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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?

  • Where is it that you live? Are you soon to be going into winter or is this your spring? Pruning the tips, the terminal buds sends lots of energy into the rest of the branch, vine. You'll get more branching. Depending on the fertilizer you've used that energy will be transported into growing vegetation or new branches. If you want those fruits to mature, make sure your fertilizer is lower in N than the P and K . If you've used higher N than the P and K that energy will go into more branching and more vegetation. Go ahead and cut the terminal buds off but mind your formula for fert. – stormy Dec 12 '16 at 0:52
  • And don't worry about INVASION of other plants. Just move the melon vine to a new direction. What I am hearing is that this plant is near your lawn. Lawns get high Nitrogen fertilizer. This plant might just have had too much N. to produce mature melons. I wouldn't cut anything right now and keep that lawn fertilizer away from fruiting vegetables or you won't get flower, fruit, just vegetative leaves and branches. – stormy Dec 12 '16 at 0:54
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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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