I went out and weeded around my melon and watermelon plants, and within two hours of that, the cantaloupe plant had completely wilted! I did move some of the vines around to get to the grass underneath them, but I was careful not to disturb close to the roots. The flowers still look okay, as do the few melons that have sprouted. It's just the majority of the leaves and the stems that seem kind of limp also compared to what they were. What would cause this?

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    You might have destroyed critical roots while you were weeding. How were you weeding? Did you notice anything while you were working around your melons? You have to send a picture, please. We have this dude on our site that is amazingly a melon expert. Pictures, any and everything you can think to tell us that was changed including your weeding. If you were being careful that makes this more interesting. Shule is his moniker – stormy Jul 10 '17 at 2:37
  • I don't know that I'd call myself an amazing melon expert, but was it sunny outside while you were weeding (or within the two hours as it wilted)? How close to the cantaloupe were the weeds? How big were the weed roots? Is your soil loose or more compact? How old is the plant? – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Jul 10 '17 at 22:30
  • How old were the plants? – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Sep 19 '18 at 0:38

I'm guessing stormy is right and the roots were just disturbed by the weeding (and/or an insect); and the sun caused the plant to wilt. Sun will do that to plants with disturbed roots. If you disturb them when it's dark, they're much less likely to show it. Shading the plant and/or removing the large leaves (if they're beyond repair) may help it to survive, if it wouldn't otherwise. Potassium (accompanied by extra water) could help, too. Misting/showering your plant should help some, too.

If you have loose soil, I imagine it's easier to disturb the roots. I've heard people talking about how just walking on the ground by watermelons can cause obvious damage to the roots, but I have no such issues in my soil (which is more compact than most consider ideal for watermelons). People generally prefer looser soil for watermelons, at least. I've had no difficulty growing most muskmelons/cantaloupes in our soil as long as they have enough potassium and rockdust.

Anyway, there are other potential causes, but that's my guess with the current information. I'm waiting on your response to my comments. Others might know more than I do about cantaloupe diseases that might be the culprit.

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    It was sunny outside, and stayed sunny and hot. I was pulling up grass that had pretty much surrounded the plant. The clumps that came up with the grass roots were maybe golf ball size.. The plant is actually about 3 months old. It even has a few small melons on it. Not all of the vines wilted, there are 3 or so that still have healthy leaves and flowers. After waiting 3 days to see if the others came back, I trimmed the dead vines from the plant. Im hoping the rest survive. – Angela L Jul 11 '17 at 3:51
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    The soil is pretty compact but was moist when I weeded so the grass came up pretty easily. I just tried not to get too close to the base of the plant while I was doing it. I hope I answered everything for you. – Angela L Jul 11 '17 at 3:51
  • Thanks. How close were the weeds themselves to the plant, and how many weeds were there? It could just be a coincidence that it happened at the same time. Did you check the melon stems for damage? Sometimes they can break on accident. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Jul 11 '17 at 4:31
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    some of them were pretty close, but like I said, it was more grass than weeds. Its our first garden, so we are having to fight the grass taking over. My brother tilled the garden a few times before we planted, and ive tried to keep the grass under control. There is a watermelon plant close, and it is fine, pulling up the grass didn't seem to affect it at all, just the cantaloupe plant. The stems seemed fine, no breaking or anything like that. Im beginning to think pulling up the grass just disturbed the roots. Its weird though that 3 or 4 vines are fine, no wilting or damage at all – Angela L Jul 11 '17 at 20:27
  • Huh. That's pretty wild. I would guess it was just disturbed, or maybe something happened you don't know about. I don't know that there's any way to know for sure right now. Has it gotten any better? Are there nematodes in your area? (If you live in the southern USA, that might be an issue.) – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Jul 11 '17 at 23:35

I often find that my cucurbit plants with long vines wilt in hot sun, so that the outside edge of their large, roundish leaves looks like it's turned down. This summer was especially hot and dry for the UK, and my Hokkaido squash and buttercups frequently looked like this. It doesn't seem to have much effect on the plants that I could tell and some have been quite prolific. It may simply be that by weeding around them you've exposed them to more direct sun.

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