Pumpkin: Common Pests and Diseases in the Garden

Hello to all gardeners! In today’s article the protagonist will be the pumpkin. On other occasions, we have already talked about how to grow the pumpkin in the garden , the different varieties,  and our partner Sandra even taught us how to create a terrifying Halloween pumpkin . Today, I will focus on the pests and diseases that can affect this crop.

1. Squash or squash pests

Snails and slugs in the pumpkin

Sometimes we can find snails or slugs in our pumpkins . They are considered mollusks (gastropods) and they like to go out at night when the weather is humid. Its mouthpart is very characteristic, consisting of a kind of tongue covered by a sheet called the radula.

The radula has very small teeth that help break up the food. These animals begin to eat the pumpkin when it is growing because that is when the rind is softest. It is very easy to detect them, we only have to observe if there is slime in the surroundings.

We must control this pest consciously, without eliminating all of them, since they are beneficial animals to control the balance of the environment. There are different ecological methods that you can use if the population density is high:

  • Place containers level with the ground , such as cut bottles. In them, you can add beer or a solution of water, sugar, flour and yeast. The snails will chase the scent and fall into the trap.
  • Another method is to sprinkle the soil with coffee or garlic infusion . You simply have to make a coffee, dilute it in water (2ml of coffee per 100ml of water) and apply it around the affected plants. Garlic infusion is also effective: boil 4 cloves of garlic, let it cool, remove the garlic and apply it in the garden.

Black Bugs in Pumpkin: Vine Borers

The vine borer is limited to infecting the genus Cucurbita , causing serious damage to squash and melon . Adults are active throughout the day and feed primarily on nectar. The eggs are black or brown, ovoid in shape and slightly flattened. The larvae are white with a dark capsule on the head.

The damage caused by this insect can also lead to infections of other types of pathogens (bacterial, viral or fungal). This pest is difficult to detect as they begin to attack the base of the plants and then consume them from the inside out.

Cucumber beetle

This insect does not only attack cucumber plants but affects all cucurbits in general, including the pumpkin . Both larvae and adults feed on the leaves . In addition, one of the problems of this type of insect is that it acts as a vector of diseases, that is, it can transmit mosaic virus or bacterial diseases to squash. It is very easy to identify it as it is yellow with black spots. In large quantities it can spoil the entire harvest!

Among the main ecological methods to combat it are:

  • Eliminate weeds and crop residues at the end of the season.
  • Crop rotation.
  • Put trap crops , that is, crops where the beetles prefer to be. For example: big max pumpkin, baby boo pumpkin or classic melon.
  • Chromatic yellow traps .
  • Put a straw mulch to make it difficult for them to climb the plants.

2. Diseases of squash or squash

White spots on pumpkin leaves: Powdery mildew

The hatred is a fungus , also known as pigweed, white mildew or mold. It appears in the form of white spots and gradually turns into a grayish-white powder. Thanks to that white powder, it is one of the easiest fungi to detect. It normally develops in the upper part of the leaves, although it can also spread through the stem or the fruits. Its presence makes photosynthesis difficult. If we don’t control it well, the leaves turn yellow and can dry out.

Humidity and warm temperatures are the ideal conditions for powdery mildew to appear in our garden.

In the following link you can read  how to eliminate hatred   from plants.

Brown spots on pumpkin leaves: Downy mildew

Another fungus that affects pumpkin  is mildew. It produces greasy-looking spots of different shades on the edges of the leaves or on the fruits, which later turn brown and wilt.

Squash plant virus: Mosaic virus

This disease is caused by the squash mosaic virus . The attacked plants show discolorations between the veins of the leaves and black bands. The leaves curl and do not develop properly. To control this disease, be careful with aphids, as they are one of the main vectors of the disease.

I leave you a link on how to identify and prevent viruses in horticultural plants . And another where you can learn the different types of pumpkins that exist.

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