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Vine Crops Wilted and Died

Last year all my vine crops such as pumpkins, cucumbers, squash and cantaloupe wilted and died. There were no signs of insects and neither fungicide nor insecticide seemed to help.

Several insects and diseases can cause wilting and death of vine crops. Anthracnose, a fungal disease, causes irregular brown spots on the leaves. Bad infestations can cause the vines to dry up and lesions to form on the fruit.

Another fungal disease, powdery mildew, looks like someone sprinkled baby powder on the leaves. They eventually turn yellow and brown. Severe infestations usually don't kill the plant just many of the leaves. Purchase mildew resistant varieties whenever possible.

And try growing vines crops on trellises to increase air and light circulation and reduce fungal disease problems. Fungicides will help prevent infection not cure what is already diseased. If you decide to use a chemical you will need to make repeat applications of a fungicide labeled for food crops. Start as soon as the disease appears and continue throughout the season.

Bacterial wilt can cause cucumbers, muskmelons and less often pumpkins and squash to suddenly wilt and die. Remove infected plants and control the cucumber beetle that carries the disease from sick to healthy plants.

And we can't forget squash vine borer. This insect feeds inside the stems of squash and melons. As it eats its way up the stem it causes the plant to wilt. Slice lengthwise along infested stems until you find the borer. Kill the borer and bury the stem. It often re-roots, continues to grow and develop fruit. 


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