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Why are my zuke and cuke stems splitting?

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Newbie_gardener  Send Newbie_gardener a private message!


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Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 10:48 am EST :   Last Buddysize PhotosCopy highlighted text to new message Print Post

The stems on my cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash are all splitting. Is this a bad thing? Why are they doing this? What did I do wrong?

So far the plants themselves still look OK....

Newbie_gardener - WI, Zone "5a"
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Greg  Send Greg a private message!



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Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 11:11 am EST :   Last Buddysize PhotosCopy highlighted text to new message Print Post

Squash and cucumber stems do tend to split very easily, sometimes just from the weight. However, I would check to see if you have other diseases or pests that may be responsible.

Gummy stem blight is one of them. It is a fungus that causes black like cankers to form on the stems and they can split.

Here's a picture

http://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheets/Graphics/cucurbdis/gummy.htm

Another common problem with cukes and squash is the Squash Vine Borer. If you notice sawdust like pilings near the stems, it may be you have the SVB larvae inside your stems. This often causes stems to be prone to splitting. It is difficult to stop them once they've started. If you notice holes or sawdust like stuff near the stems, you can carefully slit it open with a razor blade lengthwise and try to remove the larvae. Then bury the damaged stems. Hopefully the plant will survive. If you have borers and they are left to continue chewing away, the plant will die.

Here's some information about them.

http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef314.asp
http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2153.html

It could be just split on their own. If you determine there are no pests or diseases, I would still bury the damaged parts in the soil. The vines should produce new roots to help the plant survive.

Greg - ND, Zone "4"

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