Common Cucumber Problems



Cucumber Beetles: 1/4 inch long. Black and yellow spotted or striped beetles. Feed on foliage, flowers, stems or fruit. Fly from one plant to another. Crops Attacked: Cucumber, muskmelon, pumpkin, squash (summer and winter), and watermelon.

Symptoms Of Damage: Holes in foliage; chewed flowers; scarred stems and fruit surfaces. Spotted and striped cucumber beetles attack seedlings as they emerge from the soil. The beetle may appear in large numbers and can quickly stunt or kill the small plants. Beetles may carry bacterial wilt disease that causes plants to wilt and die.

Aphids: Watch for buildup of colonies of aphids on the undersides of the leaves.

TO CONTROL INSECTS- Spray vines immediately after transplanting with a combination of rotenone and pyrethrum. Sevin also offers some protection. Commercial growers control cucumber beetle with garden dusts or sprays containing methoxychlor, which is applied to the transplants before they are set out in the garden. Guard transplants against cutworm damage by fitting stems with paper or metal collars.

Bacterial Wilt: Plants are affected with the bacterial wilt disease by the attack of cucumber beetles. The disease organism overwinters inside the beetles' bodies. The beetles hibernate among the trash and weeds around the garden, emerging in time to feed on tender cucumber seedlings. Plants usually are infected with the disease-causing bacteria long before they show any symptoms. When the vines wilt and collapse (usually about the same time that the first cucumbers are half grown), it is too late to prevent the disease. Plant disease-resistant varieties, plant cucumber crop in a different spot in the garden each year and avoid planting where melons, pumpkins or squash grew previously. They all belong to the same family and harbor the same diseases.


Once in a while, you end up with misshaped cucumbers. Have you ever wondered what could be causing this to happen to the fruit? Deformed cucumbers can happen for a number of reasons. If your cucumber is funny shaped, you might have a problem with pollination. If there is a lack of insects in your garden area because you have been so diligent in removing or destroying them, you might find that there is nothing to pollinate your cucumbers. These plants require honeybees for pollination and if there is a lack of bees in your area, you will have difficulties. This leads to misshaped cucumbers every time.

Pollination has obviously occurred because there are fruits, but if you have low insect activity, then not enough pollination has occurred causing deformed fruits.

Sometimes too hot of temperatures can actually kill the pollen keeping pollinators away. If this happens, again you will have deformed cucumbers. Sometimes your deformed cucumbers could be caused by moisture stress.

Fertilization is needed in every garden. However, if your cucumber is funny shaped, you might need to back off your fertilization. Sometimes too much fertilization can cause deformed cucumbers. You can back off the fertilization because as they mature, they require less anyhow. As they mature, they can self-sustain. This means you dont have to do anything but watch them mature.

If your problem is discolored cucumbers, meaning they are yellow instead of green, your issue could be because you planted yellow fleshed cucumbers. There is such a thing, and it happens that sometimes you could have planted them by accident. Check your packaging. Otherwise, this could also be a virus. You might want to pick the yellow ones to encourage more fruit to produce, and see if those also come in yellow. If they do, you probably planted yellow ones, and you probably don't have anything to worry about.

Finally, if you are wondering why your cucumber is funny shaped, it could be that there was low fertility. In these cases, deformed cucumbers can be prevented by side-dressing with a good fertilizer. This will help later cucumbers form more normally than your early ones.