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How to Prune Gourd Vines to Increase Gourd Fruit Production

Gourds, Growing Gourds, How to Prune

There is a right way and a wrong way to prune gourd vines, if done right, you will increase gourd fruit production but if done improperly you can actually destroy successfully produced fruit.

If you have read my previous articles on how to grow gourds, germinating gourd seeds, planting gourd seeds, and the growth cycle of gourds, then you are ready to utilize the growth cycle to you benefit to make the vines produce more fruit. We do not recommend this for growing very large gourds or in areas with a very short growing season, but in basic growing areas with small to medium gourds, many gourds can grow from a single vine if done properly.

The main shoot of the vine will grow only females, but the plant will expend a lot of energy in making this primary runner continue to grow through out the season. This is fine, except the main runner only grows male flowers and no fruit. When the vine is what we call, “Running”, that is when it is growing very fast, wait until it reaches about 12-14 feet, then terminate, or pinch the end of that runner off. The gourd vine will then put its energy into what we call laterals. From each leaf knuckle another the gourd vine will branch off and these are the laterals. The first four leaf knuckles of each lateral will grow female flowers which will produce your fruit, the rest of the leaves on the lateral will grow male flowers. You do not want to prune the lateral after the fourth leaf or all you will get on your vine is females and no males which equals no success. Let each lateral grow to 6 or 8 leaves to insure you have male flowers through out the season.

Once you prune a lateral, each leaf knuckle will also grow another second generation lateral, and this will go on and on until you have so many vines and laterals, you literally can no longer sort out or keep up with.

Secondly to increase fruit, during the early part of the season and depending on the size of the gourd you are growing, (this should not be done with large gourds), prune off the first fruits to develop on your vines. The plant will replace this fruit with two more. Once the season gets under way, we no longer recommend doing this as the gourds need time to develop and harden off.

By using the above methods to increase fruit production, we pruned our gourd vines in an area about twice the size of the average city yard and produced over 1500 gourds in a single season. Once you know how to prune gourd vines, you can accomplish this too. If you would like to learn more about gourds and growing gourds, please visit The Gourd Reserve.