Morning wilt - what's causing this? (Blue Hubbard Squash)

julianna_il(z6 IL)July 7, 2007

I've got a Blue Hubbard squash that is just spectacular. It's got one nice fruit on it, and has gone crazy crawling up the lattice I put up.

A few days ago, it was all wilted. Looked like it needed some water. I thought that strange, because my entire garden is on the same schedule and everybody else was fine. But I watered it good and it perked back up.

Next morning, wilted again. I watered again, but went inside and googled. So morning wilt was normally caused by squash vine borers or some other kind of pest/disease.

Went back out and started looking for vine borer signs. Since I've never had one, I'm not 100 percent sure of what to look for, but did look at a lot of pictures. (I don't grow squash very often)

I found what I thought was damage to some stalks - they were hollow. Except a few days later I think I realized all the squash stalks and stems are naturally hollow. Yes?

So I cut off a few short stalks and I did find one small hole in the main stalk, but I sure can't find the worm, and I've never seen the adult anywhere. (And I"m very diligent, spending a good hour a day admiring my garden and beneficial bugs, frolicking with the ladybugs, and looking for baddies) I do know what they look like (from many pictures) because I think they're very pretty. (The moths, not the worms)

I did not see any sawdust stuff, really just the one hole in a stalk.

So every morning now, it's all wilted and I think it's dead. I go spray it with liquid seaweed and an hour or two later, it's fine, all perked up and beautiful.

Today I tested and did NOT spray it. It perked back up on its own and I took one last look before the sun went down - not only is it stunning again and looking healthy, I could swear the main vine has grown another few inches.

So I'm very puzzled...do I have a vine borer or don't I, and if not, what is causing this morning wilt?

This plant started out as a trap plant for cucumber beetles (that, knock on wood, haven't shown up yet), but I've fallen kind of in love with it and have been finding recipes. LOL.

Ideas, anyone?

Thanks in advance!!!

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macmex

Julianna,

A squash vine borer will usually leave only one hole in the stem. But it hollows the stem out. The stems, at the base of the plant should not be hollow. If you find this I'd recommend that you insert a thin knife blade, with the grain of the stem and cut through that hollow area, in order to kill the borer, if he's still in there. Then heap up some soil over the damaged area. Hopefully the vine will root and then continue growing.

I often heap soil over other parts of the vine, where they are touching the ground. This is a safe guard, since they grow roots and will support the plant if a borer gets the main stem.

Having said that, I'd advise that this wilt may not be due to borers. Squash bugs (gray shield shaped insects which hide under the stems and leaves and lay little red eggs on the plant) can cause a squash to wilt and even die.

Also, if you are experiencing high temperatures and/or drought, a squash may wilt during the heat of the day. If this is the cause, it will usually recover during the cool of the night and early morning.

Hope this helps!

George
Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 8:44AM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

I would bet on squash bugs and bacterial wilt. I have seen these signs (wilting in AM) and it is usually either the bugs or the SVBs. Since you can't find SVBs it is probably squash bugs. I think rotenone will do them in.
If it is SVBs kill them with a wire or sharp knife and bury the stem. Actually you can hill up the main plant and start new roots this early in the season.
There are squash that are resistant to borers, particularly butternuts.
Good Luck,
Tom

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 3:13AM
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