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Subject:  Jump starting plant growth after fruit set

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Andy H

Brooklyn Corner, Nova Scotia

I have one set 14 DAP and almost immediately the plant started self terminating the side vines and the main vine has come to a dead stop. I know what's happening, what I don't know is how to get some new growth going without causing the fruit to abort. Any suggestions?

7/12/2020 2:22:58 PM

North Shore Boyz

Mill Bay, British Columbia

I’d wait a bit longer Andy, before attempting to boosts any vine growth with ferts or other methods in case the nutrients cause the young pumpkin to abort.

Except for Humic Acid and Kelp, I do t do any additional fertilizer till at least day 20 for safety.

Tissue test would be best advised to see what the plant wants or needs.


7/12/2020 3:09:15 PM

Porkchop(team sLamMer)

Central NY

What’s happening?

7/12/2020 4:17:37 PM


Plymouth, MN

How big is your plant, Andy?

7/12/2020 5:11:20 PM

Andy H

Brooklyn Corner, Nova Scotia

Chop- I have no actively growing sinks, just the pumpkin is growing. Great if its mid August and you have a large plant. Bad if it's mid July and the plant is not big enough.
CJB- the plant is in the 400 square range, maybe less. I gambled and polinated June 28 because there was a promising female 12 feet out, even though I was two weeks behind due to the cool wet Spring.

7/12/2020 6:39:10 PM

Andy H

Brooklyn Corner, Nova Scotia

The above I got from reading Russ Landry’s writings on sink source relationships. I don’t pretend for a minute to understand it at his level but I do think this plant is way out of balance.
If you search. Sink source or sink source relationship, it’s a good read.
Now Glenn, I’ll take your advice and wait a little while but what after that?

7/12/2020 9:46:47 PM

Engel's Great Pumpkins and Carvings

Menomonie, WI (mail@gr8pumpkin.net)

I am in the same boat...No secondaries after the fruit set.

7/13/2020 7:41:07 AM

Joze (Joe Ailts)

Deer Park, WI

The heatwave here in the upper midwest appears to have shocked the plants into a vegetative growth standstill. Dunno how hot you got up there in NS. I agree with Glenn, the best thing to do is nothing, except measure fruit growth. If the fruit is still growing good, then i'd continue doing nothing. 400sq ft isn't horrible. I'd be happy with that plant size if I had a hummer of a fruit. As you allude to, it is possible you've got a super strong sink in the fruit (as measured by continued above average growth...use the Ailts/Landry benchmarks to compare) that is sucking plant energy away from vegetative growth to fruit growth. One thing that can be counted on is a rogue tertiary popping out of the canopy somewheres. when/if that happens, give it a path to establish itself and contribute to later season photosynthesis.

Bottom line...I'm not sure there are any definitive tactics to encouraging vegetative growth through addition of fertilizers or amendments. Many will speculate that any number of products can jumpstart a plant...unless you have a known deficiency as measured through tissue and/or soil testing, I'd sincerely question that logic.

If there is one spot I'd look nutritionally, its nitrogen. Again, tissue testing would be the recommended guidepost. Because of this unverified belief in the community that nitrogen post-pollination leads to aborts, I question if there is nitrogen limitation in the latter half of the season....?

7/13/2020 9:08:17 AM

Joze (Joe Ailts)

Deer Park, WI

Another point of caution here...cessation of vegetative growth following fruit set is also one of the primary indicators of fungal root pathogens (pythium) and, I believe, yellow vine disease. In circumstances like these, one has don their diagnostician's cap. Stunted vine tips that curve upward and produce puny little flowers are also part of the symptomology. In these cases, once again the laboratory is our friend. Get a sample to the path lab rather than trying to throw the kitchen sink at the problem. The only way to manage through these scenarios is through confirmation of the problem. Use a rifle, not a shotgun here.

7/13/2020 9:16:26 AM


Guelph, Ontario

Basically a sink situation. The fruit is taking all the source energy and none available for new leaves. I have seen this before on several plants.

As long as no other problems seen, nothing to get worrid about.

Saves you from having to terminate new vines.

