Pumpkin Plants Suddenly Dieing

BeccaSmith(6)July 13, 2012

I need help! Last year about late August I had a few summer squash and zucchini plants wilt and suddenly die. I looked for squash vine borers but could not find any signs of them. This year I have several pumpkin plants that wilt and suddenly die....it seems to happen quickly. I've tried cutting the vines open on the dead plants but I am unable to find any signs of squash vine borers. I'm really stumped on what could be going on. The plants are all on drip irrigation and get good regular waterings. They all look healthy and happy. I'm concerned I am going to loose all my plants as one after another seem to die. Sometimes it is just one plant out two on a hill, sometimes one dies, then the other does the same thing about a week later....the pumpkins are not all the same type and they have been in the ground since early June and are large and healthy...or so I thought. Does anyone have any ideas of what could be going on if it isn't squash vine borers? So far the summer squash and zucchini haven't had problems yet this year. Also the pumpkins are not planted anywhere near where I had the problem last year. Thank you in advance for any help given!

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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Becca, you are experiencing the heartbreak of vine crops. I wish I knew what to say to help your problem as I have experienced the same thing...perhaps a virus or the like??

Cantaloupes and watermelons can do that from wilt diseases, but squash?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:37PM
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steven1032

any pictures. could be anywhere from root rot from too much water to bacterial wilt from sqaush bugs.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:57PM
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BeccaSmith(6)

I don't have any pictures, I've been pulling the plants and putting them in the trash when they die. The one I pulled this morning had a great root system on it. I did see squash bugs and eggs....I didn't think squash bugs would kill a plant, I thought they laid their eggs on them (which I would assume they would need a live plant for this) and that the squash bugs would kill the blossoms not the plant. I'll have to look into the bacterial wilt problem from them as I have never heard of that before, still pretty new to gardening, on my4th or 5th year. Moved 2 years ago and never had the problem before!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 1:17PM
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ltilton

I'd indict the squash bugs before bacterial wilt. Unless controlled, the young nymphs suck the plants dry. Squashes are much less susceptible to b wilt than cucs and melons.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 3:22PM
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steven1032

here is a link that may help. the best guess is fusurrium wilt. try cutting into the vine to see if there is streaking. without a picture hard to tell.

Here is a link that might be useful: maybe this will help

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 4:07PM
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BeccaSmith(6)

Thanks for the link! I'll try and get pictures on the next plant that kills over! After reviewing the link and reading the descriptions of the different cucurbit leaf disorders, the Phytophthora Root Rot sounds pretty spot on! There is no discoloration in leaves what so ever and as the description statated "Symptoms may be hidden until "apparently" healthy plants collapse very quickly.....Plants often wilt and die without changing color". This describes what is happening exactly! We are using drip irrigation, which we are new to this year and our soil is very heavy clay, although we have tried to amend it the best we can. We have been watering about every other day due to the extreme heat, the drip irrigation is designed to put out about a gallon per our per plant, so perhaps we are watering to often!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 4:35PM
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BeccaSmith(6)

I didn't know that squash bugs could do that to a large plant! I try to stay on top of them, but they are just horrible to keep up with!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 6:00PM
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BeccaSmith(6)

Well I found I can take plants and bugs to my local Agricultural Extension Office after contacting them. So I was told any time M-F 9 to 5, I promptly went there since I had one of the plants with me that just died this morning only to find out they only do plant diagnostics M-W....bummer! Guess I'll have to wait for the next one and hope it is on a day they will look at it.

I started thinking some more though, I wouldn't think it would be the root rot from the new drip irrigation system that I am not that experienced with since I had this problem last year but only with the Zucchini and summer squash. I will taper back a tad on the water schedule...the 100+ degrees is gone for now, but I really wasn't watering every other day like I thought I was, I would go at least 2 days in between waterings sometimes.

If I find out anything from taking a plant in to be looked at I'll be sure to let everyone know how it goes...everyone is such a great help on here!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 9:26PM
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jbaldwin

My Pumpkin plant is suddenly dying too! I also have a drip irrigation system, so I just don't think it could be root rot. I also have squash bugs, but I keep their population under control. I dug around in the stem, carefully, and couldn't find any sort of root worm. I did find one wire worm, I've had problems with those in the past in my potatoes.
The plant suddenly wilted yesterday, I gave it an extra round of watering, and it perked up to normal last night. It got watered again this morning, and now in the heat of the day it's looking worse and worse. Could it be some kind of wilt?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 3:57PM
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BeccaSmith(6)

Hi jbaldwin! I was told my issue was the squash bugs. It is also normal for squash plants to wilt during the heat of the day and perk back up when the evening cools off, could this be what is happening?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 5:22PM
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