Why are my young watermelon leaves crinkled and pale?
Young watermelon plants should be medium green and grow rapidly. Plants which are pale green and have crinkled true leaves are most like suffering from manganese toxicity. Manganese is an essential element for plant growth, but too much available manganese in the soil can cause the plants to stop growing. The problem is closely linked to soil pH. Anytime the soil pH is less than 5.5, there is a potential for manganese toxicity to develop. The cure is to test each field before planting and apply lime to fields with a pH less than 5.5. Once the young plants display symptoms, it is too late to cure the problem.
Some Mississippi watermelon producers lost crops or got a late start because of wet spring weather. But consumers should find the sweet, summer treats on shelves in time for the July 4 holiday.
Choosing a ripe watermelon at the market is easy if you know what to look for. (Photo credit: Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)
LUCEDALE, Miss. -- Mississippi watermelon growers battled frequent rains to get their crops planted and ready in time for the Fourth of July and other summer celebrations.
David Nagel, horticulture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most of the crop is smaller and later than normal.
“If the sun doesn’t shine, the leaves don’t make sugar, plants don’t grow and we have smaller watermelons,” Nagel said. “Recent sunny days are allowing some of the crop to catch up. Melons may still be small, but they will be sweet and firm, or crisp.”
JACKSON – Party planners may have a hard time finding Mississippi-grown watermelons and blueberries for July 4th celebrations this year.
Unfavorable weather slowed maturity and increased disease pressure for both crops. Much of the state’s blueberry crop is grown in south Mississippi, and most of its watermelons are grown in the southeast quarter of the state. Acreage for both crops remains steady. Blueberry producers grow about 2,700 acres, and watermelon growers have about 2,400 acres.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippians love Fourth of July watermelons, and the 2013 melon crop should be worth the wait after weather delays.
David Nagel, horticulturist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the biggest challenge has been the slow growth rate that caused some concern that the first melons might miss the holiday celebrations. The good news is that clear, sunny days with plenty of rain along the way have combined to produce large, tasty melons.