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squash/zucchini blossom drop?

Posted by morbidan 7a (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 3, 11 at 19:54

Just wondering if there is such a thing as blossom drop for squash and zucchini? I thought they were pretty heat tolerant but the last 2 weeks they develop the female flower and maybe a day or two before opening, it turns brownish and dies before blooming. It's so disappointing watching the flower grow and then never getting the fruit! Me and my brush are anxiously awaiting to pollinate something, anything!!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: squash/zucchini blossom drop?

Sure. Blossom drop can happen with all fruiting vegetables given the right conditions. But with squash I find that lack of pollination is a more common problem. Early AM hand pollinating while the temps are still relatively cool usually resolves the problem.



RE: squash/zucchini blossom drop?

If only they would actually open. As soon as the flower bud starts to get a yellowish hue it goes limp and dies before blooming. Oh well, I hope when it cools down it'll go back to normal.

RE: squash/zucchini blossom drop?

Squash/zucchini plants produce male & female flowers. The females need the male's pollen to produce fruit. The male provides the pollen, then the flower drops off. When they first start flowering, usually all of the flowers are males. It's kind of the plant's way of making sure there is pollen available, versus having females with no pollen available. So, it may seem that ALL you flowers are dropping, but its actually just males. Female flowers are soon to follow, which then, hopefully, you'll have some bees ready to pollinate, or, as mentioned, you'll have to do it manually. A small, soft paintbrush works great. Also, you'll need to know the difference between the male flowers and female flowers.


RE: squash/zucchini blossom drop?

Heat usu not the issue, water or nutrition is.


RE: squash/zucchini blossom drop?

Thanks Joel but the difference between the two are kind of obvious so I'm not confusing male and female. Like I said before, the blooms don't open. The plants themselves are huge and gorgeous and have a lot of blooms both male and female. The male flowers are blooming everyday but the female never open up. Before the heat I was pollinating at least 2-3 squash/zucchini per week. I'm leaning towards too hot or possibly nutrition but I'm not seeing any other symptoms for lack of nutrition or water.

RE: squash/zucchini blossom drop?

Apparently it wasn't the heat, water or nutrition. I've discovered it's the pickle-worm! #@#*!$@&#@#!&#@
It is absolutely impossible to grow squash or zucchini in GA. After battling squash vine borers since July, I just can't deal with the pickle-worms, I'm too grossed out.

RE: squash/zucchini blossom drop?

I have 1 huge zuke plant which had 1 female flower that didn't get pollinated and all the male flowers are falling off. Still waiting for that 2nd female. Other 2 plants are doing well (buds on 1 and 2 fruit developing on the other).

Does a "wide-open" growing habit contribute to flowers falling off? I know they're all males anyway, but just wondering b/c the largest plant is very open in the middle and we've had a lot of rain and cool night temps lately, I hope the males don't drop off once we get some females on that plant.

And just for future reference, what's a pickle-worm?

RE: squash/zucchini blossom drop?

I don't know much about them but apparently the moth lays its eggs on blossoms and when they hatch they bore into the fruit and pretty much destroy it from the inside as the worm grows. Sometimes they bore into the fruit before the blossom even opens and you'll see the bud start to turn brown and then mushy. Eventually it will fall off and you can see a tiny hole where it went into the fruit. Nasty stuff.

Here is a link that might be useful: pickleworm pics

Pickleworms - RE: squash/zucchini blossom drop?

This thread is from last summer - but I thought I'd revive it. Does anyone have advice about dealing with pickleworms? Morbidan posted a link to pics - and here's a link to more info about their lifecycle.

I garden as organically as possible and try to use only OMRI list pesticides. Does anyone have advice on how to deal with pickleworms?

Last year I tried bagging the fruits of squash (Butternut and Spaghetti) with nylon socks (bought as a "bag" for apples to protect from another pest). This worked for a while, but then the pickleworms managed to tunnel through those too. :(

The pickleworms decimated my cucumbers, summer squash, melons, and winter squash. Help?


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