Friday, June 13, 2008

What to do When your Main Vine is Damaged

Pumpkin plants are very resilient. Your plant can lose 90% of it's leaves early season and a month later you will have your pumpkin patch completely filled with new vines and leaves. When your main vine gets damaged by hail, kids, animals, carelessness when moving the vine (always move them in the heat of the day), wind, etc. it can be very heartbreaking. Each situation is different, but remember that pumpkin plants are very resilient. I've already spoke about the damage that my plant received last week. Although the tip of the vine was still attached about half of the vine was cut through. I decided to terminate the vine back to where a secondary came off and I believe it was the right move. Within two days the secondary took off like it was the main. You never would have known the difference. I spoke to one pumpkin grower who had this happen to him a couple of years ago and he still managed to get a 1100 pound pumpkin.

If your main is damaged terminating it isn't always the best option. If your vine has a split that runs the length of the vine simply clean up and dry off the split area, take some twist ties and close up the split.  Don't put the ties very tight.  Just enough to close the split.  After 3-5 days remove the ties and your plant should be healed.  

Sometimes just burying the vine will work fine for a horizontal cracks. This is especially true if you already have your pumpkin growing and there isn't any other options. Along with burying the vine put some compost tea on the damaged area to help to protect it.


Yo Shello said...

I am relieved to read your comments that you met a grower who was able to get an 1100 pounder off a secondary vine. I snapped my main vine off this morning as I was pegging it down. It might have a fruit set at about 13 feet. The vine was snapped off about 2 feet down from it.
What is your opinion about mulches?

Jamie said...

Ouch. Sorry to hear about the snapped vine. I know how bad that can feel but it isn't the end of he world. I use some mulch right at the base of the plant. I think if you can keep the soil moist it can only help the plant. Especially when the plant is young. I only mulch for about a foot out in every direction however. I want to get as many secondary roots going as I can and the mulch can inhibit that if you put mulch to far out.