iamzvonko
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(Why) are my cucumber plants dying?

Hello,

My cucumber plants were doing great. Producing lots of cukes and looking healthy. Then a few weeks ago I noticed the leaves closest to the ground were turning yellow. It didn't seem to affect the growth of the cukes so I didn't worry about it. However, the yellowing leaves started spreading. Now most of the leaves are either yellow or dried up. The cukes have also stopped growing.

When the plants started overtaking the garden box I put in a "trellice" like setup made of plastic covered fence. It goes up about 2' and then down a slope. The plants really took off when I did that.

You can see what it looks like [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/63310786@N02/6071730414/in/photostream]here[/url] and [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/63310786@N02/6071730558/in/photostream/]here[/url].

As far as I know nothing has changed. I haven't watered any less or more than I did earlier in the summer. So what could be causing this?

Thanks in advance for any feedback

Z
You can't control what happens to you but you can control how you react to it.

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Fig3825
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Check your blossoms for cucumber beetles:

[img]https://www.vegedge.umn.edu/IMG/cukebeet.jpg[/img]

I swear this image was random, but it captures what I catch them doing all over my cucumber and squash plants!

They have decimated half of my cucumber plants. They tend to hang out inside the blossoms for whatever reason, which is why I suggest to look there first. You'll know it if you have them... Mine are trellised so it's easier to search for them than it will be for you on the ground.

This is how I'm growing mine, cucumbers on the left growing up the trellis. There are 9 individual plants on this trellis and about 4 of them are dead or dying. I sprayed the crap out of them last night with Bonide Japanese Beetle Killer. (note this is a bit older, taken 7/31 - they vines are now at the top of the trellis):
[img]https://jtnewton.com/Images/Garden/07312011001.jpg[/img]

iamzvonko
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Ha. Love the picture. Random, huh? hmmm.

Anyway, thanks for replying. I'll look around for those and see what the best way to get rid of them is. Although, I'm thinking it may be too late this year.

How did the spray work out for you?

That's quite a setup you have there. How do you get the cukes all the way at the top? With a ladder? :lol:

Just curious, what else do you have planted there besides the corn? What are those things inside the fence cylinders?

Oh, and one last question: how did you get the images embedded in the post? I thought you had to host the images somewhere else and link to them.

Thanks again!

Z
You can't control what happens to you but you can control how you react to it.

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Fig3825
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I sprayed last night, so I can't say for sure - and I sprayed a ton of plants. I sprayed 10 tomato plants, 6 squash plants, I kinda misted over the root area of the watermelon and cantaloupe plants and I sprayed my cucumber trellis. It took the entire spay bottle of juice to coat it all. I bought two bottles of different things, one has the .02% pyrethin and the other the .01% pyrethin. I used the.02% last night and hope it does the trick. I did notice a single cucumber beetle come limping out onto a leaf looking like he was moments from death. So if that's any indication, it seems to be doing what it claims to be. I'll have a better grasp when I get a chance to recheck this evening and monitor over the next couple days.

The top of the trellis sits at about 7'10" off the ground and 7' off the bed surface. Therefore, I can reach as I am just over 6' myself. They won't be able to go much higher since they have nothing to grab onto once they reach the top. I guess they'll just flop over if they continue to grow. I was toying with the idea of capping the trellis with horizontal decorative pieces so they could then travel a bit horizontally and then droop down. But I most likely won't mess with it. Still up in the air if I'll be using this land next year or building a hydro setup in my new house. :)

From left to right, in that bed, you have cucumbers, okra (caged), lima beans, peppers (caged) then the corn. The peppers are in the cages, presently but the cages have been removed from the okra. The peppers could be uncaged as well, I just haven't gotten around to it. Apparently it is giving whatever has taken a bite out of one of my corns a stool to sit upon whilst eating... I have 4 raised bed in total, you can kinda see one behind the bed in the photo. There are two more to the left. The cages are to keep varmints off my plants until they get big enough to fend for themselves. I uses chickenwire to make them initially, but thanks to waterbug, another forum contributor here, I started making them out of plastic 'poultry fence'. I make a cylinder of the fencing, zip tie it, then cut a cap and zip tie it on. I also use soil staples to hold them down and keep wind and critters from tipping them.

As for the images, I have my own domain and host. If you open the image, you are getting referred to images stored on my domain - so they are linked, just like if I was using photobucket or the like.

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rainbowgardener
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anyone can embed photos like that here. Once your photos are on photobucket or wherever you just copy the img code that is with them and paste it here. Detailed instructions are in the New to Helpful Gardener section under Helpful Tips and Suggestions for New Members. You don't have to have your own domain or any of that stuff.
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Fig3825
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Didn't see any of those little perverts this evening. I took a quick look at the cucumbers and the tomatoes. No sign of the cucumber beetles on the cucumbers and no sign of the flea beetles on the tomatoes. I'll check the squash in the morning because they like to hide down in the huge blossoms and they are open in the morning for a few hours.

garden5
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Well, I can't say what's causing your cucumbers to do what they are doings or whether or not it's normal, but I can report that mine do the same thing each year. They start out fine, then by about August, they turn yellow, scraggly, and get dried out leaves.

