My Volunteer Butternut Squash Is not Producing! Why??

I received this question from Julie of Charlotte, North Carolina and Diane from Georgia.

I had a vigorous volunteer butternut squash grow in my garden this year. I had only one beautiful fruit grow to full size. The plant is still growing but each subsequent baby fruit (there have been many) yellows and falls off. It is so disappointing. Any ideas?”

Not  pollinated-001         Hand Pollination

There are many factors that may have caused this issue.

  • Lack of pollination or lack of pollinators.
    • The above picture provides a solution when there is a lack of pollinators. Hand pollination is a viable alternative to achieve proper fruiting.
      • Using a Q-tip or a soft paintbrush, you may take pollen from the male flower and apply the pollen to the female flower. Early to mid morning is the best time to pollinate.
      • male blossom-001      Female bloom-001
  • Too much irrigation or flooding causing the roots to be damaged
  • Too little irrigation or drought causing stress and subsequent fruit drop.
  • Disease – bacteria, fungus or virus
  • Blossom end rot – calcium deficiency –
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Too hot resulting in fruit drop

A good strategy would be to plant your squash early (right after last frost) and again about a month later. One of the two (2) crops may produce because you may avoid excessive rain, drought, disease pressure, cold/heat or insect pressure.

Seaweed emulsion or kelp meal will pick up any nutrient deficiency and aid the plants with stress issues.

Squash vine-001

It is worth the effort to produce delicious squash!!


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