Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a fleshy fruit growing in most countries. Especially they grow well under hot weather conditions. That’s why it is a famous fruit in the Asian region.
The Watermelon is a relatively large fruit that contains a lot of water. Also, its flesh has a sweet flavor. So, when people feel trusty or dehydrated, they tend to eat or drink Watermelon. It is an excellent alternative to water.
Because of these reasons, most farmers and gardeners cultivate this delicious fruit in their gardens.
However, when growing Watermelon, gardeners have to face some trouble. Most of them are related to plant growth, leaf yellowing, leaf curling, and crop. When I investigated these problems, I found that the same factors are caused to them.
- Lack of water
- Soil texture
- Cool temperatures
- Pest and disease
So, among the above issues, leaves curling is a common topic. Some people describe this status as squash leaf curl or watermelon curly mottle.
As an agriculturist, I share my experience and the possible reasons for watermelon leaf curl. Further, here you can find some appropriate treatments too. So, read the full article!
First of all, I will answer your question!
Watermelon leaves can be curled due to many reasons. But the most common things are diseases and insects. Especially Watermelon leaves curling is a viral disease spread by the insect vector called whiteflies.
Whiteflies are tiny insects that feed on many fruits and vegetable sap. Also, they are associated with many ornamental plants. They spread this disease plant to plant by their piercing mouthparts and saliva.
Bemisia tabaci is major whitefly responsible for spreading this viral disease. This species is native to the deserts of Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Hence, if you are growing Watermelon in these areas, try to protect your fruits from them.
Rather than these areas, the watermelon curling disease is found in Arizona, California, and Texas too. Further, Egypt, Central America, Southeastern Asia, and midlist countries also have the same issue.
Therefore it is essential to identify this disease at early stages and apply treatments. So, let’s check the symptoms related to Watermelon leaves curling is.
Symptoms of watermelon leaf curl
Did you notice the below symptoms of your watermelon vine? Or else watermelon leaves?
- Crumpled leaves
- Wrinkled leaves
- Curled foliage leaves
- Yellow mottling around the leaf veins
Further, if any watermelon plant infects this virus, its growth will stunt. Why?
Leaves are the primary source of photosynthesis. Thus, if your watermelon plant suffers from leaf curling, this photosynthesis process will be slow down.
As a result, the plant produces little food or no food. Finally, this affects fruit production.
So, little or no fruit is another symptom of the watermelon leaves curling.
Young and Matured watermelon plants
The younger watermelon plants are more susceptible to this virus. Therefore, protect your younger plant more carefully. If this virus spreads to them, your favorite fruit plant may die.
The older Watermelon plants bit resist leaf curling disease. They can grow out of the disease and produce fruits.
But do not misunderstand this situation. You may think your plant will recover itself and produce fruits as usual. But it is wrong!
The virus will remain in your plant until it destroys. Hence, after cultivating the fruit, burn them immediately. It will help to prevent the spread of this virus to your other fruit and vegetable plants.
How to treat watermelon leaf curl virus/ Leaf curl disease
As I mentioned earlier, whiteflies are the major reason for this viral disease. Therefore, you must protect your young watermelon plants from them
Generally, the whiteflies are abundant in the midsummer period. So, it is the most peak time the leaf curl disease becomes the top level. Preventing is the best method rather than spending dollars on treatments.
So, try the below tips!
If you notice a minor infestation, you can follow the simple step to avoid leaf curl. Spray water to the affected areas of the watermelon plant. Here, you can use a hose. It will help dislodge the adult and juvenile whiteflies and their eggs from the watermelon plant.
Once it is done, you can further protect your plant by applying insecticidal soap.
Insecticidal soap and sprays are also okay for this disease. But the, systemic insecticides are more effective for whiteflies. It has a special ability to control the whiteflies. Further, you can use it to prevent the disease from spreading quickly.
Apply this insecticide at the very beginning when you see the symptoms.
Further, if you are a farmer, you may know how insecticides work with pests. Any insecticide has the potential to kill or harm other beneficial fauna.
Some natural predators work against the whiteflies, such as lacewings, lady beetles, and minute pirate bugs. Sometimes these insecticides can affect these beneficial flies too. Thus, when you add them, strictly follow the label guidelines. Do not use overdoses.
You can cover the farming area using a fry net. It will block the entering path of whiteflies. So, this is the best option to reduce the risk.
If you could not find a fly net, use an old mosquito net. Then cover the surrounding watermelon vine.
Hang the Yellow sticky Traps
Traps are a common tool among farmers. It will build to attract non-beneficial animals and fries. However, whiteflies are tiny insects. They may easily stick on these yellow index cards. The color of this paper is good for attracting the whitefly!