Now, those bugs Fig posted may have something to do with it as I remember seeing bugs that looked like them in another part of my garden earlier this year.
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Fig3825
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I've only had one other garden since I just got into it two summers ago and had to skip last year due to timing and general life stuff that was going on that kept us from spending the time to do one. So this is really only my second garden. I do recall the cucumbers (just like any vine type plant) seems to somewhat die off closer to the roots first and progress to the tips of the plants. My cucumbers, however, have been getting brown fast all along the vine. I seem to have gotten the bugs under control, for now, and it'll take some time to see if this is at the root of the problem - no pun intended. :) I still have several cucumber vines that seem to be growing like crazy at the end of the vine.

As a side note, I kinda noticed that the vines died across my trellis - as in, facing it, it started on one side and dying horizontally across it (from one plant to the next) which made me think it was the bugs spreading across the plants. It's probably not that technical when it comes to cucumber beetles as they seem to just be here and there and everywhere if left uncontrolled, but when I battled with spider mites indoors, they spread like bacteria from one side of a plant to another, and then progressively to adjacent plants.

FlowerPowerGirl
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I've seen those beetles before. Maybe that's why I can't grow cucumbers either. The leaves turn yellow.

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Fig3825
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Mine turn yellow some, but mostly they go to a dull green and then brown. It's like the life got sucked out of the plant. Also, a lot of the leaves look like the green gets eaten but the ribs are left in place like a skeleton. Most often it dies off before it gets that far. I don't find a ton of them, just here and there and in groups on the blossoms. Nothing at all like this infestation, but the damage often looks similar:

[img]https://www.valleyadvocate.com/blogs/gallery/infestation.jpg[/img]

bren.t
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How often do you fertilize your garden? Yellowing starting from the bottom and working its way up the plant sounds like a nitrogen deficiency. I can't say for sure.

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Fig3825
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I'm not sure who you are addressing now, but since the cucumbers were planted, I've fertilized twice with a 12-10-5. Once shortly after the seeds sprouted and again about 2 weeks ago. Maybe 2 months between applications.

tedln
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The beetles in the photos are the striped cucumber beetle. You will often see the spotted cucumber beetle. The striped beetle often carries the cucumber wilt pathogen. The plant usually looks fine in the morning, but by evening will be limp and dead but still green not brown.

My cucumber plants usually turn brown two or three months after sprouting and starting production. I have a few plants still alive that were planted in the spring. I simply replant if the weather is still cool enough. Our summer heat has been so high, they simply sprout and die. Cucumbers are supposed to like hot weather, but it has never been my experience that they do. I've grown five varieties this year and they all seem susceptible to a variety of problems including cucumber beetles.

The most common problems I face are either to much or to little moisture, powdery mildew, cucumber wilt, aphids, and squash bugs. Other than that, they are easy to grow.

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Fig3825
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I apparently have the cucumber wilt as well. Most of the plants seem to be pretty much dying overnight. The spray I used is also supposed to help stop the wilt - probably too late now. I'm sure all of the plants are pretty much gone. Out of 9 plants, 3 are completely dead. I've pulled about 4 cucumbers off and presently have another 4 cucumbers growing. I doubt they'll reach maturity before the remaining plants just can't feed them anymore.

tedln
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Fig3825 wrote:I apparently have the cucumber wilt as well. Most of the plants seem to be pretty much dying overnight. The spray I used is also supposed to help stop the wilt - probably too late now. I'm sure all of the plants are pretty much gone. Out of 9 plants, 3 are completely dead. I've pulled about 4 cucumbers off and presently have another 4 cucumbers growing. I doubt they'll reach maturity before the remaining plants just can't feed them anymore.
While you can spray and kill the beetles, I believe the cucumber wilt is a virus and impervious to any spray.

Ted
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Fig3825
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Naturally, you are probably right as I wouldn't have a clue. The other spray I have is the Safer 3-in-1 Garden Spray and in addition to helping control some insects, it claims to help against powdery mildew, black spot, leaf spot and rust. It doesn't mention wilt.

tedln
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I may have been wrong when I said the cucumber wilt is a virus. I think it is sometimes called bacterial wilt, but it doesn't matter because either way, the cucumber plant is going to die. I don't know a lot about growing cucumbers and there are many more experienced gardeners on this forum than me. I expect my cucumber plants to die from some malady each year, so I am simply prepared to replant them as needed.

There are also many home remedies people use on this forum. Some I have used with success, others with less success. Diluted dairy products like milk seem to help prevent many fungal problems. Many people use copper solutions commercially available with good results for the same purpose. My personal favorite is common bleach diluted below 10% concentration with water. It seems to stop many fungal diseases in their tracks, but should be washed off the plants after about thirty minutes. I've heard of people using alcohol solutions in weak concentrations. I guess you need to find out what works best for you.

Be prepared to also lose an occasional plant to the "cure" if the concentrated spray isn't diluted enough.

Good luck!

Ted
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