Can You Clip Watermelon Plants to Help Them Grow?
Watermelon plants don’t require much pruning to develop large and juicy fruit; exactly what they really need is distance. Watermelon vines distribute in runners moving in all directions from the base, frequently growing longer than 3 feet. Pruning the vines may lead to poor pollination, but cutting some of this fruit can help the rest of the melons thrive.
Watermelon vines distribute vigorously, and there’s no actual need to clip them back. If they’re spreading in which you don’t want them or if the vines are overlapping other plants, then you can clip them back slightly. This can sometimes cause the plant to send out additional runners. But watermelon plants are designed to distribute, which means you’re not making the plant healthier by cutting it. Instead, you may be cutting off a part of the vine where a female flower could bloom — these blooms are not as plentiful as the male flowers, but with them, the plant can not produce fruit. You may also delay your fruit yield by causing the plant to focus on growing fresh runners rather than developing melons.
Clipping off some of the growing melons will help the existing fruit become bigger and juicier. Look for fruit that isn’t maturing as quickly as others are, has an irregular shape or is rotting on the ends or the underside. Pruning this fruit off makes it possible for the plant to focus its energy on the wholesome melons, helping to grow large and healthy.
If you clip a place of the vine that would have produced a female blossom, you could be setting your vine up for failure. Watermelon plants create many male flowers, but just one female flower for approximately every seven male ones. The vines require cross-pollination, which means the bees must carry pollen from a male flower on a single vine to a female blossom on another. Properly pollinated female flowers become the melons, so if you trim them off, you’re reducing your prospective melon yield.
When watermelon vines are older, they tend to handle a lot of their grass control by themselves. The heavy reporting of leaves helps prevent the sunlight from the ground, preventing weeds from getting the nutrients that they should sprout. If you clip the vines, the plant will not have the ability to control weeds too. Some weeds may still poke through, so pull them by hand or use black mulch under the plant to help reduce weed growth.