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Gourd Vine Death and Destruction

August 11, 2010

A couple days after posting about how well the gourd vines were doing, whole sections wilted and died rather suddenly. I traced them back a bit and it appears that these were branches off of otherwise vigorous vines.

What has caused this sudden malaise in cohutt gourd paradise?

I find no visible vine borer damage, which is consistent with the season here (August is past the egg laying & larvae season for the moths that bring these joys to the garden).

Some of the leaves are speckled along the healthy vines, which i believe is a sign of squash bug activity. I suppose the combination of the heat, drought and squash bug encouraged wilt might kill off part of a plant vs the entire plant. Maybe the vines die in stages and my winter gourd labor whining of earlier posts was premature.


I was about to give up then I pulled up pictures taken earlier in the day, and after careful study I believe I have found my problem.


Can this be? Would someone purposely sabotage my gourd bearing garden kudzu?

Would neem oil repel this unusual pest? A strong garlic spray?

I’m contacting Monsanto*- this undoubtedly hatched from one of their evil labs.


*To Monsanto’s attorneys:  This is a joke.  I don’t really believe this creature came from your labs.   Do not take this seriously; note the nonsense category this post is included under.  m ‘okay?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2010 9:12 pm

    I would guess bacterial wilt. Two questions:

    Have you seen and cucumber beetles in the vicinity?

    If you take a freshly wilted vine and pull it apart, does the juice inside create a string? Meaning, is it highly viscous?

    • August 11, 2010 9:46 pm

      Out of all seriousness, it really does seem to be a wilt disease as described in the extension literature.

      To answer your questions:

      Yes, I have seen cucumber beetles around this year; not huge numbers but pretty consistently.

      I believe I also have quite an active population of both squash bugs and stink bugs. My tomatoes are periodically getting “sucked” and have the hard white pulp damage.
      I continue to find and destroy the classic squash bug egg clusters, as well. I saw some this morning on my second attempt at yellow summer squash and have found them regularly on the gourds leaves and the now deceased 1st squash planting (rip from vine borers and hard summer weather).
      To answer your second question I haven’t done any forensics yet on the vine sap consistency. I have been careful to avoid damaging the extensions as I have read of the whole vine reacting negatively to an end being trimmed.

      Does bacterial wilt ever “localize” damage on the plant in the area of CB activity or does the whole plant ultimately succumb to it?

      Thanks for your help-

      • August 11, 2010 9:53 pm

        For the record I have seen this type of striped CB:

  2. August 11, 2010 9:55 pm

    I only realized what this disease was earlier this year, so I haven’t experimented with controlling it yet. By the time I realized what it was, my customer’s cucumbers were all dead. That took about 3 weeks from the first sign of wilt. Everything I read says it is incurable and the vine will die. I would try trimming the obviously infected runners where they connect with the main vine and see if you can amputate the bacteria out. I don’t know if that will work. Be sure to trash or burn any infected vines. Again from reading, it appears that the only way to not have this problem where the bacteria is present in the environment is to control the vector (cucumber beetles).

  3. August 11, 2010 10:08 pm

    Yeah, from what I have read I knew I probably had serious issues although I got confused and recalled incorrectly that the squash bugs were the carrier.

    The truth is I really didn’t want to admit tonight that my gourds were on the ropes so I made my daughter humor me by putting on the hat and standing in the picture.

    (Ooops I wasn’t supposed to post that she was the prop. 🙂 )

    Thanks for the input, I’ll see where they go from here.

  4. Mr C. permalink
    August 12, 2010 12:37 pm

    I distrust the coolie–

  5. August 12, 2010 5:12 pm

    Yikes again.

    Bacterial wilt is so easily spread by squash bugs. This has been the worst year for curcubit pests. I’ve had squash bug eggs all over what’s left of the pumpkin vines. Now, you’ve provided me another worry. Thanks! LOL


    • August 12, 2010 7:40 pm

      Nature provided the worry!

      I just made you feel better that it wasn’t just picking on you.


  6. August 12, 2010 5:14 pm

    Oops, meant to say cucumber beetles.



  1. An uncleverly titled gourd post « Behind cohutt's fence

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