Ought to You Prune Winter Squash? Sure and Right here’s Why – Tiny Backyard Behavior

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The arrival of winter squash is likely one of the first indicators of fall. These traditional and scrumptious squash are an incredible addition to any backyard however require a bit of little bit of tender love and care within the type of pruning to assist them meet their full potential.

You must prune your winter squash as a solution to promote fruiting in your crops, enhance accessibility to the squash, and stop the unfold of ailments. Use backyard clippers to trim again the unruly vines and ensure to prune not more than 20% of the foliage.

Though it might probably seem to be winter squash has a thoughts of its personal, don’t let that intimidate you. I’ll share my recommendations on how and when to prune winter squash and what it’s essential search for to maintain your squash in verify.

Benefits to pruning winter squash

The advantages of pruning winter squash are properly well worth the effort and time. Whereas it’s not a necessity, you’ll discover a distinction within the high quality of your squash and your squash beds will really feel far more manageable.

Simpler entry

For these of us gardeners working with smaller areas, pruning again out-of-control squash can vastly enhance accessibility.

As a result of squash vines are inclined to unfold out, it’s straightforward for them to start out invading different elements of your backyard the place you don’t need them. You’ll be able to trim squash vines which have unfold into your walkways or which have began to smother the opposite veggies that you just’re rising. 

Pruning again the squash leaves additionally makes for a better time harvesting. Fewer leaves make the fruit simpler to identify and the prickly leaves don’t get in the way in which and scratch and irritate your pores and skin. 

Pruning the vines may enable you to distinguish which crops are which once you’re rising multiple selection. When you’re working with restricted area, take into account rising a compact winter squash selection.

Promotes fruiting

Later within the season, when the squash have set their fruit, you’ll be able to trim again the vines to encourage ripening. By doing this, the plant is placing its power in the direction of creating the fruit as an alternative of spreading its vines and leaves. 

It additionally helps to choose varieties which have increased yields with the intention to get essentially the most fruit doable out of your winter squash.

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Don’t fear if the vines you’re reducing have flowers on them. You’ll be doing this pruning later within the season so these flowers won’t have the time to become edible squash earlier than the frost kills them.

Simply keep in mind to concentrate to what you’re trimming. You don’t need to by chance minimize off a squash earlier than it’s had the possibility to ripen.

Prevents illness spreading

Pruning winter squash leaves will help stop the unfold of widespread ailments like powdery mildew or anthracnose. You’ll be able to take away any diseased leaves to maintain them from spreading to the remainder of the plant. 

Understand that if a lot of the leaves in your plant are exhibiting indicators of the illness then eradicating all of them received’t save the plant. This methodology solely works if the illness is caught early sufficient and is barely on a few the leaves. 

Pruning the leaves additionally will increase airflow across the plant making it far more troublesome for mould or mildew to journey. 

Tips on how to prune winter squash

The way you prune your winter squash relies on what a part of the plant you’re trying to prune. You’ve got the choice between the vines, the leaves, and the flowers. I’ll stroll you thru the best way to do all three.

With all three of those choices, you simply need to just remember to don’t prune too closely, particularly in case your winter squash hasn’t set fruit but. When you’re ever not sure, it’s higher to err on the facet of warning and prune solely a small quantity.

As a rule of thumb, I don’t prune any greater than 20% of the foliage.


To prune the vines, you’ll need to use a pair of backyard clippers to do the reducing. Minimize the vine about just a few inches from the place it’s creating a fruit, taking further care to not prune too near the fruit. 

After I reduce winter squash vines, I search for the vines which might be both considerably longer than the opposite ones or vines which have began to wander into walkways or different beds. These vines are generally known as runners and might take power away from the fruit. 


Pruning the leaves is admittedly solely vital when attempting to stop the unfold of illness as I discussed earlier. Whenever you prune again the vines you find yourself taking a number of leaves with you anyway so it’s like a two-for-one deal. 