7/13/2020 9:56:37 AM

Andy H

Brooklyn Corner, Nova Scotia

Joze, you hit just about every issue we're dealing with here. It's been unbearably hot and humid for the last few weeks. On this particular plant, all of the side vines and even the main have stopped and have the "puny" flowers at the tips. Still waiting for the rogue tertiary vines.

I have two other plants growing nearby with no apparent issues. The problem plant remained in the large hoop house well into June while the healthy plants literally weathered what mother nature threw at them. Does this mean anything? I don't know. Thanks for the input, it's helpful.

7/13/2020 11:11:20 AM

Joze (Joe Ailts)

Deer Park, WI

"...Does this mean anything?"...Here's my two cents. The extreme heat here has shown me how differently plants respond to environmental factors and its simply incredible. In my pursuit of the Howard Dill crown, I planted three 1211 Ailts and two 1464 Brown plants. The 1211's took the heat like a champ, very little vine tip/leaf singeing. The 1464 plants, on the other hand, show extreme sensitivity to the heat. There's an obvious genetic factor at play here which is only discernible due to planting multiple seeds/plants from the same pumpkin.

The million dollar answer to the question "what happens after a plant experiences significant heat shock?" is one I am waiting for. I welcome those with experience to chime in here. If the stunted vines/leaves begin losing color, I recommend sending in a root sample to the path lab. It is quite possible that heat stress lowers plant natural immunity to pathogens present in the soil, opening them up to increased infection.

7/13/2020 11:43:57 AM

Porkchop(team sLamMer)

Central NY

There ya go...advice from joe...there is no better...I woulda said give a shot of nitrogen before you said the others look fine. Either way, yer so close to the fun part of this hobby...hope they straighten out and fly right for ya!!!

7/13/2020 11:50:04 AM


Plymouth, MN

I suspect there may well be a genetic component to how hard a given plant shuts down after fruit set. One of my two plants last year more or less stopped after fruit set, but the plant was quite a bit smaller than 400 sq ft. This year, I've nearly filled in my 400 sq ft growing area and the vines that aren't terminated are still growing fairly aggressively. There has been some leaf stunting, which may be related to either the heat or where the secondaries are located and how much sun that location gets. This plant (1810) also seems a lot more sensitive to sun than the two I've grown previously and I've seen more scalded leaves than in the past two years.

7/13/2020 12:07:20 PM


Westmoreland, KS

So I don't know what you guys consider "extreme heat" but I will tell you my experience.

Extreme heat for us is 100+ degrees with 115+ heat index. When it is 90+ with around 95+ heat index that feels cool. In the months of Mid June-Early September. So we know heat this is the reason I built a greenhouse. The only reason plants shut down for me outside of the greenhouse was because of bugs i.e. squash vine borers or because I wasn't watering near enough and I was inconsistently fertilizing. When my plants shut down that was it, I had big pumpkins starting to take off but they always stopped or slowed way down.

I grow outdoor plants now for some nice 5-600 pounders I keeps a several sprinklers setup around the entire patch watering 4-8 times a day for about 10 minutes per sprinkler. On our extreme heat days I measured it once and we watered around 300 gallons per plant per day.

When it is in the low 90s we normally water around 150-200 gallons per plant.

This works great for us plants look great no flagging and we get nice big pumpkins even in the heat plants will get over 1000 square feet with very little burn. I've never done tissue testing to see where my nutrients were because the cost didn't seem to be worth it where I live.

7/13/2020 2:56:50 PM

G. Kins

Pirates of the Pacific

I think there are some assumptions here. I think that as a sink, the pumpkin competes with the roots more than the leaves or vine tips? With perfectly healthy soil where no roots ever die, and some trickle feeding, and very even watering... the root systen will be large but it will be a minimal sink, and your pumpkin will have pretty much the whole plant to itself. But with diseased roots, uneven watering, anything working against the roots... will cause the roots to be unable to meet the nutritional demands of the leaves once the pumpkin starts sucking away energy from the roots. I think the leaves have plenty of energy, they manufacture it. Its really roots vs pumpkin. The leaves stopping is perhaps an indication the roots are not in an environment where they can supply all the nutrients on their smaller 'defunded-by-the-pumpkin' budget... Not lack of energy per se? Thats my understanding of it.

7/13/2020 4:47:21 PM

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