As a cucumber farmer, have you noticed that your cucumber leaves feel crispy? If so, you are not alone. Despite the term “cucumber plant”, the leaves of this valuable summer vine are often overlooked until something is wrong with them. Cucumber leaves are often yellowed, distorted, have holes in them or are just plain crispy.
Cucumber Leaves Feel Crispy
So, what might be some of the reasons for your cucumber plant’s crispy leaves?
1. Fertilizer Burn
Cucumber leaves are sensitive to fertilizer burn, so it’s important not to over fertilize cucumbers. Symptoms of fertilizer burn are the yellowing and crispy leaves, particularly around the edges. If you have been fertilizing your cucumber plants recently, make a foliar fertilizer application of diluted fish emulsion or compost tea.
2. Powdery Mildew
Excess nitrogen can induce powdery mildew on cucumber leaves, causing them to turn yellow and crispy. Also, powdery mildew can make cucumber leaves look like they are covered with a dusting of flour, making them appear to be white instead of green.
As cucumber leaves continue to become yellow and crispy, powdery mildew can also move to the stems and fruit of the plant.
Aphids cause cucumber leaves to yellow and turn crispy, but they can also be responsible for distorted leaves and holes in the foliage. They also secrete a sticky residue called “honeydew” which can lead to sooty mold problems.
In addition, aphids can spread viruses such as cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) and watermelon mosaic virus (WMV). If any of your cucumbers develop yellow leaves and small, striped cucumbers, it may be time to start scouting for aphids.
4. Excess Moisture
In some cases, cucumber leaves can become crisp from too much moisture. This is more likely to happen in the late summer and early fall when days are warm and cloudy and nights can be cool and humid. This type of weather pattern is ideal for grey mold to develop on cucumbers, causing the whole plant to wilt and die.
To prevent excess moisture on cucumbers, install a drip irrigation system for your cucumber plants or make sure that you are not over watering your cucumbers.
5. Lack of Enough Space for Air Circulation
Cucumbers are vining plants that need plenty of space to spread out, so be sure you are giving your cucumber plants at least 6 to 8 inches of space in between plants. If you are growing cucumbers on a trellis, make sure you are harvesting the tendrils regularly so that your cucumbers have enough room to grow.
6. Competition From Weeds
If you are finding crispy leaves on your cucumbers, check the surrounding area for other plants. Especially in late summer and early fall, weeds can take away plenty of needed sunlight, nutrients and moisture from cucumbers. Make sure to cultivate the soil before planting your cucumber seeds or seedlings so that weeds are not able to compete with your cucumbers for water and nutrients.
7. Poor Fruit Set
Cucumber plants that are not pollinated properly will not be able to set fruit. If the female flowers of a cucumber plant are not pollinated, they will turn brown and dry up without producing any cucumbers.
Sometimes, cucumbers will have male and female flowers on the same plant. It is important to make sure that both of these types of flowers are pollinated. For example, if you have a caged cucumber plant that is not getting pollinated, you might want to try removing the cage so that bees can more easily find the flowers. Also, remember to keep your cucumbers watered so that they are pollinated properly.
8. Leaf Scorch
Leaf scorch is a type of physiological leaf damage that causes dry, brown patches on the leaves. It can develop if the plant does not have enough water, if the temperature is too high for the plant to support or if there is not enough sunlight for photosynthesis.
If you suspect leaf scorch, try watering your cucumber plants more often or moving them to an area where they will get direct sunlight. You can try shading the plant with a piece of paper to see if leaves will green up. If leaf scorch does not improve after you take these steps, the plant may be suffering from a disease.
Cucumber Leaves Feel Crispy: Final Thoughts
If you are finding crispy leaves on your cucumbers, make sure to consider the many possible causes and problems that could be causing this leaf damage. If you take the time to troubleshoot crispy cucumber leaves , your cucumbers should be back in tip-top shape before long.