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Can I Prune a Squash Vine

I have a squash vine growing larger than I thought it would. Can, or should, I prune squash?

squash flower

Answer: When it comes to squash vines, yes, you can prune them. You do not have to in order to ensure they remain healthy; it is simply a matter of preference. If they are becoming a little too unruly, or are beginning to take over everything in their twining paths, then pruning may be right choice for you. However, keep in mind that once you begin snipping away at the vines, you might reduce your harvest. You have to weigh the pros and the cons and go from there.

(You can also relocate the vines, in place of pruning, by lightly picking them up and repositioning them elsewhere. If they have began to root, gently loosen the roots from the soil before you try to move them. The vines may appear wilted once moved, but should recover in a few days.)

If pruning is desired, some suggest leaving at least 3 to 5 developing fruits to keep the vine flourishing while also ensuring you have enough squash to harvest. Snip vines with no development at the base or cut back to one or two leaf nodes past the last fruit. Other gardeners recommend cutting a third of the plant back, up to once a month, by trimming them to the main stem. There are many suggestions in how to prune your squash vines, just find the right method that works for you and your space. As long as you don’t crush the leaves and/or injure the main vine, your squash should be fine.

The decision to prune your squash vines is entirely your own. If pruned, you can allow for the desired space you want for the plant. Additionally, many believe that pruning will cause the plant to focus all of its energy on the remaining fruit—thus growing bigger squash. However, if you let your squash vines grow, you will have a larger amount of squash to harvest.

Thus, to prune or not to prune, that is the question. Whatever your decision, with the right amount of care, maintenance and nourishment, you'll still enjoy a bountiful and oh-so-delicious harvest.

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