Newly Registered
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:57 pm
Location: Leesburg, VA

Can Butternut Squash get Mosaic?

It looks like my squash is getting diseased. I'm totally bummed. I had beautiful butternut squash last year (though squash bugs were a problem towards the end of the season). This year, I've got problems almost immediately. Does this look like squash mosaic? The leaves are brittle. Or could this be the squash bugs back early this year?

p.s. we've had a LOT of rain. could that have something to do with it?

The Helpful Gardener
Posts: 7491
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Could definitely be fungal; cool and rainy is fungus bread and butter...

Looks like there is a LOT of wood in your mix...or is that mulch? Either way, wood is high carbon which is fungal food, not an optimal mulch for plants that like a more bacterial soil (most veggies). Plus a lot of wood in the soil can cause nitrogen lock-up as the fungii and bacteria necessary to break down wood tie up nitrogen (as proteins). Other nutrients can be tied up as well, and acidic pH's can put some nutrients out of reach, causing [url=]nutrient deficiencies like magnesium or calcium[/url] I don't use wood around the veggies because of this and tend to use compost as mulch to improve the soil at the same time... I suspect you need a soil test as soon as possible, but that won't help for the moment....

I'd water with milk and water, 1 to ten, with two tablespoons per gallon of epsom salts and a table spoon of fish hydrolysate (NOT the day the MIL is coming over or the wife gets ripped:o , because there is a little smell, but it is gone the next day). Get the foliage good when you do. This addresses a number of issues, including soil biology, nutrient deficiencies (of sulfur, calcium and magnesium anyway) and as the germ that sours milk is antifungal in Nature, we are going low level fungicide as well. I had a touch of magnesium deficiency in one of my tomatoes and epsom salts worked wonders (also helps plants uptake calcium, which can be an issue for tomatoes for instance...) But get the soil test. If your soil is not right, then nothing is right...


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Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:57 pm
Location: Leesburg, VA

Yeah, I just mulched too. About one to two inches of mulch on top of weed stop netting. I got sick of pulling weeds last year, so this year I figured I'd try to be proactive with stopping the weeds.

It has a layer of compost 4 to 6 inches deep underneath the mulch/netting throughout the garden.

Just to give you an idea of the type of garden, here's a link to some pics of the garden from last year:


This year, I've moved everything around, except the lettuce, which I want to keep in the shaded area. The squash and cucumbers were along the back fence last year. This year, I've moved them to the right side of the garden where the tomatoes, beans, and egg plant were growing.

I've always heard that if you have a virus in the plant (like mosaic) the only thing to do is rip out the infected plants ASAP). But, you're saying the milk might help right? I don't want the infection (if that's what it is) to spread. Does it matter what type of milk I use?

Do you think I should rip out the mulch around the other plants that aren't showing issues yet?

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Earl K
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Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:44 pm
Location: Melbourne ,Fl.

BikerDave, Nice layout of the garden.Wish I had that much room.Those squash pics of your boy holding are unbelieveable=HUGE.How did they taste?

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Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:57 pm
Location: Leesburg, VA

The zucchini tasted great. I expected it to not be very good as I let them get too big, but they were still very good. I would slice them and cook them on the grill with olive oil and a little salt and cumin. The yellow squash was not as great because the seeds were so large. After these first ones I made an effort to pick them when they were smaller. Hopefully I get a great batch this year as well. If I have to start over with all new plants, that will be sad.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

I wouldn't rip the plants out now, not without giving the "booster" Scott recommends a chance to work.

Collect the sample(s) for the soil test before adding the booster. While the soil test results are pending, the plants can start absorbing their mineral and low-level anti-fungal support.

Many conditions begin by yellowing the edges of the leaves; if this is simply a mineral deficiency, it would be a shame to have pulled the plants. :(

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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