Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Resuscitative Gardening (%^&$*! Squash Vine Borer - Part II)

Hello again!

You may recall my educational, if strongly-worded, post about the dreaded squash vine borer in July.  In it I discussed how to identify the eggs for removal, excise any worms from hatched eggs, and how to encourage healing of the plants once the damage was done. It's this last part that I wanted to provide an update on.  Here's a reprint of a 'sad' zucchini plant after some worm damage:

Here's the same plant, photo taken this week:
Not bad, eh?  Even though this is the stem:

There's clearly some damage there, yet the plant is hanging on.  I believe this is because I followed the recommendation of the nifty book I mentioned (Dead Snails Leave No Trails: Natural Pest Control for Home and Garden) in that I piled up a lot of soil/compost around the stem in the hopes of it growing some extra roots.  I gave it a shot of water-soluble fertilizer as a boost. Additionally, I remained diligent in digging out worms (ewwwwww) and picking off additional eggs.  My best hope is that perhaps I at least culled the population for a better next year. (A girl can dream, can't she?)

Here's another of my resuscitated plants - note the new growth with potential fruiting:
Now, I really don't know whether the all the nurturing I've been giving my poor zucchini will bear fruit, but I will say that normally by this time each year all my zukes have gone the way of the, well, rotting, torn-stem, fungus-riddled wayside.  I'm just thrilled that I still have 4 plants left, and they're all flowering!

Wish me luck.  Now if I can just figure out what happened to my winter squash this year...


  1. Oh Donna, I feel your pain! SVB got all my zucchs this year too, even when I picked eggs and worms. I ended up just pulling them out rather than wait for another round of squash to form. I think next year I am going to use row covers and hand fertilize the flowers.

    1. Sorry to hear about your vines. I decided that some of mine were 'healthy' enough to try to resuscitate - I definitely lost a couple. I think the lack of heavy rains these past few weeks also helped keep the damaged vines from rotting - a problem I also have in August.

      I like row covers, too, but they become really inconvenient when the plants get really big. Good luck next year!

  2. This is off topic, but can someone do a post on how to identify one, two and 3 year old canes when pruning brambles, blueberries and currants? All of the instructions say to prune one or the other, but how do you know how old the cane is?

    1. Hi Anon - I'll try to get someone to do a post with photos on this. Meanwhile you can take a look at our small fruits page:


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