green~acres
Senior Member
Posts: 271
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:38 pm
Location: Kershaw,S.C.

The dreaded cutworms

Just as my squash plants are starting to produce, the dreaded cutworms have invaded.I have never had a problem with cutworms before.Now they have eaten 3 of my squash plants.What do I do about them?What has worked for you all? Thanks for any advice.Ya'll are always so helpful.
Have a good day. Julie

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

cutworms

If you just type cutworms into the little search box in upper left of page, you will see tons of threads where this has been discussed. Commonest answer is put collars around the plant stems so the worms can't get to them.

green~acres
Senior Member
Posts: 271
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:38 pm
Location: Kershaw,S.C.

Have any of you tried putting cornmeal around the base of plants to get rid of cutworms? Did it work?I am going to try it today.

User avatar
hendi_alex
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

Are you sure that the damage is from cut worms? They don't usually bother bigger plants. Every time that I've ever had a problem with cut worms, I just place a small, perhaps quarter inch stick, in the ground right up against the base of the stalk. Have never had a cut worm to damage a plant with such a stick in place. I think that the stick disrupts the worms habit of curling around the plant and munching. Have never seen a larger plant severed by a cut worm either, I asume for the same reason, the worm can't curl around the fat stem. Do your squash have cleanly severed stems near the ground?
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

green~acres
Senior Member
Posts: 271
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:38 pm
Location: Kershaw,S.C.

Alex, I was kinda wondering that myself. These are full grown squash plants.We lost another one last night.We pulled them up, and the stem seperates from the under ground part at the soil line.It is mushy on the inside and brownish color. Hubby went out at 3a.m. to see if he could see any worms. he said he didnt see any. but the plant was damaged this morning.It seems to be mainly the patty pan squash, so far. but some I have on the opposite side of the garden hasnt been affected.We have lost 4 plants. I believe 3 have been patty pan. 1 was yellow straightneck.Any Ideas??? I am puzzled.
Julie

User avatar
hendi_alex
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

Those are squash vine borers. The female, a large black and orange wasp, lays eggs in the stems and the borers make their way down to the crown. If you pull the crown apart, you should see probably several large white larvae eating away at the upper root/crown area. Start another planting and cover the plants with mesh until they outgrow the enclosure or start blooming and need to be pollinated. If you can keep the vine borers away from the plant until it is good sized and blooming, you will get a good sized crop in spite of the borers.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

green~acres
Senior Member
Posts: 271
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:38 pm
Location: Kershaw,S.C.

Thank you so much. Is there anything I can do to protect the rest of the healthy plants.? All the ones that have been damaged are all in the same row, right beside each other.. Julie

User avatar
hendi_alex
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

I would be surprise if all of the plants don't already have the borers working on them. I have taken a knife and done surgery on crowns to remove the larvae, but I don't think that there is anything that can be done at this point. Just keep your vines going as long as possible and try to get replacements up quickly. Be sure to cover the young ones however, or you will be right back in the same boat again. I saw a wasp activily working here the other day. My vines look very healthy for now, but am ready to get the replacements going anyway.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Are squash like pumpkins? I successfully kept vines going in the past by creating multiple root systems for each vine -- just bury some leaf nodes along the vine. Even when the main root system is severed, the vine will continue to grow from secondary root system on up. I'll be doing the same with mine later on.

green~acres
Senior Member
Posts: 271
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:38 pm
Location: Kershaw,S.C.

Thanks for the help. I am grateful. There is always something new to be learned from the help of others at this site.
Julie

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”