the downside, S. feltiae does exterminate (harmless) Rose chafer beetle larvae (white "grubs"), often present in composted manure. See my sig for a reliable source. Also, a quick web search will produce demonstrations that alternate-year planting of curcurbits and N-resistant tomato hybrids significantly reduces nematode populations.
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Derald
FL USDA zone 9a
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Snag wrote:

A few of possibilites. They have been allowed to dry out so much the leaf tissue is permanently damaged. Nothing you can do about that but the new leaves will be OK and the plant will recover after being set back.
Second the plant has root damage due to nematodes etc or root rot. It is probably doomed. Third it has a fungal wilt on the leaves, this should be visible, powdery mildew is common on cucurbits in humid summers, you can spray if you want to.
David
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