I planted a couple of zuchinni plants this spring and they were
producing nicely. Then, within a couple of days, they were dead. I've
heard of a borer that might cause that but how can I tell if that's
what happened and how can I prevent the damage next year?
I've removed 5 - 6 of the little buggers. Look around the stem close to
the soil. If you have squash bore there will be a small hole then along
the stem there will be what looks like chewed up stem. It's hard to
explain the chewed up stuff so if I get a chance, I will post a pic on
alt.binaries.pictures.gardens. Take a sharp knife and carefully slit
from the hole until you find the bore. It will be white with a dark
brown head. Grab that critter out of there, toss it on the ground, and
stomp it until you get rid of any anger you might have ;) Then
carefully cover the cut on the vine with damp soil. Keep an eye out for
any more. To prevent the squash bore next year I'm considering a mesh
cover for that raised bed. It would prevent the moth from landing to
lay the eggs that become the larva that causes the problem. I've used
fine mesh to successfully combat birds from eating sunflower seeds - I
only want seeds from one flower for next year. The birds can have the
rest. I've used fine mesh successfully on cabbage to prevent cabbage
worm too. I'm figuring the mesh will work good to prevent the squash bore.
A second possibility is mildew (?). The leaves get a powdery mildew on
them and if the infection is bad enough it will kill the plant. Signs
of this are yellowing leaves and visible greyish mildew.
the stuff looks like wet sawdust. When slicing the vine, go up the vine
from the hole. I don't particularly like to wade through these huge
plants, stepping onto loose compost, and the borer is small compared to
the vine, and it is difficult to fish out unless you catch it as soon
as it has entered. I think the best defense is to have a mesh tent up
until the 4th of July. Two things: the zucchini will still get a later
generation of borers, but they will die a month later, early september
instead of early august. Second, the young zucchini plant can not push
successfully against the cloth, so the tent should be high enough to
allow the plant to grow. It only takes three weeks of protection to
miss the first generation.
Crop rotation will help. Water from the bottom and spray liquid sevin on
the vines every few days in the spring will help. Be sure and not get any
spray on your blooms or you will kill the good pollinators that are visiting
your garden. Then you have to watch out for squash bugs. Nothing I know
of will kill the adults, but sevin will get the eggs, but you have to get
both the tops and bottoms of the leaves. Get on the internet and type in
squash bug killer and read what the colleges say about how to do it and what
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