How to Prune Pumpkins


Pumpkins are fun to grow in the garden, since the resulting fruit has many uses. However, pumpkins are not without their down side. Keeping pumpkin plants from growing all over your garden requires a constant watch and quite a bit of pruning. Once the main vines get to the length you want, you can cut the ends to stop growth, but watch for many shoots to start growing along the vines.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Cut secondary vines growing from the main vine only if they are dead, are overlapping one another, or they are so close together that you cannot walk between them without harming one. In the case of overlapping, select one vine and trim it. In the case of overcrowding, select the vines you feel are best removed so you can walk in the garden. Use pruning shears to cut the vines off near, but not immediately next to, the main vine.

  • Cut roots that develop on a vine near the developing fruit. Remove any roots on the vine within 3 feet of the pumpkin on either side. In any other case, the extra roots are welcome, since they help feed and anchor the plant.

  • Cut back vines that grow from secondary vines. You want to keep the main vine and shoots that grow from it. Any shoots that grow from secondary shoots will be weak and drain the plant of needed nutrients for pumpkin production.

  • Cut the end of the main vine once it grows 10 to 12 feet beyond the last pumpkin you want on the vine. This forces the vine to stop growing longer and put its energy into pumpkin production. Cut the end off with pruning shears. Cover the ends of snipped vine ends with dirt to stop water loss.

  • Cut the ends off secondary vines when they have grown a length of 8 to 9 feet so they will stop growing and use energy for pumpkin production.

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