what's killing my cantalopes?

Asked August 4, 2015, 11:20 PM EDT

The symptoms showed up before the vines set fruit. Small brown spots on the leaves that eventually kill the whole plant. Started before I saw any sign of cucumber beetles or squash bugs. Same symptoms on summer squash and winter squash plants (prior to cucumber beetles, squash bugs or squash vine borers. Progression of symptoms slower on the squash plants. I have used soap and pyrethrin to try to control cucumber beetles and squash bugs, as I have had a problem with them in the past. It has worked on them. I recently used neem, thinking this may be bacterial/fungal, but that may have been too late. See photos.

Wicomico County Maryland

1 Response

it's quite possible that your cantalope vines have suffered downy mildew.
Review the following page: http://extension.umd.edu/growit/bacterial-wilt-vegetables
If you want to test for the possibility of bacterial wilt, you could perform the test suggested on the following publication:
http://extension.umd.edu/growit/bacterial-wilt-vegetables
In either case, you could leave the vines for now and allow as many fruit to ripen as possible, then remove them and destroy them. Good sanitation is appropriate, but downy mildew blows in to our area each year and the cucumber beetle carries the bacteria. If possible, you may want to use a floating row cover next spring to deny access to the young plants by the cucumber beetle until the vines begin to flower.
LS