Commercial Production of Pickling &
Slicing Cucumbers in North Carolina


Common Problems

Plants white or yellow and stunted in areas of the field. These symptoms are most often caused by frost or chilling. During cool, moist weather, growth is likely to be white or yellow and stunted in the low areas of the field where cold air tends to settle. The same areas are likely to have more vigorous growth in warm, dry spring weather.

If areas in fields are observed during summer or early fall, pull some plants and examine them for root-knot galls.


Young plants wilt and fall over. Wilting may be caused by nematodes or "damping-off." If "damping-off" is the cause, you will notice some evidence of rotting at or near the soil line. Another possible cause is the seedcorn maggot, which can be found feeding on the roots or inside the stems of young seedlings.


Vines produce only male flowers. This is a very common problem, especially during the spring crop; it is most often associated with monoecious cultivars. Cool temperature and excessive nitrogen may also be related to this problem. Usually the problem is temporary and will be resolved when lateral vines develop to produce female blooms with normal frequency.


Desiccated (dried up) areas on the upper surface of leaves that appear light in color. Such areas occur regularly in early spring and fall when the humidity is low. These areas are caused by wind-blown sand, leaves rubbing together, or both. This abrasive action ruptures the leaf tissue causing the plant sap to evaporate and the tissue to die.


Young fruits turn brown and shed. This condition is usually caused by lack of pollination brought on by inadequate numbers of bees, excessively hot and dry conditions, and, in some cases, plant diseases.


Meandering paths or trails on leaf surface. These paths are feeding trails of a small insect larvae (leafminer) inside the leaf. They are rarely a serious problem. With care, the very small brownish larvae can be lifted out with the point of a knife. Leafminer injury is sometimes a point of entry for disease-producing organisms. Crop protectants are available for control.


Young plants emerge, become chlorotic, and die back to soil level while roots appear normal. Problem appears intermittently along the row. Some parts of the row not affected. This condition is typical of triazine herbicide injury and most often results when cucumbers are planted after corn that was treated with a triazine herbicide.


Next section: Literature Cited

Crops      Commercial Horticulture