Weather and pests can make summer squash a frustrating crop for home gardeners

by Sharon Dowdy, University of Georgia

Pests and diseases make summer squash one of the most challenging vegetables to grow in Georgia home gardens, according to University of Georgia plant pathologist Elizabeth Little, who studies plant diseases and control methods at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

“Through my plant pathology experience and observations, I’ve noticed what is most difficult to grow in Georgia’s hot, muggy summers. Squash tops the list,” Little said. “That’s why summer squash will grow better where summer conditions are cooler and drier.” Continue reading

Alabama IPM specialists find that Hubbard squash is a great trap crop

 Ayanava Majumdar, Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Squash producers are bugged by three major insect pests. Cucumber beetles are early season pests that can severely damage transplants and delay plant maturity. Squash bugs are often the next wave of mid-season insects that lay a number of eggs on the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits. Squash bug nymphs and adults can form large aggregates on fruits and cause direct plant damage. Both cucumber beetles and squash bugs transmit diseases. The last major insect pest of squash is the vine borer that can infest gardens as well as commercial plantings. Heat or water stress can hasten the devastation caused by vine borer larvae that live inside the stem. In all cases, most common organic insecticides appear to provide low to poor control of the pests. So, we have to think out of the box for managing insects like the squash bugs and here is an alternate IPM strategy. Continue reading

Gardening tips from the University of Georgia

Whether you are a veteran gardener or new to the local food movement, you are sure to find worthwhile advice in this collection of spring gardening articles from University of Georgia experts. From how to fight squash pests to planting the perfect flowers for pollinating insects, these articles are based on science by researchers with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Many of the articles are applicable to the entire Southeast. Happy gardening!

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