zucchini plants and squash dying help!

mikechmiJuly 23, 2007

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum (and gardening) and was hoping I could get some help. I've got 6 8-ball zucchini plants and 1 normal zucchini plant that were doing pretty well. Though there stems (right above where they attached to the ground looked a little odd). Anyway things were fine until a few days ago when we had a very large rain. All of my zucchini plants are either now dead or near death. Their stems appear to have rotted through. Other vegetables in my garden are fine, so it's not a matter of flooding. I've done some searching and it appears that there are some fungus that may do this. In addition, on of my buttercup squash also died and the others appear to be at the initial stages of whatever it is.

I was wondering A) what this may be, is it indeed a fungus and which one B) what I can do about it, either now or in the future B) if my summer and winter squash could be come infected and if so what can I do about it.

Also what I read online indicated that it might be a fungus that stays in the soil for 3-4 years. If that's true I'm assuming it means no zucchini for me for some time, would this be correct?

At this stage I'm pretty concerned for the rest of my squash plants as they are the majority of whats in my garden, so any way to ensure they don't get this (help keep them alive) would be great!

I've posted photos of the zucchini plants, the stem of one I pulled up, and the stem of the squash plant here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikechmi/



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Holy canoli! Did you notice any frass? Check out this link and the pictures at the bottom of the page:

I just went through this. I had to pull one of my plants out--it was completely gone. The other one I caught just in time--I documented the process here:

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 7:43PM
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Yes!! Thank you that looked like it so I grabbed my knife and cut open one of the plants that was pretty much dead and sure enough inside were those vile little worms running around. I'll have to hit the store tomorrow and grab some BT. My zucchini are beyond help but perhaps I can save the other various squashes I have.

Thanks again!!! I was completely barking up the wrong tree and wouldn't have had a clue. If nothing else at least I can be prepared for next year.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 8:20PM
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No doubt in my mind Mike, Squash Vine Borers have devastated your plants.

Take a sharp knife and slit the stem lengthwise on up beyond the visable damage and you will probably find a bunch of the dam grubs that look like .

There may be many more than one. There may be some in the stems of the leaves also, check those out. BE SURE AND DESTROY THOSE SUCKERS! !
Bill P.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 8:21PM
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greenthumbintraining(7a DFW)

Oh my goodness! That looks like something out of a horror movie. Yikes! Sorry about your loss :(

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 9:06PM
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I feel your pain. I had to rip out all my squash and zucchini about a week ago. A couple of weeks of rainy weather and I had mildew, fungus and SVB. My plants went from healthy to a worm ridden, fungal mess practically overnight.

I like squash, but I had more problems with squash plants than anything else in my garden this year.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 10:16PM
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Thanks Bill, they are indeed those nasty little buggers in there. The plants that died and I had already pulled I threw in a couple garbage bags and will be tossing them (didn't want whatever I had to infect anything else) so they should be going to to dump. I killed all I found in the plant that I cut open. My zucchini are a total loss but perhaps I can save the other squash yet. I'm going to try and find some BT and inject like shroedinger did and if that doesn't work I'm going to try to cut a slit in them and kill them by hand (if nothing else I'll at least get some revenge)

Thanks greenthumbintraining and lisalu, they are indeed nasty and it is a bit annoying to loose all my plants to those things. Especially since the 8 ball zucchini were so unbelievably good, I liked them much better than regular zucchini. I thought I was going to happily be eating zucchini and squash all summer. At least I know what to look for know, even if they may be beyond help.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 10:32PM
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There are some squash that are resistant to the SVB and that is my solution this year.

Butternut c moschata is resistant and those in the same family. I am pretty sure that costa romanesco c pepo and trombocino c moschata are resistant. all c moschata are resistant.

I think Maxima are hit the hardest.

All the seed catalogs sing the praises of the Zucchini and then the SVB kills them all. So big deal. I am trying out 6 varieties unfortunately I got the seeds and plants mixed up so I am not sure what is what. But some are dead and some are doing ok.

so far in my garden the costata romanesca from Fedco seeds has no problems with SVB or anything else. Growing like gangbusters with many squash on the plant. dont know how they say this is lower yield. But then I am letting them grow bigger.

lots of other vines are dead from SVB already. so this is good sign for costata romanesca. I expect to chop down the CR plants as they are too close to my tomatoes. but not just yet. I want to get some squash first. they grow big and fast. This one is a keeper in my garden. Growing faster and more vigor than any of the other squash or plants for that matter. This is king of the growers.

Here is a link that might be useful: costata romanesca

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 12:40AM
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In my area, (central New York), the critter that lays
the eggs on the zukes, stops laying eggs after
June 17th, (or so I've read). I plant my zuke seeds
around June 10th and don't seem to have this problem

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 8:23AM
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I put floating row cover over the squash as soon as it is planted and take it off around July 1st when squash borer is no longer a problem. So far, so good. That also takes care of squash bugs and anything else that feels zucchini is a meal for them instead of me. Picked my first zuke last week. Seeds were planted May 28th.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 10:05AM
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phloyd(7 (MD))

When do the moths stop laying eggs in Zone 7 (MD)?


    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 11:45AM
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iacche(z6 Eastern PA)

I've read several places now that you can inject Bt into the stems, but where in the world do you get a needle to do this?

I went to a local pharmacy and asked for one and they said you needed a prescription to get one. I asked if there was anything similar I could get and they looked at me like I was a drug addict. I considered saying I only needed it to inject Bt into my kabocha squashes, but feared they'd call a guard if I did, so I just left.

What kind of needle do I use for this and where can I get one?

