Squash Wilt Symptoms
The symptoms of a squash wilt are not very obvious but they do occur. They include:
1) Dark green leaves turn yellowish or brownish-black.
2) Leaves become brittle and fall off.
3) Fruit begins to drop from the plant.
4) The plant dies back completely, and may die if left alone too long.
5) A few small black spots appear on the surface of the skin.
Symptoms Of Squash Wilt On Vine
When a vine starts to wilt, it will eventually stop growing and die. When a vine stops growing, its leaves will start turning yellowish-brown or black. Eventually the whole plant will die back.
What Causes Squash Wilt?
There are many things that cause a plant to wilt. Some of them include:
Too much water (too little nutrients) – Too much water causes the roots to rot and die. If there is too little moisture, the plant will die back even when watered regularly. Watering too often can make the problem worse because it makes the soil dry out faster than usual.
Not enough sunlight – Most plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. If they do not get this, they will start to wilt.
Too much sunlight – Very tall plants can be damaged by strong wind and sunburn. Also too much exposure to the sun can cause leaves to discolor or burn.
Diseases – Viruses, mold, fungus and other problems can cause color changes, wilting, or death in any plant.
Transplanting – A plant can be damaged by being moved to a different location. It can take several weeks before it starts growing new leaves.
Over-watering – This will cause the soil to stay wet for too long and the roots to rot.
Under-watering – If a plant does not get enough water, it will wilt. Wilting causes the leaves to droop downwards.
Wilting From Low-Quality Soil – Some types of soil contain low levels of phosphorus. This will cause the plant to wilt and eventually die.
Lack Of Air – If a plant does not get enough air, the roots will not be able to get the oxygen they need. This causes them to rot and die.
Wilting From Incompatible Plants – Some plants need more water than others. They should not be planted in the same area or container.
How To Prevent Wilt
The best way to prevent wilting is to make sure the plant has the right type of soil, enough sunlight and is planted in an area that has good air flow. You can also try one or more of these tips:
1) Cut back on watering.
Wilting is often a sign that the plant needs water. However, if the problem is due to incompatible plants, cutting back on watering will only make it worse.
2) Add more organic matter to the soil.
This will help improve the water retention, especially in clay soils.
3) Increase air flow around the plants.
This can be done by removing other plants, mulch or any other material that is trapping in the air or blocking the wind.
4) Plant compatible plants together.
Do not put a plant that needs a lot of water in the same area as one that doesn’t need much water.
5) Move the plant to an area that gets more sunlight.
6) Increase the humidity around the plant.
You can do this by placing a shallow pan filled with water near the plant. More humidity means less chance of desiccation.
7) Check for any insects or other pests that may be causing damage to the plant.
Wilting Is A Symptom Of A Larger Problem
Wilting is often a symptom of a larger problem, such as too much water or not enough air. It can also be caused by one plant receiving more sunlight than the others, or one type of plant needing more nutrients than another.
As with most problems in gardening, prevention is much easier (and less expensive) than cure.
Wilting Pictures 1 -2
This pictures shows two different cases of wilting plants. The plant on the left is suffering from lack of water, while the plant on the right is wilting due to overcrowding.
In the case of the plant on the left, you can see that the soil has contracted and has formed a solid crust. There is very little moisture in the soil and the roots are not able to take up any water.
In the case of the plant on the right, the soil is still moist and the roots are still growing. This shows that the plant just needs more room to grow and isn’t suffering from lack of water.
Compare Your Plants To The Pictures
Always remember that plants wilt for a reason. Don’t just focus on one possible cause (such as wilting due to lack of water). Instead, look for other clues to determine the real problem.
Wilting is a common problem for most gardeners. By following the tips above, you should be able to stop your plants from wilting and improve the quality of your garden.
Wilting Pictures 3
The above picture shows a plant that is wilting due to lack of air. The soil is dry, but there is no danger of the plant suffering from lack of water. The leaves are curling under, which means that there isn’t enough air around the base of the plant.
You can prevent this by using a thicker layer of mulch, or by removing some of the mulch to allow for more air flow.
Wilting Pictures 4
This last picture shows a plant that is wilting due to too much water. The soil in the pot is still moist, but the leaves of the plant are laying down on the soil, which means that there is too much water in the soil.
You can prevent this by using a bigger pot, or by letting some of the water drain out of the current pot every day. Be sure to use drainage holes.
Sources & references used in this article:
Modification of chilling susceptibility in seedlings of cucumber and zucchini squash by the bioregulator paclobutrazol (PP333) by CY Wang – Scientia horticulturae, 1985 – Elsevier
Insect pests of cucurbit crops in Indiana by GE Gould – Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science, 1943 – journals.iupui.edu
Effect of insect exclusion on the incidence of yellow vine disease and of the associated bacterium in squash by B Bextine, A Wayadande, BD Bruton, SD Pair… – Plant …, 2001 – Am Phytopath Society
Xylem transport interruption by Anasa tristis feeding causes Cucurbita pepo to wilt by JJ Neal – Entomologia experimentalis et applicata, 1993 – Wiley Online Library
Pests of cucurbit crops: marrow, pumpkin, squash, melon and cucumber by A York – Vegetable crop pests, 1992 – Springer
Overwintering squash bugs harbor and transmit the causal agent of cucurbit yellow vine disease by SD Pair, BD Bruton, F Mitchell, J Fletcher… – Journal of economic …, 2004 – academic.oup.com
Trials with DDT on Potatoes, Cabbage, and Squash by WN Bruce, OE Tauber – Journal of Economic Entomology, 1945 – academic.oup.com
Methyl bromide alternatives in a bell pepper–squash rotation by TM Webster, AS Csinos, AW Johnson, CC Dowler… – Crop Protection, 2001 – Elsevier