Zucchinis are one of the most popular vegetables that are grown in gardens at home and this is because of their relative ease to grow. Zucchinis are examples of soft-skinned squashes that are mostly grown during the summer seasons.
This plant just like every other vegetable is appreciated by gardeners and they are highly appreciated for their ability to produce awesome fruits with good aesthetic values.
However, as easy and convenient growing these plants are, gardeners also encounter certain problems during the production period which reduces the productivity of this crop.
If you have at any point noticed the susceptibility of your plant to any environmental change, effects of disease and pest, and others, these are problems you want to look into so that they do not get the better part of your plants.
In some cases zucchini plants can stop producing in mid-summer, produce small or deformed fruits, death of the plant, etc. and these are signs that your plants are facing certain problems that require an immediate solution.
In situations where you deal with plants that produce lesser fruits and you wonder why this is so, then you need to read further to learn more about the zucchini plant and the possible challenges that it could be facing.
In this article, we will take you through some of the problems that zucchini plants face while growing and the best ways through which these problems can be controlled. You should read further to learn more about them.
Table of Contents
- 1 What are Growing Problems of Zucchini?
- 2 How to Control the Problems faced by Zucchini when Growing
- 3 Conclusion
What are Growing Problems of Zucchini?
Zucchinis are lovely vegetables that produce nutritious and edible fruits loved by almost everyone.
If you own a farm or garden and you’ve ever faced any challenge as regards the growth of your zucchinis, then you are in the right place.
There are several problems that zucchini plants faces and some of these problems will be discussed in subsequent paragraphs:
Improper variety selection:
The first input on any garden is the seed/propagating part of the plant. For zucchini, the seed to be planted is very important.
The variety of zucchini plants that you choose to plant or cultivate in your garden must be one that can withstand diseases and pests of the plant that are common in your area or region.
The performance of plant varieties differs from one to the other and this also affects their overall performance and productivity.
Squash vine borers:
This is one of the most popular destructive pests of the zucchini vegetables which usually affect the vine-growing plants.
This pest has the ability to fly very fast and this makes it very difficult to see them during the day, however, most damages caused by this pest is caused by the young ones at the larvae stage of growth.
The larvae of this insect feed on the internal part of the stem and hollow it out which can lead to the eventual death of the plant.
The feeding action of this insect is noticed by the presence of crumbly, sawdust-like waste at the base of the plant.
This is one of the most invasive fungal diseases that affect vine crops like zucchini. This disease usually affects the leaves of the plant and makes it appear as being covered with a talcum powder-like coating.
This can also be caused by late watering of the plant or availability of excess water on the foliage which invites the disease-causing pathogen.
In most cases, this reduces the aesthetic value of the plant and in severe instances can have a really big impact on the rate of photosynthesis and productivity of the plant.
An important way to have the best looking zucchini plants in your garden is to ensure that your plant is well pollinated.
Zucchini requires the presence of pollinating insects such as bees, beetles, etc. to move pollen from the male flower to the female flower.
However, in cases where there is little to no pollination, the fruits produced are usually deformed and they lack good structure. The presence of a stubby look on the blossom end makes it lacking in terms of pollination.
This is one of the most devastating insects that affect zucchini plants. This pest is very difficult to control and they are shield-shaped and brown in color.
They are first seen as a cluster of bronze football-shaped eggs followed by nymphs that feed as a group.
This insect possesses a needle-like mouthpart which is used to suck out the plant juices which leads to the stripping, yellowing, and browning of the leaves.
Zucchinis do not require too many nutrients in the soil to perform well but they are known to possess the ability to perform the best in soils that are rich in organic matter with a soil pH around 6.5.
The soil pH must not be too high or too low as this can have a really big effect on the plant’s productivity. You should limit the amount of Nitrogen that is added to the soil in the garden and the pH of the soil will also affect the availability of the nutrient in the soil.
Make sure to look into the nutrient level of your soil before planting commence.
Blossom end rot:
Just as the name implies; this physiological disorder causes the blossom end of the fruit to rot into a dark, sunken canker. This disorder is usually caused by the deficiency of calcium.
This does happen whenever the plant does not have access to water required to enhance the movement of calcium through the plant’s root.
These problems do occur when the plant finds it very hard to access calcium from the soil and the result is the rotting of the blossom end.
Lack of Water:
This is another problem of the zucchini plants. When the soil has irregular soil moisture levels, it becomes very difficult for the plant to produce fruits of good quality.
The lack of water in the soil enhances drought stress which affects vegetable plants when there is a lack of water.
Once plants are allowed to dry out between watering, the plant gets susceptible to diseases that can hamper the growth and development of the plants.
Lack of Sunlight:
Zucchini are sun-loving plants that require between 6 – 8 hours of sunlight exposure daily for the best performance.
The lack of sunlight will have a really big impact on the health and productivity of the zucchini plants. Sunlight exposure will also affect the pollination of the plant as pollinators tend to get more attracted to plants on sunny days.
Low levels of sunlight can have side effects such as the production of long, lanky plants with pale foliage and this will reduce the yield of plants.
This bacterial disease is caused by the cucumber beetle. This disease is more paramount on cucumbers and does not really affect zucchini but when they do, they cause the death of the plant. This disease causes a healthy plant to wilt and die quickly.
How to Control the Problems faced by Zucchini when Growing
As destructive and deadly as these problems are, there are ways in which they can be battled and overcome.
In this section of this article, you will learn how you can protect your plant from the problems that they might have been facing. These control methods are discussed below:
Choose plant varieties that are resistant to diseases and pests:
When deciding on the type of zucchini plant to grow in your garden, choose varieties that have the ability to withstand diseases and resist pest infestation. Examples of zucchini varieties that can be of choice are Green Machine, Yellow Fin, Tigress, etc.
Protect plant’s stem:
You can protect your zucchini plant by covering the upper region with the use of row covers and you can also make use of aluminum foil to cover the basal part of the stem. This will help prevent the action of vine borers.
You can prevent the development of low-quality fruits by controlling the rate of pollination in the garden. You can do this by planting flowering herbs around the zucchini plants as it will enhance the number of insects that will visit the plant. You can also practice hand pollination or you grow parthenocarpic varieties that do not require pollination to set fruit.
Application of Insecticidal soap or horticultural oil:
Squash bugs behave in a resistant manner to pesticides but the nymphs of this insect can be controlled with the use of insecticidal soap. Make sure that they are controlled as soon as possible.
Addition of Organic fungicides:
Diseases such as powdery mildew can be controlled with the use of organic fungicides based on potassium bicarbonate or Bacillus subtilis. You can also plant varieties that are resistant to this disease if it is very common in your region.
Make sure that the soil is at the optimum nutrient level requirement.
Water must always be available to ensure that the plant receives adequate water at all times. You can also practice mulching during the hot summer season to ensure that water is always available to the plant’s root.
This will also help to prevent the blossom end rot disease which requires water to move calcium within the soil profile to the root system.
Use yellow sticky cards to trap cucumber beetles:
Place the cards just a little bit above the top of the plants. Make sure they are well-fastened to the stake.
Plant zucchinis in an area that gets enough sun at all times.
Zucchinis are awesome plants to have around at all times and you must make sure that to put into consideration all the necessary things needed for its productivity and the best production possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article !