When it comes to what needs pruning Uchiki Kuri squash might not be top of your list, but allow me to show you not only why this is a good idea but also how to do it.
Why Prune Uchiki Kuri?
It is a good idea to prune most squshes if you are growing them vertically, and if you are growing Uchiki Kuri then I do recommend you grow it vertically.
By removing the lower older leaves we let more light in which will help the squash at the bottom of the plant to ripen. It will also improve airflow which reduces the risk of problems like powdery mildew.
It also helps to reduce the amount of water your plant needs which is very important in dry summers like the one most of us are experiencing right now!
The older leaves don’t do much photosynthesizing, but they do use up a lot of water. So by removing them you reduce the plant’s water uptake but don’t really damage its ability to grow.
I don’t however, prune the actual stems to prevent further growth, I let these plants grow as big and as much as they want.
Here you can see my plants growing up support and to be honest, growing out of control, they need some taming.
Step 1 – Locate Yellow Or Damaged Leaves
These are the leaves we want to remove first and they will most likely be the oldest leaves on your plant and you will find them right at the bottom.
These are the best candidates for removal as they won’t be providing much energy to the plant at this stage so can be removed without worry.
Step 2 – Use Secateurs To Snip The Stems
Once you have located the leaves you want to remove just go in with a pair of secateurs and snip the leaves off on the stem. This will be really easy as the stems are hollow and cut easily.
Step 3 – Remove Leaves Around Hidden Fruit
It can also be a really good idea to remove the leaves around fruits that are hidden away in the middle of your plant. This will allow more light into them which will, in turn, speed up the ripening process.
Step 4 – Admire Your Handywork
So now we are all done pruning and the time has come to take a step back and look and what we have done. Feel free to bask in the glory of a job well done.
You can see that the overall leafiness of the vines has been reduced and that suddenly a lot more fruit are visible and will be hanging in the sun.
This will allow them to ripen well and sweeten up really nicely.
As long as you don’t grow crazy and start taking too much off the plant then you won’t do any damage. Here are the same Uchiki Kuri plants just a week or two later, complete with some numpty showing off his allotment award!
You can see that they have put on a load more growth and that there are lots and lots of squashes starting to ripen!
Pruning Uchiki Kuri squash is really simple and easy to do and should be done when growing them vertically. It reduces their water needs while also allowing more light into the centre of the plant to speed up ripening.