I have always wanted to do surgery, so I won’t lie when I say that I kind of enjoy this process.
Vine borers are a bunch of jerks, so I’m happy to eliminate them. You can tell it’s vine borers by the sawdust like grossness they leave on the outside of the stem, but you can also tell simply by closely watching your plants. Are they not setting fruit? Is it withering instead of growing? It’s important to catch them before they totally fatally damage the plant.
The strategy is simple, get them out of there! I cut a slit and open the stem, or I cut a long chunk out and replace it.
Pull that sucker out of there! There may be a few, you can tell sometimes with how badly the plant is damaged. This one above had one, the plant in the first photo had 4!
This one had a lot of damage and I’m not sure if the vine can be saved. The protocol is to then cover it with dirt. The vine will produce more roots and recover in about a week. This is much better than starting over! I have had many plants recover from this and go on to produce lots and lots of squash.
So, here is the step by step for you.
1. identify sick plants
2. slice into plant
3. remove borers, make sure you get a good look and find them all!
4. cover vine with dirt and water
5. plant more squash! I plant squash plants every couple of weeks and this keeps me ahead of the pests.
Was this helpful? I hope so!
What is your worst garden pest? I’m dealing with japanese beatles right now…. maybe I’ll post on that next time!