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One integral part of the pumpkin plant is its vines. Providing them with proper maintenance is essential for a successful harvest. Learn to know how to control pumpkin vines with our following mini guide. Growing them in your garden is not rocket science. If you provide them with the right soil temperatures and necessary conditions, they can thrive. Controlling pumpkin vines is one of the essential steps in the maintenance of pumpkins.
To control pumpkin vines, you need to understand their growth. Not many know that once the main vines of a pumpkin plant have established properly, secondary and tertiary vines also start to appear. All the vines need to be pruned for proper pumpkin growth and also covered in soil to promote disease prevention.
Along with controlling the vines from growing absurdly and becoming a hurdle in the successful growth of pumpkins, they also need to be provided with some general care. The vines need at least six hours of sunlight a day. In addition, the vines are known to need about 2.5 centimeters of water every seven days. Learn more about their growth, maintenance, and general care.
Growth of the Vines
Pumpkin vines do not appear right after you plant your seeds. After about 1 to 2 weeks of sowing the pumpkin seeds, sprouts that look like small leaves appear from the ground. About after a week of the sprouts appearing, dark green leaves with jagged edges start emerging. They continue to grow for a few more weeks after which vines start to become apparent.
In the initial stage, they just look like thin green threads, although that changes soon. Regardless of the pumpkin species you’ve planted, the vines grow in the same manner. They start spreading rapidly and tend to get tangled with each other. After the proper establishment of vines, secondary vines start showing too. The pumpkin fruit actually grows on them, therefore, it is necessary to keep them maintained and in proper health.
Secondary vines, also known as runners or side shoots, grow rapidly along the main vine. They are to be encouraged if you want your fruit to thrive. But their growth needs to be managed and controlled through methods like pruning.
It is also important that you train the secondary vines to grow out and far from the main vine and the pumpkin fruit itself. As they need to be cut off, you wouldn’t want the pumpkin fruit coming in the way. Doing so also prevents overcrowding and thus provides you with enough room to water, spray insecticides, and generally maintain the plant. Tertiary vines are those that grow further off the secondary ones. It is recommended to trim them to encourage pumpkin growth.
These roots establish on the vine at the base of each leaf stem. They are essential and their growth needs to be encouraged as much as possible. They help the pumpkin plant to efficiently withstand windstorms. They develop when the vine comes in contact with the ground where the seeds are planted. Moist soil also promotes its growth; therefore you can cover the root nodes of the vines with rich garden soil for the purpose. Compost and mulch can be added to the soil to boost the organic matter and lock the moisture in.
One more thing that you need to take care of is training these roots away from your fruit. They cause the vines to attach to the ground and thus it becomes impossible for them to move with the growth of the pumpkin fruit. This contributes greatly to stem stress and can cause them to split. One con associated with covering your secondary roots with soil is that you don’t know what is going on below the surface but the prevention from insect damage and thriving fruits are worth the risk.
Pruning the Pumpkin Vines
Things you’ll need
- Leather gardening hand gloves
- Pruning shears
- Rich soil
Firstly, you need to put on some heavy leather gardening hand gloves to protect your hands from getting cut or bruised by the sharp vines while working on them.
Cut the Tertiary Vines
Now use your pruning shears to cut the tertiary vines growing out from the secondary ones as soon as they start developing. Cut them right from where they meet the secondary vines.
Cut the Secondary Vines
Measure your secondary vines cut about ten to twelve ft along the joint where they meet the main vine. After taking measurements, cut them with your hand pruning shears.
Cover the Vines with Soil for Disease Prevention
Once you’ve made your cut, the plant will be open and prone to diseases and infections. To prevent any disease or fungus from entering the plant and to minimize the water loss, cover the cut ends of the secondary vines with soil. Make sure the soil you use is rich. You can add mulch to your soil for natural enrichment.
Cut the Main Vines
Let the main vine develop until pumpkin fruit begins to emerge. Cut these vines with your hand pruning shears about ten to fifteen ft beyond the last pumpkin fruit on the vine. A single pumpkin can have 2 to 3 main vines, and it is possible to have 1 healthy pumpkin fruit produced on each vine. Start with determining which pumpkin fruit is the healthiest out of all of them and then remove any later fruits as they grow. As the main vine keeps developing rapidly, continue to cut them as required so that the plant concentrates on using its energy on developing the pumpkin fruit instead of on growing the main vine.
Once again after cutting the main vine as required, cover its cut end with rich soil. It will prevent any diseases from entering the plant and will help in preserving the plant’s moisture.
Train the Secondary Vines
At this step, it is important to train the secondary vines to grow away from the fruit and the main vine so that they don’t overlap and form a clutter by intertwining with each other. Relocate the secondary vines at an angle of ninety degrees from the main vine. This will provide you with enough space for fruit development and maintenance, increased air circulation, and you’ll have better access to the main vine.
General Pumpkin Vine Care
All the nutrients and beneficial matter reach the pumpkin fruit through the vines so it’s of utmost importance that you keep them healthy.
Sunlight and Water
The pumpkin vines need at least six hours of sunlight to thrive. The warmer your soil is the better. Along with the sunshine, they also need a significant amount of water. It is recommended that the pumpkin vines should get about two and a half centimeters of water every seven days.
Prevention of Diseases and Pests
Pumpkin vines are likely to get one of these two diseases: powdery mildew and bacterial wilt. Without proper care, this illness can damage and kill your entire crop. The vine borer and pumpkin beetle are two common insects that are known to damage pumpkin plants. You can use organic insecticidal soap or antifungal spray to get rid of those pests. You can also pluck them off from the pumpkin vines as you find them. If some of your vines are already infected, the best way known to control the disease from spreading is to dig the vines up and burn them.
Pumpkin vines are known to retain their green color and remain fresh and healthy until it is almost time to harvest the fruit. During that time, the vines start to wither, die, and decompose. This is not something you need to panic about. It simply indicates that it’s harvest time! If you’ve provided the necessary care to them, your pumpkins won’t be compromised.
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