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End of the Season Powdery Mildew

Posted September 09, 2013

Here we are, almost at the end of the growing season and the pumpkins, gourds, squash and cucumbers galore and the vines are slowing up in growth, looking rather tattered and the older leaves are developing a white powder on them. Is this normal? Should I do something about it you might ask....Well that all depends.

The first signs of powdery mildew is the white fungal growth on the leaf and vine surface. The leaves of the plants will slowly wither and die from the disease. The lack of leaf surface will reduce the photosynthetic process which is required for continued growth. Also, without enough leaf coverage, fruits are more prone to sunburn. Even when you plant resistant varieties, late season powdery fungal growth can still affect gourds, winter and summer squash. Late summer humidity can make controlling powdery mildew difficult. We plant most of our squash rather late in the season, so if they have started to develop powdery mildew while we still have two months of fruit production, by all means, we will treat the problem before it causes the fruit production to slow up and plants to wither. If our early planted vines are slowing up on their production, and there is not any new and healthy vines nearby, we simply let nature take it course. Once the plants seem exhausted and no new production of fruits is happening, we pull the plants and make room for new fall crops.
Powdery Mildew on Pumpkin Vines

Treating powdery mildew should be done as soon as the first signs appear for the best control. Treating with a natural fungicide like tomato and vegetable fungicide, bi-carb or sulfur will do the job. Treatment may need to done weekly to get control and stop the growth of powdery mildew.

Often times you will see pumpkin fields mid September and October where the vines
Powdery Mildew on Pumpkin Vines
look all wilted and flat, but pumpkins galore all around in the field. This is the plants nature habit, even if powdery mildew never occurred. Fruit Production uses much of the plants energy and towards the end, when ripening begins, the vines become exhausted looking as if something went wrong, when in fact, all is right! After all, most pumpkins have a fairly long growing season.

Comments (1 Comment)

I always wondered why you drive by fields of pumpkins and the plants looked dead. We have had a wet year here in CT and we have been experiencing powdery mildew for over a month now. I had to treat it.

Posted by VEGGIEGUY on September 09, 2013

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watering can


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