brooklyn boy
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Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:45 am
Location: NYC

Watermelon: Should I leave only one main stem?

My sugar baby watermelons were growing from a bucket & hanging down so I picket it up and tied it to my gate so it should grow upwards it got pissed at me and stopped growing luckily I have 2 more stems growing reaching a foot in height now and a 3rd on the way should I just cut off the main stem ? would that help the other newer stems grow better ?

I'm desperate for a answer the season is almost over...

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7447
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

All of the leaves on every stem are making food for the plant. I can't believe it will help the plant at all to cut any off. Keep it watered well and give it a shot of fertilizer. Watermelons grown in the ground have a tremendous root system. It is terribly handicapped in the bucket. Good luck.

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Greener Thumb
Posts: 1494
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:40 am
Location: Wyoming

You definitely don't want to prune watermelons. According to [url=]Root Development of Vegetables Crops[/url], watermelons react badly to having their vines trimmed. Click on Watermelons on this link, and go to the very bottom of their section to learn a little more about that.

Your vine probably didn't stop growing because it was going upwards. I tried that last year, and although the vines hated it, turning sideways and trying to go back down, they didn't die until the plant was suffocated (RIP) by its pumpkin roommates.

I'm betting Jal_UT is right, that the problem is space. Dumb me is trying to grow 5 watermelons (3 Sugar Baby & 2 Fordhook) in the same 8' x 4' bed, and I will consider myself lucky if I get 5 watermelons from the lot. No matter how much compost tea I feed them, they are not happy campers :cry:

Live and learn. Next year . . . yeah . . . Next year is the year I do nothing stupid. You just wait and see -wall-

Super Green Thumb
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Location: ohio

I agree with Jal, if the plant isn't doing to hot as it is, cutting the stem will only put more stress on it.

Now, one thing you may consider is pinching off any more watermelons that start to form on the vine. I know some pumpkin growers do this.

What do you all think of that idea?

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Absolutely in NYC... any watermelons that aren't well on the way, aren't going to ripen before frost anyway, so pinch them off, let the plant put all the energy it can into the existing ones.

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