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Francis Barnswallow
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To remove or not remove squash plant

My squash plant is in bad shape. The leaves look like they were shot with a shot gun blast and I've noticed white maggot looking critters in the plant itself. I seek and squish them but they keep coming back....just like the leaf miners. Every time the plant starts to grow a squash it gets destroyed by borers.

So should I give up and remove the squash plant, or let it just exist as a food source for worms?

Also if I remove the plant, will these borers go after my tomato plants?

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applestar
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This seems to be a bad year for Squash Vine Borers. I don't believe they go after tomatoes though.

Most of my susceptible squash and pumpkin were hit hard, but some of them that had good growth on them already had touched down and set roots farther along the vines. Even after I'd thoroughly destroyed the infested basal vines, the Yellow Crookneck squash, Pattypan squash, and Delicata continued to grow, somehow escape further attention from the SVB's and produce some, albeit considerably reduced and small, harvest.

With the Yellow Crooknecks, I tried protecting the healthy cut vine ends by wrapping with aluminum foil and laying aluminum foil mulch around the plant. I read that somewhere -- maybe here -- sounded strange but I figured I had nothing to lose.... :wink:

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Avonnow
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Squash

Hi, I have to say - as I live closer to you, this has been a horrible year for them squash plants. I like you, when the plant looks horrible - usually rip it out. But I have also tried cutting them back and believe it or not some had side shoot come up and then produced. But I have gotten hardly any squash or zucc out of the literally dozens of plants I have tried. I have gotten butternut squash about 6 -8, but usually one or two at a time. I go out every morning and pick all the worms I see, and use the BT (get it at ACE about $3.99 a can) it helps alittle but you have to do it all the time. I now have about 14 squash and zucc growing pretty well (the plants look nice), they are starting to get flowers - I am hoping the cooler weather will be better on the crop. If not I am not sure what I will do as I have tried about ever variety out there. I have Acorn, Butternut and Argonaut squash growing for winter and they again look alright, it is when they get the flowers going that the worms seem to appear and devour the entire plant in a night. Maybe someone will have better instructions for us. Godo luck, but if it looks liek a lost cause I would get rid of it.
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garden5
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If you do a forum search for "SVB" or "squash vine borer" you should find a lot of good info.

I'd say that if the plant is yellow and dead looking, pull it out.

If it looks like it's still living, leave it and see what happens.
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Francis Barnswallow
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It was filled with borers. I dug it out. These borers hit my cucumbers as well by destroying the new blossoms and then the stems.

Is there any screen available with tiny holes that block moths from entering the garden to begin with?

garden5
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What you are describing is called floating row cover. Basically, what you do is take some PVC pipe and bend it over the rows to form an arc, then you take the cover and lay it over the pipe, to form a tunnel over the plants.

The row covers is just a light, thin fabric. You could probably go to a fabric store and get some good ideas.

The only downside is if the adults emerge under the covers :shock:.
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The Helpful Gardener
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Nematodes do a number on vine borer and larvae; some inject them in solution into the entry holes for control. They will certainly help knock down soil borne populations.

Row covers will certainly help, but not foolproof (as noted).

I try not to dig or pull plants but cut at the surface and leave the roots; these act as a vertically aligned soil amendment that next years roots really appreciate. And as AN noted, sometimes they surprise you.

HG
Scott Reil

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