I swear, it's just for the kabochas, not for me.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 6:47PM
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Would an insulin syringe work, or would that be too small? You can get those without a prescription. Or at least I've always been able to. And it wasn't for me. It was for my cat.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 7:07PM
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iacche(z6 Eastern PA)

The pharmacy I went to said all syringes were behind the counter and I'd need a prescription for it. Perhaps different states have different rules?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 8:31PM
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I am very new to gardening and this forum so please excuse me if this is a dumb question, but what is "BT". I have just discovered that I have this squash vine borer and decided to look on this site for a solution, but am not familiar with "BT". Thank you for your help!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 6:14AM
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I reported an important ERROR. I said

>>so far in my garden the costata romanesca from Fedco seeds has no problems with SVB or anything else. >>

Today, I looked closer at the stems and they are being eaten out by SVB. I pulled a plant and sure enough it was full of them. So I tried some more and they are getting their butt kicked. Just a little later than some other squash probably because they are such strong growers.

Anyway I harvested some Costa Romanesca this morning. Beautiful squash. Unfortunately they are C Pepo and pepo are attacked in general by the SVB. The C moschata like the butternut are just fine.

Last year I did have some c pepo make it. they were Connecticut Field pumpkins. Very strong growers. This year I wanted a bigger pumpkin and tried Big Max, a c maxima, and they did not make it for various reasons.

Anyway, I had to come here immediately and report the sad news that costata romanesca does not pass the SVB test.

last year with the regular Zucchini, I had an average of 2 squash to pick before they died. This year I have the same average but the squash are larger. One plant of Costata R might be OK this year. It still looks good. But next week who knows.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 7:21AM
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iacche(z6 Eastern PA)

winchesterva, Bt is Bacillus Thuringiensis. It's a natural insecticide, a bacterium that kills various caterpillars and similar pests when ingested by them. There's a link below about it.

koreyk, sorry about your Costatas. I have one young plant coming along -- about a month old now. I've found a couple SVB eggs on it and crushed them. The plant's still small enough that I can do careful inspections. So far no sign of infestation. It's the first time I've planted Costata Romanesca, so I really want it to survive. I've heard such wonderful things about the squash.

My next question is: Is there any way of safely getting BT into the plants without injecting it? Could I make a small slice in the stem and put some in with an eyedropper, then wrap the stem up and cover it with dirt, as when removing a SVB? Would I be able to get enough BT into the plant that way to have the proper effect?

Here is a link that might be useful: Information about Bt

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 8:40AM
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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

In my area, (central New York), the critter that lays
the eggs on the zukes, stops laying eggs after
June 17th, (or so I've read). I plant my zuke seeds
around June 10th and don't seem to have this problem

Ummm, I don't know about that... I killed two SVB moths last week... and a third one flew off after being blasted by a hard stream from the pump sprayer... all 3 were within about 15 minutes timeframe.

If I sit in a chair in front of my garage, maybe 10ft from my pumpkin plant, I usually see one land somewhere between noon and 2pm. I have the pump sprayer ready. I sneak up on them, getting as closer as I can, blast them, they fly off to another leaf, blast them, try to knock them out, then find a way thru all the 2ft tall leaves & vines and look for them before they gain their senses and step on them and grind them into the ground...phew, sorry for being so violently decriptive! lol. ...but I've had some still moving after stepping on them in grass & weeds... you really need to give that "firmly planted ball of the foot twisting motion", 3 or 4 times! lol.

You can also whack them with a flyswatter, but be prepared to do it more than once!


    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 1:21PM
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fishymamas(z9, So. CA)

For a syringe "alternative" go get one of those cheap ink refill kits, and use the syringe out of that (big box stores carry them) to inject your plants.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 2:21PM
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iacche(z6 Eastern PA)

A butterfly net also works well when you're trying to kill the moths. But those moths are fast things and they are hard to sneak up on.

I've read that sometimes they can be caught early in the morning when it's cooler. Apparently they sometimes sit on the stems near the base of the plant waiting for the warmer part of the day. On a cool morning they'll be sluggish and easier to catch. That said, I've never seen any doing this, but then I just read about it last week, so I haven't had much of a chance to check the theory yet.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 4:51PM
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porkster(z9 FL)

You can get all different size of syringes and needles etc, at Tractor Supply - no prescription needed.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 8:17AM
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I'm pretty sure this is my why zucchini is dying. I plan to pull it out and replant, since it's still early (tho I am in TX and it's already in the 90s everyday). My question...do I need to get rid of the soil in my pot too?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 4:22PM
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If I hadn't come across this website, I would have lost all my Zucchini. I kept noticing that my blooms were being eaten and the stem was dying. I found tomato hornworms on my tomato plants, so I assumed they were the corporate because something also ate the leaves and baby bell peppers off the plants. I had a good hard rain the other say and BOOM! Dead zucchini. I am going out and yanking dead plants and removing dead leaves and stems. Thank you very much for all the info.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 5:09PM
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Hi, i had to pull all my zuchinni and summer squash plants yesterday. I noticed the frass on some of them, to where it was almost cut in two. I also noticed the roots on the plants had these ball like things like a pearl necklace. Some were huge clumps. Since I live in central Florida I am wondering if it's the humidity or the soil. I know I have alot of potassium from the sand in the soil, but I added garden soil and manure and blood meal before planting, The plants started out great, but the fruit started and then just rotted before it got any bigger. I noticed these brownish red milipedes and water bugs in the dirt and used the de but the plants have never recovered. The plant itself looks great, It flowers and starts the fruit but dies, What could cause the roots to ball up like that? Is it the moth that was discussed? i know that it's getting too hot to replant here so thinking of starting them again in the fall. haven't had much luck with growing squash here. Thanks

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 7:23AM
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Root knot nematodes. Google "nematodes squash Florida" and the IFAS guides to treating come up as the first results. Other solution is to grow in containers.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 9:10AM
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