My zucchini and yellow squash have not been doing well in the last few week
s and now I think I know why. I am pretty sure it is a stem borer problem.
The bottom of the stem at ground level is split right up the middle. I am o
ff to google for more information but I would much rather hear from my fell
ow gardeners about your experiences and knowledge.
What do I do? I expect to pull everything out asap. I do have time to re pl
ant for this season if I do it quickly but what do I do to the ground? Is t
his in anyway related to squash bugs that can be treated with Seven Dust? T
hanks for any help.
Sevin is a wide spectrum insecticide that will kill you pollinators, and
won't do you any good either.
This product is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or
residues on plants.
Carbaryl is a cholinesterase inhibitor and is toxic to humans. It is
classified as a likely human carcinogen by the United States
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.)
Put in some bird baths, or feeders near garden.
That does not sound like borers to me. Borers make a little hole in the
stem. You can cut them out if you slice parallel to the stem from the
hole towards the roots and the plant will recover.
Sevin is actually a good choice iff you really have an insect problem,
but keep it away from the flowers.
What does the new growth at the ends look like? Is it healthy, or
twisted and yellow?
On Tuesday, July 2, 2013 1:27:39 PM UTC-4, zxcvbob wrote:
Twisted and yellow and split right up the middle. I pulled everything out.
I tilled the space where the plants were and did see an actual bug.(I till
by hand with a 3 prong hand tool) I did see one bug. I did not see anythi
ng that seemed like eggs and the plants are now 1/2 a mile down the road. I
have started new seeds in grow pods so the new plants will not be going in
the ground for a few days. Should I spray some Sevin on the ground or does
that only work on foliage? There have been several bees around but they ar
e not honey bees. Does that matter?
Split stems (a clean split up one side of the stem, between the seed leaves and the ground)
is a physiological problem, possibly connected to wildly fluctuating temperatures, rainfall
and (most particularly) gusting winds.
Unless it weakens the plant enough that they wilt or seem stunted, the best thing to do is
to let the split stem callous and then carefully heap up soil around the base of the plant to
Squash vine borers are the caterpillars of a clear-winged moth. The moth is red and black
and mimics a wasp when it flies. It is active in mid-day, flying from plant to plant to lay
one or more small, disc-shaped eggs near the base of the squash stems or on large leaf
petioles or running stems that are laying on the ground.
The borers are only vulnerable to pesticides before they burrow into the stem. My technique
(when I was younger) was to inspect the plants carefully for eggs and remove them. But
in more recent years, I've been mainly relying on spraying the base of the plants with a
mix of light oil and pyrethrum in the evenings. I've alternated that with spinosad. The aim
is to kill the eggs or recently emerged caterpillars before they bore into the stem. (It also
has the additional benefit of helping to control cucumber beetles.)
I also do my best to kill any moths I spot.
If the borers do make their way into the stem, you will see a wet mass of material (frass)
at some point on the stem. You can either slit the stem to remove the borer and then bury
the cut stem (never had good luck with that) or use a fine wire with a hook at the end to fish
them out (this I've been able to do) or use a large-bore syringe to inject Bt solution into the
stem where the borer is (also worked for me). Veterinary syringes are what you should
look for if you take this approach.
Bush-type summer squash are the least tolerant of borers, as unlike runner squash, they
can't reroot at intervals along the stem. Running butternut and cushaw winter squashes are
the most tolerant of borers, because in addition to being able to reroot as they run they
have solid stems which less likely to be completely destroyed by borers.
There is a vining summer squash called "Tatume" that has solid stems and
is not bothered by borers.
One vine can totally take over your garden; they branch out, and each
branch can run 15 or 20 feet. I haven't grown them in a few years, I
may plant them again next year.
On Wednesday, July 3, 2013 7:55:02 AM UTC-4, Pat Kiewicz wrote:
These plants were subject to a unusual amount of rain ( along with irrigation) and a whole lot of wind. They had no new growth coming and were quite yellow. Also some of the leaves had been eaten in a lace like manner. Not sure if that is related.
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