86 articles tagged "Cucurbits".

​​A field day will be held on July 9 to share with the public the various research activities at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center in Vincennes, IN. The day will start at 7:30 A.M. with a health fair. Registration starts at 8:30 A.M. Presentation topics include: managing cucumber beetles while protecting bees, production of vegetables in high tunnels, canola production, hybrid cottonwood as a bioenergy crop, grape production, field crops disease update, soybean production, maximizing seed corn investment and benefits of starter fertilizer. Lunch is free with registration. A PARP class will be offered after lunch. Please contact Barb Joyner at 812-886-0198 or joynerb@purdue.edu to RSVP or go on-line at http:///tinyurl.com/2015SWPAC.


​So far it appears that populations of striped cucumber beetles appear to be low to moderate in most areas. The often cool and/or wet weather may be suppressing their activity currently, so be prepared if we get a period of warm, dry weather. Remember that cantaloupes and cucumbers are most susceptible to bacterial wilt, so the threshold for treatment is relatively low, 1 beetle/plant. For watermelons, pumpkins, and most squashes, the threshold is 5 beetles/plant because those cucurbits are less susceptible to bacterial wilt. When treating cucurbits that are in bloom for beetles, growers should wait to begin spraying until the flowers have closed up for the day. Ideally, sprays should be applied late in the evening if possible, because the potential for bee kills are reduced and that will allow for maximum residue levels on the foliage the next day.


​Striped cucumber beetles are emerging from their overwintering habitat in southern Indiana. This pest can damage cucurbit crops in several ways. One that I saw this week is that they can kill young transplants by their direct feeding. Of more critical concern usually is their ability to transmit the bacterium that causes bacterial wilt of cucurbits. Cantaloupes and cucumbers are especially susceptible to this disease. Pumpkins and some of the winter squashes are susceptible when the plants are young. Other squash and watermelons are not affected by the disease. Therefore, based on years of research and experience, we have set the treatment threshold at 1 beetle per plant for cantaloupes, cucumbers, and very young pumpkins and winter squash (less than 3 weeks old). For watermelons, summer squashes, and older pumpkins and winter squashes, the threshold is 5 beetles per plant.  Our research has shown that for cucurbits grown in the[Read More…]


​It’s early in the growing season, but I am already receiving calls about aphids on melons. We had lots of problems with aphids in 2013 and not very many last year. Particularly at this time of year, I’m recommending Assail® for aphid control on melons for several reasons. First, it does an excellent job killing aphids. Second, it will also provide very good control of striped cucumber beetles when they become active in your field. Third, I’ve never been a big fan of pyrethroid insecticides for control of aphids. They work to some extent but we have other products that are better. Finally, the active ingredient in Assail®, acetamiprid, is much less toxic to honey bees than the other neonicotinoid insecticides that could be used for aphid control. If you used either Admire Pro® or Platinum® at planting time, you should receive 3-4 weeks of aphid control. Growers should be[Read More…]


​I have received calls about seedcorn maggots in melons and have seen wireworm damage in my research plots in Vincennes. Seedcorn maggots are usually associated with cool weather since the adult flies will not lay their eggs near melons plants when the soil temperature exceeds 70°F. So the cool weather we have had this past week could promote seedcorn maggot problems. One of the species of wireworms I observed is Conoderus lividus, a species commonly associated with corn. If you are planting melons after corn, the field could be infested with wireworms, although frankly this is fairly rare. You can determine the potential for wireworm problems prior to planting by burying a cup of flour or untreated grain (corn or wheat) about 6 inches under the ground. Come back and dig up the bait in about a week and look for wireworms. About the only product melon growers have available[Read More…]


​Many cantaloupe and watermelon growers have planted transplants in the field or will soon. A question many growers often have is when and how should one apply fungicides.  Applying fungicides according to a weather-based system is easy for cantaloupe and watermelon growers. MELCAST was developed at Purdue University by Rick Latin to allow growers to apply foliar fungicides to control Alternaria leaf blight, anthracnose and gummy stem blight. When MELCAST is followed, fungicides are applied when they are most needed depending on leaf moisture and temperature. Details are listed below or in the extension bulletin, Foliar Disease Control Using MELCAST, BP-67-W. Download the bulletin at www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-67-W.pdf or contact Dan Egel for a copy.  The MELCAST program uses weather information from one of the 12 sites located around Indiana: Daviess County, Decker, Elkhart County, Gibson County, Jackson County, Oaktown, Richmond, Rockville, Sullivan, SW Purdue Ag Center, Vincennes, and Wanatah. MELCAST also[Read More…]


This watermelon transplant has a water soaked area just under the seed leaves

Most watermelon growers are in the process of placing transplants in the field. I have received several commercial samples of transplants still in trays prior to out-planting. The two diseases I have observed so far are gummy stem blight and bacterial fruit blotch. Below, I discuss these two diseases as well as management options. Gummy stem blight on transplant seedlings may be recognized by the watersoaked area of the stem (botanical term:  hypocotyl) as shown in Figure 1. The watersoaked area may eventually turn brown and woody.  A closer look at the woody area may reveal the small, dark fungal structures of the gummy stem blight fungus (Figure 2). The true leaves of watermelon transplants may also be affected. The fungus that causes gummy stem blight (Didymella bryoniae) may survive in crop debris, thus overwintering in the field from year to year. This fungus may also survive in seed. It is also possible for the fungus to[Read More…]


Waterwheel transplanters are commonly used for vegetables on plastic-covered beds. (Photo by K. Freeman)

Getting seedlings from the transplant tray into the field is essential for a good crop (Figure 1). Healthy transplants treated well will quickly establish themselves in the field, setting the foundation for a productive crop.​  Here I offer some suggestions for successful transplant establishment. Harden transplants by exposing them to higher light, cooler temperature, and slightly drier conditions than during transplant production (Figures 2 and 3). One goal of hardening is to slow growth of the seedlings and increase their stored energy. A second aim is to acclimate the plants to the field environment. A properly hardened plant will recover from the stresses of transplanting more quickly and begin to grow sooner than a plant that has not been hardened. Seedlings are commonly hardened by putting them outside in a partially shaded and protected location, often on a wagon so they can be moved indoors if low temperatures or high[Read More…]


​The cool, wet weather we have been having is perfect for the root and seed maggots in early planted vegetables. I have already received calls about onion maggots. If you are planting early vegetables, check out the article in the March 19 issue of the Hotline for 2015. So, how do we define early planted vegetables? With regard to root and seed maggots, anything that you plant before the soil temperatures reach about 70°F is subject to attack from the flies. Of course, not every field will suffer damage but the potential is there. The use of black plastic mulch will heat up the soil more quickly and may help to reduce root and seed maggot damage.


​For most insect pests, we have some viable options to manage them organically. For years we have been looking for an organic solution for striped cucumber beetle and bacterial wilt on melons and cucumbers. It appears that we now have a viable option. There is a relatively new product, Cidetrak D, manufactured by Trece, which is sold as a gustatory stimulant. The active ingredient is buffalo gourd root powder, which contains a high percentage of cucurbitacin, which causes cucumber beetle to compulsively feed once they have tasted it. Years ago, there was a product available called SLAM, which contained buffalo root gourd and carbaryl, which we tested extensively and found to be quite effective. There were difficulties in applications, so the product never really took off with growers. More recently, my colleague in Kentucky, Dr. Ric Bessin, has tested Cidetrak D in conjunction with Entrust, which contains the active ingredient[Read More…]


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