Timely Tips For Cucumbers And Cantaloupes
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Now's the time of year when bacterial wilt of cucumbers and cantaloupes begins to show up in home gardens. While these cucurbit crops are susceptible to several diseases, the symptoms of bacterial wilt are distinct and not easily confused with other problems.
Primary symptoms of this bacterial disease include severe vine wilt followed by rapid death of plants. At first, only a few vines on an affected plant may show symptoms of wilt. However, as the disease progresses, more leaves wilt and eventually the entire vine is affected. Bacterial wilt is severe on cucumber and cantaloupe and less damaging to squash and watermelon.
The bacteria which causes the wilt are carried from plant-to-plant by striped or spotted cucumber beetles. The beetles transmit the bacterial wilt microorganism by chewing on infected cucumber or cantaloupe vines and then feeding on healthy plants.
The amount of bacterial wilt which shows up in your garden can be reduced if these beetles are kept under control with a good insecticide spray program. Use an approved insecticide spray or dust at the first sign of beetle activity.
Insecticides which control striped and spotted cucumber beetles include diazinon, malathion, methoxychlor, sevin, or thiodan sprays, and sevin or thiodan dusts. Refer to product labels for use directions. Note: Special precautions should be taken to apply insecticides in the late afternoon to avoid causing injury or death to pollinating insects such as honeybees.
Infobytes newsletter was written by the late Dr. Frank Killebrew, Extension Specialist.