Common Problems With Watermelon Vine & How To Solve

Observing the watermelon vine can tell whether you will have a plentiful watermelon crop. If it’s weak, pay all your attention to recovering it. Otherwise, you will have a terrible harvest time. 

This post will cover some problems that may happen to watermelon vines. Keep scrolling down to find out everything needed for the recovery. 

What Makes A Weak Watermelon Vine?

Weak watermelon wines indicate that you are not caring for your crop correctly. Here are some common causes for this problem and recommended solutions for each. 

Wrong growing time

Watermelon plants should have at least 100 days of growing in warm weather for fruit to ripen fully. Since plant growth and temperature have a strong correlation, watermelon vines may perish if grown at the wrong time.  

So, if you plan to harvest your crop in late summer, grow it about 100 days ahead of time. This duration of the planting season is different in some areas, though. 

The best tip is to start seedlings indoors first. Then, the plants can start their growing season earlier, no matter the weather. Remember to use biodegradable containers for easier transplanting.  

Lack of sunlight

Sunlight is necessary for almost any type of plant. Watermelons need six to eight hours of sun exposure to thrive. If there isn’t enough light, the vines will die. 

To avoid this problem, choose a place where your plants can receive that much light. Also, avoid shades from other plants and buildings. 

If you notice any sign of wilting leaves, consider moving your plants to another brighter spot. Alternatively, remove adjacent obstructions.  

Nitrogen deficiency  

Watermelons require essential nutrients, like N-P-K (nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus), to yield vigorous vines and big fruits. Improper fertilization will lead to stunted growth, leaf drop, and even plant death. 

How to solve this issue? It’s necessary to check the soil content regularly and feed your plants what they need. Generally, watermelons love midseason compost to flourish. 

We divide the fertilization into two phases, each demanding a different nutritional content:

  • Early feeding: When the plants are growing, give them a fertilizer that is richer in nitrogen. This nutrient encourages vine and leaf development. 
  • Second feeding: During the flowering stage, your plants need more potassium and phosphate for their blooms and fruits. 

Besides, growing watermelons with incompatible plants, like pumpkins, may also lead to nitrogen deficiency. 

Inconsistent watering

Cultivating watermelons is best accomplished in hotter climates. And you need to water appropriately to guarantee that outcome.  

Underwatering and overwatering cause harm to the crop. Please note that watermelons need one to two inches of water every week. 

Moist soil is also important. However, soggy soil is problematic because it leads to rotting roots and swelling vines. 

You can water your crop by installing a drip irrigation system. It will spray the garden with water frequently and evenly, eliminating fungus and dirt.  

Insects and pests

Insects can destroy your crop at any time, especially if you grow leafy species like watermelons or Zucchini Diseases Pictures. It’s also a big headache for every gardener. This table will give you some clues about controlling pests and insects in your watermelon crop:

Insects/Pests Signs Solution 
Spider mites Yellow dots on the leaves  Spray neem oil 
Fusarium wilt  Lesions on some parts of the vine   Apply proline (an approved fungicide for plants) 
Leaf miners  White splotches and streaks on the leaves  Pick affected leaves manually 
Aphids Leaf damage and discoloration  Spray a mixture of dish soap and white oil 
Cucumber beetles Damage to watermelon vines and blooms  Spray neem oil and remove the affected parts by hand 

 

Improper temperature

Between 65°F and 95°F is the optimal temperature range for watermelons. They grow better in warmer conditions. 

Because watermelons are temperature-sensitive, they can’t withstand long-term cold or heat stress. If it is too late for the growing season, you may start seedlings indoors before bringing them outside. 

Poor soil quality

With bad soil, your watermelon vines may gradually wilt and die. They can’t take up nutrients from nutrient-poor soil. 

Extremely compact and rocky soil can also damage watermelon vines, lowering production. Moreover, they will take longer to reach maturity if grown in poor soil. 

Watermelons flourish on loamy, well-drained, sandy soil. They can battle with clay in the soil and inadequate drainage if the pH level remains 6.0 to 7.5. 

Add seaweed, compost, or manure to the soil for the best result. Your watermelons love nutrients from those materials.  

Should You Prune Watermelon Vines?

Although pruning is not necessary when cultivating watermelons, it helps enhance vine output and yield bigger fruits. Here is how to do it properly: 

  • Find the main stems from the plant’s center. This is where the plant produces lateral development and energy-producing leaves that shade its fruits.
  • Check under the leaves for watermelons sprouting along the main stem. 
  • Choose two to three healthy watermelons to stay on each main stem.
  • Use clean hand pruners to remove the stems of malformed and sick melons. Cut them above the fruit instead of the main stem.
  • Look for dead vines and clip them away where they emerged. 
  • Cut the main stems that can’t yield fruits at the ground level because they will absorb the water needed to raise other productive vines. 
  • Check the leaf surfaces frequently for signs of mildew that may kill the leaves, stem, and plant. Then, cut off infected leaves to a point where the vine looks healthy. 
  • After harvesting, prune the vines that have given fruits and can’t do it anymore. 
  • Wash the pruners with water and mild soap after pruning to avoid diseases spreading to healthy plants the next pruning time. 

Conclusion

Watermelon vines will suffer if you don’t give them proper care. Growing seasons are essential and make a solid preparation for the flowering ahead. Hence, check the vines carefully so you will have a fruitful crop. 

Is your watermelon garden doing well? If you have any problems while growing them, please let us know. We’re always by your side. 

Thank you for reading! 

For over eighty years the Wightman Family has been growing and selling fruits and vegetables at the farm.

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