Summer squash problems.

Asked July 26, 2020, 11:41 AM EDT

Hello-my summer squash (spouted late May) produced a few delicious zucchini then has started what looks like stalk rot. It starts at the base of the plant (see first picture) then the leaves get brown, etc. I have seen no bugs on the plants, but once they rot they get covered in tiny ants. Thank you so much for your help!!

Baltimore Maryland

1 Response

Squash stem injury is most likely due to the squash vine borer. The ants are there for the leftovers.
Please see our web page on the squash vine borer:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/squash-vine-borer-vegetables
There are two generations per year. Planting in mid-June may allow you to avoid infestation by the first generation. The mated females are active laying eggs in late May-early June in Central MD.

Using transplants shortens the time that the plant is in the ground leading up to fruit production. This can help reduce risk to pest insects in general.

Some gardeners and organic farmers find that planting summer squash several times, protecting plants with floating row cover material, and removing borers from infested plants are three dependable techniques for ensuring a good harvest.

Marian