Can/should I repair a damaged spot on the vine

plantslayer(8)July 26, 2010

I noticed my pumpkin/kabocha plants have a spot on the main runner that is damaged. I dont THINK it was a squash borer, because this spot appeared right were the plant contacted the rough and sharp edge of a stone which makes the outside of the raised bed the squash is planted in. Also, chickens harassed the bed recently, and they dug beds into the soil nearby, pushing the plant around, tearing up a few leaves, etc.; they might have just stepped on it with their claws or pecked it or something. So I think it's just simply physical damage of one kind of another.

Anyway, would it be a good idea to put some gaffer's tape or something on the damaged spot? Is there any way I can be 100% sure it's not a squash borer?

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susancol(7 Atlanta)

If you want to be 100% sure it's not borer, you could take a knife and carefully slit the stem open to check. Either way, I would bury the damaged part of the stem so that it doesn't dry out and it will potentially form additional roots in that area. The danger of SVB and other damage to the stem is that water will be unable to be delivered from the roots to the end of the vine through the damaged stem. If you can encourage more roots to form further down the vine or near the site of the damage, water will have a clear path of delivery again. That is why many of the vine type squash are considered somewhat "resistent" to SVB, because they form roots at node sites, so even though a plant may be damaged by SVB, the plant doesn't die because the additional node roots keep the water flowing to the plant. Other squash are resistent because their vine is solid rather than hollow, and therefore a more difficult evironment for the SVB to settle into.

Best of Luck!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 8:25AM
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Thank you for the advice, Susan. Unfortunately for me, my squash are planted in a raised bed made from brick and rocks cemented together (I rent, so I sort of inherited this from a previous tenant). I am pretty sure there is enough soil to support the plants root system and all that, but the leader vine is protruding fairly far outside of the bed now onto the lawn, so I don't think I can bury it. If I can't use soil to protect the injured spot, do you think gaffer tape might help it out? I don't think the damage is too bad, but if I can protect it more and keep it from loosing moisture that I'd like to do that. Right now it seems to have scabbed over a bit, the damaged spots are kind of black (maybe stained by the soil the chickens kicked onto the plant).

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 3:31PM
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susancol(7 Atlanta)

If your plant is still ok by now, then you probably don't need to do anything. My concern with the gaffer tape is that it may keep in too much moisture and lead to rot. Maybe wrapping with something like pantyhose, would allow for some moisture retention, protect from additional damage and allow drying out some of the time, to prevent a rot issue.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 12:29PM
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I think you are right about not needing anything; it seems to have scabbed over fairly well.

The chickens attacked again yesterday and scratched out the dirt around the roots near the stem of a couple of my plants... I re-buried the stems under even more dirt and am hoping they did not suffer serious root damage. According to my neighbor, his chickens (which I previously did not mind having in my yard) will be shut into their pen from now on since they are running around all over the place.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 1:40PM
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susancol(7 Atlanta)

Wow! How were you to know there were kami-kaze squash hating chickens running about? I'm sure we'll all sleep better at night knowing they'll be locked up from now on!


    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 12:52PM
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