I've planted a winter squash this year called Lakota. The vines are
very productive and healthy looking, but every fruit turns yellow and
withers shortly after the blossom withers. Help! Is this a nutrient
problem? Everything else in the garden is healthy. There are plenty of
insects visiting the blossoms (and plenty of simultaneous male
blossoms) so I don't think it's a pollination problem. At this point I
wonder if I'll have any mature squashes.
Our summer so far (N MD) has been fairly wet, with about average
warmth. Any tips appreciated!
I would bet that it is a pollination problem in spite of evidence to
Go out in the morning on a day when rain hasn't washed away the
pollen. Pluck a male flower, remove the petals, and use the
resulting "paint brush" to pollinate a couple of fresh female
flowers. If those flowers produce a squash, you'll know the bees
haven't been doing their job.
If I'm right about the pollination, the problem will probably solve
itself after the weather gets a little warmer and dryer.
Orin Hargraves wrote:
I agree with Steve. I have grown Lakota and its usually a pretty trouble free
squash. There are two reasons for the young squash to be aborted. One is lack
of pollination. Check to make sure that honeybees, bumble bees, carpenter bees
, or native squash bees are working. The other is stress on the plant. If you
have bees and the plants are healthy then the squash should set as soon as the
weather conditions are right for the plant. If you don't have bees or there is
an abundance of other preferable flowers than hand pollination is the last
Thank you both for responding. I hand-pollinated a few females
(squeamishly, as I felt I was forcing sex on them), and by
coincidence, honeybees have now appeared in abundance, and fruits are
maturing. So you're both right. Whatever insects were visiting before
were just not doing the job I guess. Thanks again.
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