You’ll be able to both clip again leaves at their base with backyard clippers or you’ll be able to pinch them off together with your fingers. 

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Once more, in case your winter squash hasn’t set fruit but, prune sparingly. When you prune the leaves too closely, your plant might not be capable to photosynthesize because it must and might have stunted development or low squash yields. 


Pruning winter squash flowers is a good way to get extra fruit out of your crops. Squash have each female and male flowers with the feminine flowers being those that type the squash. 

The male flowers may be pruned again to advertise fruit improvement from the feminine flowers. Simply ensure to not harvest all the male flowers or there received’t be something left to pollinate the feminine flowers, leaving you with no fruits.

Pruning the flowers is as straightforward as fastidiously selecting the flowers off together with your fingers. 

One thing else that’s so nice about squash flowers is that they’re utterly edible! So ensure to avoid wasting the flowers you prune to fry up or add to your salads.

When to prune winter squash

Most often, you received’t need to prune your winter squash till it has set and developed all of the fruit you need it to. Your squash must be prepared for pruning round late summer season or early fall. 

It will pace up the ripening course of and your winter squash can be prepared for harvest by the point September and October roll round. 

You could discover that vines you’ve already pruned find yourself rising again. That is regular and so they can merely be pruned once more. 

Be certain that to not do any pruning after heavy rains or whereas the leaves are moist as you run the danger of spreading illness amongst your squash. 


After I discover vines which have began to creep out of their beds however I’m not fairly able to prune, I practice them to get them to go the place I would like them to.

To coach your squash, fastidiously carry the vine and transfer it within the course you need it to go. For me, that normally means pointing the vine to the left or the proper or tucking it again into the mattress the place it belongs. Your squash will proceed to develop within the course that you just level the vines.

When you’re rising squash on a trellis, the method may be very related. As your vines develop, assist them proceed to develop upwards by wrapping the vines across the trellis. This helps the tendrils discover one thing to connect to which is able to strengthen the plant so it might probably help the load of heavy squash.

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I prefer to verify on my winter squash for coaching about as soon as every week however relying on how a lot you’re rising, you’ll be able to practice your squash as wanted.


Pruning your winter squash is a fast and straightforward manner to enhance the standard of your fruit. You’ve got much less illness strain, your fruit will ripen faster, and it saves you area in your backyard. All these are a win in my e book!

So long as you prune after the fruit has set and take care to not prune too closely, you’re positive to have a improbable squash harvest this fall. 

Try these must-have gardening merchandise

You don’t want a lot to start out gardening, however some instruments and merchandise will make a distinction in how snug and efficient gardening may be for you. Listed here are my favorites:

  • Backyard Trowel. An excellent backyard trowel will final you a few years. I really like how sturdy this hand trowel from WOLF-Garten is, the metallic doesn’t bend and it has a pleasant grip.
  • Trimming Scissors. I exploit them for delicate pruning and harvesting all summer season lengthy, and so they’re tremendous useful. These Teflon Trimming Scissors are further good as a result of they don’t rust as simply.
  • Dutch Hoe. Dutch hoes could appear old school, however there’s nothing like a fast sweep by the topsoil to eliminate small weeds – no bending required. I really like WOLF-Garten’s choice: this dutch hoe coupled with their common deal with.
  • Develop Lights. These develop lights from Mars Hydro are tremendous sturdy, but dimmable, in order that they match each stage of development. They don’t put out an excessive amount of warmth and are very economical.
  • Seedling Trays. There’s an artwork to picking the perfect dimension for seedling trays in order that it holds the right quantity of water and offers the roots sufficient room to develop. These germination plugs are good when coupled with 1020 backside trays. 
  • Liquid Fertilizer. You’ll have to feed your crops from the seedling stage, all the way in which to fruiting. This natural fish & seaweed mix is a really versatile choice. Use it half-strength for younger crops and full-strength for established crops.

Browse our record of instruments, fertilizers & pesticides, indoor rising merchandise and seed store suggestions – we hope you discover our choice helpful and it saves you a while!