As a gardener, you must have put a lot of thought into your plant selection. If you have only a limited amount of land, you want to be efficient with its usage. Hence, you should consider a species that can produce the best yield.
However, you also have to weigh in on the plant’s resistance to disease, among other factors. For instance, you may want to try zucchini, which is a type of summer squash known for how prolific and hardy it is.
Before you decide to choose this plant, you should learn how to protect zucchini from pests! But first, let’s get to know some of the most notable characteristics of zucchini.
Characteristics of Zucchini
Zucchini plants have some unique characteristics. It can grow fast, produce an abundant harvest, and most parts of the plant are edible. You can eat zucchini raw as salad. You can also cook and present it as a side or even part of the savory main dish.
Although often used as vegetables, zucchini is botanically a fruit like pumpkins and cucumbers. Technically, all plants that contain seeds and grow from the flower are fruit. However, in the market, you can find it in the vegetable aisle.
Zucchini is one of the summer squash varieties called Cucurbita pepo, a variety that is harvested and eaten while immature when the seed is not hardening yet.
This condition allows the whole fruit to become edible without excluding the seeds. What’s more, the rind and the blossoms are edible too!
Despite all advantages, you will encounter some challenging problems related to pests when you decide to grow zucchini. Because almost every part of the plant is edible, pests would also swarm in to take a bit. Hence, the importance of learning how to protect zucchini from pests can not be overstated!
According to Missouri Botanical Garden, the Cucurbita pepo variety are prone to infestation by insect pests such as aphids, white flies, squash bugs, and stink bugs. The rapid growth of some bugs capable of killing the vines in just a few days. Apart from bugs, ants are also attracted to zucchini flowers and they can become quite a pesky problem too.
If you find your zucchini plants getting infected by pests, you don’t have to worry. Here are things you need to know about zucchini bugs and some tips to protect your zucchini plants from pests!
Before we get down to learning how to protect zucchini from pests, we need to familiarize ourselves with our enemy. You have to know how to identify the type of zucchini bugs and their symptoms.
Start with aphids, the most common pest that affects zucchini. Aphids are small, winged insects that grow mass rapidly and tend to leave sticky honeydew on leaves. These bugs are often found in zucchini leaves along with ants that are attracted by the honeydew.
Squash bugs are also common pests of zucchini. This insect lays off a bunch of bronze-colored eggs under the leaves. When the eggs aren’t controlled and grow, they feed on leaves and cause speckled yellowish brown leaves. This condition may cause the fruit to get distorted, wilt, or even dead.
Stink bugs are similar to squash bugs but smaller. They damage the fruit by creating yellow halos that cause that damaged part to become mushy.
How do I Keep Bugs off Zucchini Plants?
Pests are, unfortunately, unavoidable. You need to deal with them if you keep outdoor plants like summer squash. Consider your outdoor garden an open space that welcomes any kind of bugs.
Flying bugs may come from above, and pests such as worms may come from the ground. However, by understanding this situation, you can also take preventive action to protect your plants from zucchini bugs!
Covering zucchini plants by using row covers can protect them from flying bugs.
Then, ensure the gardening ground is clear. You need to maintain good weed management to keep any unwanted pests away from your plants.
If these methods feel insufficient to ensure your zucchini plants are away from bugs, you can spray some insecticides or horticultural oils on the plants.
Avoid using dangerous chemical compounds when using the last method to prevent the fruit from getting contaminated. Please wear a mask and gloves when spraying insecticides. Always put safety first! These methods will help you keep zucchini bugs away effectively!
What are Secrets to Grow Zucchini?
Growing zucchini is not a difficult thing to do if you have an experience with seed-based gardening.
Start by germinating the seeds, plant the seedling, and then wait for two months until harvesting season comes.
Seeds and soils are two basic things that we can control. However, you must be prepared to deal with some uncontrollable factors, such as pests and pollination.
While pollination is the key to growing zucchini, pests, on the other hand, hinder zucchini growth.
So, the secrets to growing zucchini well are to ensure pollination is conducted safely and to keep away pests. Here are some secrets to growing zucchini properly :
Pollination happens when the male flowers dust their pollen onto the female flowers. This can happen when both flowers exist on the same plants.
Just check if your plants have both flowers or are dominated by just one kind of flower.
You can also ensure pollination by picking out the male flower and spreading its pollen to female flowers. The secret to making pollination happen easier is to hill the ground when replanting your seedlings. There’s a higher chance of pollination happening when plants grow near each other at different heights.
Look out for pests
Zucchini bugs usually start from eggs. So, paying attention to insect eggs on the soil before you plant zucchini seeds is the first thing you can do to avoid pest infection.
Monitoring your zucchini plants and looking out for any slight changes in leaves, vines, and roots can also help you recognize the sign of pest growth.
Dealing with zucchini bugs requires consistent observation. But everything will be worth it once the zucchinis are ready for harvest!
How to Control Aphids on Zucchini?
Zucchini plants can thrive well if the plants are properly maintained. However, some bugs like aphids can be sneaky even when the effort to keep bugs away has been made.
Although it seems complicated to avoid, aphids can be controlled using safe methods without involving chemicals.
Try to control aphids by using beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps and ladybugs. You can also use organic insecticides or applying insecticidal soaps.
These organic materials won’t harm your plants, and some of them even provide your plants with extra protection.
Using chemical insecticides is not recommended because it’s poisonous and kills most insects. It’s harmful not just to pests but also to the plants and us.
Lastly, don’t let these insights about pests deter you from planting zucchini. Instead, these tips aim to help you properly prepare yourself for growing zucchini. Keep in mind that there are many benefits we can get by growing zucchini!
Now that we have revealed the secrets of how to protect zucchini from pests, you are ready to learn some more gardening tricks! Find out how to grow parsnips from seeds only at Beagreens!