Should You Cut Off Dying Pumpkin Leaves?

Pumpkins are one of the easiest garden vegetables to grow and require little maintenance. However, without enough water, adequate fertilizer, and protection from frost, pumpkin leaves will start to die or get infected. Since botanists recommend cutting off dying leaves to save certain plants, should you cut off dying pumpkin leaves? 

You should cut off dying pumpkin leaves that are infected or lack water and nutrients. Cutting off dying leaves will prevent damage to the rest of the plant and redirect the nutrients to healthy leaves. It could also give you better pumpkin yields. 

The rest of this article will discuss why you should cut dying pumpkin leaves, the benefits pruning pumpkin plants have on the yield, and how to cut dying leaves and stems properly. It will also discuss why pumpkin leaves die and how to prevent them. 

Do You Need To Cut Dying Pumpkin Leaves?

Like other garden plants, pumpkin plants shed their leaves as part of the growth process. However, these dying leaves can also be caused by fungal growth or other plant diseases. If you notice that your plant’s leaves are wilting and turning yellow, you may have to trim them. 

You should cut dying pumpkin leaves to keep the plant healthy, prevent diseases from spreading to other leaves and divert nutrients to healthy leaves. Dying leaves will take up unnecessary nutrients, and cutting them will help your plant grow faster. 

If you have a vegetable garden in your backyard, you’ll want it to look presentable. Dying leaves can affect the aesthetics of your garden and give it the impression of being unattended to. So, while not cutting dying leaves won’t really affect your plant, it’s better to trim them if you have the time. 

Why Should You Cut Dying Pumpkin Leaves?

Some gardeners claim that there’s no need to cut off dying pumpkin leaves since it won’t have a major effect on plant growth. However, this depends on why the leaves are dying, the plants’ stage of growth, and on what scale you are growing pumpkins. 

If you’re farming pumpkins on a large scale, it doesn’t make sense to trim every plant. However, if you’re growing a prize pumpkin in your backyard, cutting the dying leaves may give you bigger pumpkins. 

You should cut off dying leaves if the plant is infected, still young, or if the plant’s growth is slow. You can also trim the dying leaves if the yellow, wilted leaves affect your garden’s look or if you want the plant to grow in a certain direction. 

Let’s look at some of the reasons for pruning dead pumpkin leaves in detail: 

To Stop Diseases From Spreading

Pumpkins are susceptible to diseases such as Verticillium wilt and Downy mildew. Both diseases can cause the leaves to turn yellow and die. Verticillium wilt damages the pumpkin plant’s stems, leaves, and roots and gradually kills the plant over a few weeks. On its part, Downy mildew causes yellow spots on the leaves and may also kill the plant. 

If you notice signs of these diseases on your pumpkin plant’s leaves, cut off the dying leaves to prevent the disease from spreading to the stems. Cutting off the leaves will also strengthen the healthy parts of the plant and give the plant better protection against these diseases. 

Dead leaves are also a breeding ground for fungal infections and other plant diseases. By cutting off these leaves, you’ll increase the airflow around the plant and prevent most fungal infections. 

To Improve the Plant’s Growth

Pumpkin plants are vines and will grow with runners that form new stems. These runners grow in different directions and help the plant cover more ground. However, the more stems and runners a plant has, the fewer the nutrients that will go to each branch. 

If you want to grow prize pumpkins, trim dead leaves and runners to improve the plant’s growth. It’s better to keep a single stem or branch and produce healthy pumpkins than to get a poor yield from a lack of nutrients. 

To Keep Your Garden in Order

Dead leaves are never a good impression in any garden, and vegetable gardens are no exception. Always trim the dead and yellow pumpkin leaves to keep the garden well-maintained. You’ll have to do more pruning in the autumn when the weather gets cooler, and pumpkin leaves turn yellow. 

How To Properly Cut Pumpkin Leaves?

Always cut pumpkin leaves with sharp shears and never pull the leaves off, which may damage the vines. Cut off the leaves near the stem to avoid damaging it. If you’re pruning the plant for better growth, cut off the stems instead of the leaves to prevent further growth. 

If you’re pruning the plant by cutting off the stems, cover the exposed stem with plastic or mulch for a few days until the cut hardens. This will prevent insects and diseases from infecting the exposed stem. 

However, in most cases, you won’t have difficulty trimming the leaves of your pumpkin plants. Leaves that have turned yellow or have dried out can be pulled out easily without damaging the plant. 

Why Do Pumpkin Leaves Turn Yellow?

Your pumpkin leaves will turn yellow as the weather gets colder, if the plant has diseases, lacks nutrition or water, or if the weather is too hot. In most cases, it’s a lack of water and nutrients or overwatering that causes pumpkin leaves to die prematurely. 

Here is additional info on the common causes of pumpkin leaves dying: 

Cold Weather

If your pumpkin leaves are dying in late autumn, then there’s no need to worry. Pumpkin plants usually produce pumpkins after 120 days, after which the plant dies. However, if winter comes early or the plants are exposed to an early frost, it may cause the leaves to wilt and die. 

You can avoid this problem by planting your pumpkins in late spring if you live in colder areas. You can also plant pumpkin varieties that flower earlier or ones that are tolerant to the cold. 

Weather That’s Too Hot

In most cases, your pumpkin leaves will wilt and die in severe heat waves. The leaves will first lose their color and turn yellow or gray. The leaves will also dry out much faster since the pumpkin loses more water to perspiration. 

If your pumpkin leaves are dying because of the heat, you can: 

  • Cover them up. 
  • Water them in the early morning or evening. 
  • Plant them in a partially shady area. 

Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases are also a major cause of pumpkin leaves dying prematurely. Pumpkin plants are hardy and aren’t usually a target for pests. However, they are susceptible to pests such as beetles, aphids, and squash bugs. 

Pumpkin leaves will also turn yellow when the plant is infected by diseases like Verticillium wilt or Downy mildew. These diseases can be managed by pruning the affected areas. 

A Lack of Water or Nutrients

A lack of soil nutrients may also cause a pumpkin’s leaves to become yellow. The leaves may seem droopy from a lack of nutrients, and the plant will grow much slower. While pumpkin plants don’t need too much water, try to water them at least twice a week and more if the weather is hot. 

You can ensure the plants have enough nutrients by adding fertilizer to the soil in the spring before planting the seeds. Avoid adding fertilizer too late, as this may cause your pumpkins to split. Read more about why your pumpkins split on the vine here: 6 Reasons Why Pumpkins Split on the Vine


Overwatering is just as harmful to pumpkin plants as lack of water. Pumpkin plants don’t need as much water as many other plants and can survive in mildly moist soil. Avoid watering the plants more than twice a week and water them less in the autumn. 


Cutting your pumpkin plants may help prevent diseases from spreading and strengthen the plant’s healthy parts. Always follow the proper pruning technique to avoid damaging the plant. Also, give the plant enough water and nutrients and avoid overwatering to keep the leaves healthy and green. 

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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