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Wind Damage on Cucumber


Wind Damage on Cucumber

In a Nutshell

  • Cucumbers grown on sandy soil are particularly susceptible to injuries from winds and sand.
  • Fruits develop small pimple-like lesions where sand grains damage the epidermis and cause interveinal necrosis.


Symptoms look similar to plants grown under severe drought conditions. Freshly sown seeds can be blown out of the soil during strong wind gusts. Newly emerged seedlings are prone to damage by sand corns (sandblasting). In older plants, leaves tend to wilt with continuous wind stress, eventually becoming dry and brittle. Foliage can also show signs of interveinal necrosis and in severe cases be shredded and tattered. Plants grow stunted if continually exposed to wind stress. Later in the season, loss of flower, fruit bruising and wounding are added to the list of symptoms. Bruised fruits with pimple-like lesions are not marketable. Yield losses because of poor flower stand and reduced fruit quality may be expected.

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Symptoms are caused by wind, and are of particular concern in areas with strong, continuous wind and in fields with no windbreaks. The damage may be caused either by soil particles lifted into suspension or by the movement of branches. Wind speed, period of exposure and the growth stage of the plant will determine the severity of the symptoms. Young cucumber plants grown on sandy soil are particularly susceptible to sand abrasion and injury. The movements of branches cause wounds on leaf and fruit surfaces. Bacteria and fungi may colonized the damaged tissues and lead to rot. Recovery depends on the growth stage of the plant and soil moisture, as well as on the weather.

Organic Control

There is no biological control solutions against wind damage. Preventive measures, for example in the form of windbreaks, will help to avoid the damage.

Chemical Control

Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures and biological treatment if available. It is important to first evaluate the extent of the damage and determine if the crop can be saved. Potential treatments will also depend on the growth stage of the plant. In severe cases, treatments should be focused on the prevention of fungal and bacterial diseases, for example with the clear-cutting of the damaged plant parts and the application of fungicidal and antibacterial products.

Preventive Measures

  • Sow in areas that are not prone to wind stress.
  • Shield young seedling with row covers.
  • Install permanent or occasional windbreaks following wind speed, direction and frequency patterns.
  • Use plants with significantly higher or bushier growth than your crop around the field, e.g.
  • maize or rye.
  • Use intercrops with the same characteristics in fields.
  • In case of extreme wind gusts, or different wind directions, you may select more than a single windbreak.
  • Remove damaged leaves and fruits with cutting or pruning tools.
  • Consider also applying additional nitrogen to encourage new growth where appropriate.

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