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Cut pumpkin plant: With these tips you properly care for your pumpkins and get a bountiful harvest

Pumpkin plants are large and have numerous leaves. The essence of this plant is that it gets long tendrils. That is why it is so important to take care of the plants if you want to have a rich harvest and bigger pumpkins. Many gardeners think that the only way to keep a pumpkin vine alive is to let it grow. However, this is not true. While pruning the plant is not required, it is recommended. You will discover how to prune your pumpkin plant below.

Cultivate healthy pumpkin plants

Cut pumpkin plant to get rich harvest

Make sure your pumpkin vines receive adequate sun, water and nutrients at their planting site – before planting and during the growing season. Mulching your squash plants will help suppress weeds and retain moisture in the soil. Pumpkins need regular watering unless rainfall is sufficient to meet their water needs (about 3 inches per week). The healthy pumpkin vines bear more fruit.

Before we get into when and how to prune your pumpkin plant, there are a few things you should know about its growing habits. The main vine is the one that hangs directly from the roots and grows out of the ground. It is the thickest one you will see when inspecting your plant. From the main tendril grow secondary tendrils called “stolons” that form secondary roots if left to grow unchecked. Leaves and flowers – and thus fruit – can grow on each of these stolons. However, it is advisable to remove all tertiary runners as soon as you notice them to avoid depriving the main and secondary vines of nutrients.

Pruning pumpkin plant – tips

Care for and prune pumpkin vines

Cut pumpkin plants to control them

Usually you don’t see the tendrils right away, but they grow after the first leaves develop. In the beginning, they look like a small, green thread. After a few weeks, the pumpkin vines become stronger, thicker and begin to spread. In the main growing season, they can even grow longer every day.

Pruning the pumpkin vines gives the plants enough room to grow. It also makes maintenance easier and promotes good air circulation between the leaves, which can prevent disease and pests. When you prune the pumpkin plants, they can usually focus entirely on the growth of the surviving pumpkins.

Cut pumpkin plant – remove dead or diseased growth.

Cut pumpkin plant - remove dead or diseased growth

If your pumpkins are affected by a disease or part of the plant is dying, remove those parts with sharp garden shears. Always disinfect your shears before and after use to minimize contact with potential contaminants.

Cut back pumpkin leaves

Severe or regular pruning of pumpkin plants is usually not necessary. They have a spreading growth habit, and pruning the vines and especially their leaves during the growing season can result in fewer pumpkins.

Pruning to control the pumpkin plants

Cut the leaves of pumpkin - how to do it correctly


If your squash plants become unruly or you need to redirect or restrict their growth, pruning can help achieve these goals. As with removing dead or diseased growth, use sharp, clean garden shears. To remove leaves, cut at the base of the main shoot. To remove shoot tips, or to encourage the plant to put more energy into remaining fruit growth, cut the pumpkin vines back to where the last fruit formed. Never cut back the pumpkin plants you want to save too much, or they may not recover.

Pruning pumpkins is harmless as long as it is done properly. Be sure to avoid cutting them back with great force, as this can minimize foliage, which affects photosynthesis and impacts the health and fertility of the plant.

Prune pumpkin plant: Here’s how to do it right

Cut pumpkin plant - tips

To prune, all you need is a pair of gardening gloves, pruning shears and a tape measure. To prune the main vines, measure 3-4 feet from the center of the plant where it grows out of the ground. If fruit is already growing at this point and you want to keep it, don’t prune yet. Instead, measure about 1 m behind the last healthy fruit and cut there.

However, if the fruit is soft or it is the sixth or seventh pumpkin on the plant, including those growing on the secondary stolons, cutting it off can help the plant focus its energy on the other five pumpkins. This means bigger, tastier and more beautiful pumpkins for you.

To prune the stolons, measure about 10 feet from where the stolon branches off the main stem and cut it off there. Because they take nutrients and energy away from the main and secondary shoots, it’s a good idea to cut off runners as soon as you see them.

Caring for and pruning pumpkin vines


After pruning, bury the cut tip 3 to 4 inches deep in the soil and cover it with mulch. This will keep the plant from drying out, and it will also make it harder for pests to get in or diseases to appear.

If you keep the soil moist, a secondary root system should develop at the interface, providing more nutrients to the growing pumpkins. If you keep the plant well-groomed and clean, you will encourage the growth of strong, healthy pumpkins.