I hope someone can help me. i have pumpkin plants grwing in my garden.
They have started to sprout curly feelers if thats what they are called.
Are they needed? can I pluck them off? they are starting to attatch to my
other plants in the garden. thanks.
The "curly feelers" are tendrils (I love your description). Like its
distant relative the wild cucumber, the pumpkin loves to climb trellises
and trees, if given a chance. The tendrils help it to get a "foothold."
The tendrils should not prove harmful to the other plants in your garden,
if these plants are sturdy enough. On level ground, attachment to other
plants will just help the vine to anchor itself. Pumpkin vines may also
send out little roots along the length of the vine where it touches bare
[Subtract two thousand and (one plus two), plus the "." of course.]
Do not pluck the feelers off. Those are secondary root systems. When
the vine is laying on the ground those feelers will bring nutrients
directly into the vine. They also help anchor the plant, without them
you can end up with a shredded plant the next time a big wind blows.
You should gently unwind them from the other plants and lay the vine
on the ground.
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It sounds to me like the person asking the initial question was referring to
the tendrils, not the secondary roots. The tendrils (IIRC) are a modified
leaf (or is that a modified stem? I forget which) that reacts to shade by
growing toward it, thus wrapping itself around anything it touches because
the point where it touches blocks off the light.
Roots are good. Leave them alone.
If tendrils wrap around other plants and threaten them, remove the tendrils.
I usually unwrap them but if there were too many to do this with, would
probably nip them off with a knife or garden shears.
Zone 5b (Detroit, MI)
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