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I have a volunteer melon vine (it looks like cantaloupe) growing at the end of my garden area. I chose to let it grow out of curiosity. It's now producing a number of healthy looking fruits. However, it's also invading my tomato plants and my lawn.

How can I most safely prune the vine to prevent it from continuing to invade my yard? I don't want to hurt the health of the existing fruits, although I don't feel the need for more fruit.

Can I simply cut the long and/or troublesome vines? Is it important to let some of the vines continue to grow and leaf out for the general health of the plant?

How far from the base of the plant, or the nearest fruit, should I prune?

Or should I avoid pruning all together (google disagrees on this), and just redirect the vines that are competing with my tomato plants, and mow around the ones in the yard?

Perhaps installing a trellis or other climbing structure for the vine would be preferable?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

As far as I can remember, pruning the vines of a melon/watermelon/pumpkin, etc, is not only allowed, but even encouraged.
If you do not prune them, they will continue growing onwards, and the "strength" of the plant will go to the new growth instead of to the forming of the fruits.

I would suggest that you move (gently) the vines that are growing into your tomatoes.
Then cut back all vines so you get a manageable plant.

Concerning how much to cut them back, I would cut as little as possible - just the tips. However, if you feel the plant is too big for you to manage, I guess that 3-4 leaves after the last fruit should be ok.

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