Seeded Watermelon Crop Guide

Frank J. Dainello,
Extension Horticulturist
Department of
Horticultural Sciences,
Texas A&M University


Hybrids Dulce, Ole, Stars-N-Stripes, Summer Flavor 800, Sangria, Summer Flavor 810, Royal Sweet, Big Stripe, Jamboree, Stargazer
Yellow flesh Summer Gold, Gold Strike (orange flesh)
Open pollinated All Sweet, Jubilee II, Legacy


Deep, well-drained, light textured soil having a pH range of 5.5 – 8.0(optimum 6.5 – 7.0). Does not tolerate heavy soils.


Bright, hots days (80 – 95°F) and warm nights (60 -70°F). Cooler temperatures and excessive rainfall slows growth and maturity. Overcast and cloudy weather conditions reduces soluble solids (fruit quality).


Method Direct seeded (Transplants well).
Optimum time When all danger of frost has passed and/or soil seed zone temperature exceeds 70°F.
Seeding rate/Acre 1 – 3 lbs.
Seed / oz 300 – 600
Seeding depth 0.75 – 1″
Seedling spacing 3′ in-row on 80 A wide raised beds(irrigated) 5′ in-row on 8 – 10′ wide raised beds(dry land)


Rates presented as actual lbs/Acre N2, P2O5 and K2O (base actual rates on soil test analysis).

Generalized rate lbs/Acre 80 – 80 – 80
N 40 – 90 lbs; 0 – 50 lbs pre-plant broadcast incorporated or split band 4″ deep and 4 – 6 ” on either side of seed row at planting + 20 – 30 lbs side-dressed 3 wks after emergence; under high rainfall, an additional 20 lbs may be required at vining (side dress in split bands or through fertigation)
P 40 – 80 lbs; banded 3 – 4 ” below seed at planting or near the level of the transplant root base
K 40 – 80 lbs; if needed applied with pre-plant N
Starter solution(transplants) approx 8 oz of high phosphate starter solution/plant at field setting


10 – 15 “per season. Steady moisture supply (1 – 2 ” every 10 – 14 days) required. Key stages are establishment, blooming, and fruit set and enlargement.


Major Diseases Control
Downy mildew Acrobat, Aliette, Bravo, Gavel, mancozeb, Ridomil Gold Bravo, Ridomil Gold Copper, Ridomil Gold MZ
Powdery mildew Bravo, Cabrio, Flint, Nova, Procure, Quadris
Alternaria Bravo, Cabrio, Flint, mancozeb, Quadris
Gummy stem blight Bravo, Cabrio, Flint, mancozeb, Quadris
Fusarium wilt Long rotations (5 years), resistant varieties
Virus None; manage vectors (Aphids or whitefly) to prevent or delay transmission
Nematode K-Pam, Telone II, Telone C-17, Vydate
Major Insects Control
Cucumber beetle Asana, Capture, endosulfan, Guthion, permethrin, Sevin
Leafminer Agri-mek, dimethoate, permethrin, Spintor, Vydate
Aphid Actara/Platinum, Admire, endosulfan, Fulfill
Whitefly Actara/Platinum, Admire, Danitol, endosulfan, insecticidal soap, Vydate
Pickleworm and melonworm Asana, Capture, Lannate, permethrin, Spintor
Mite Agri-mek, Capture, Danitol, Kelthane
Weeds Control
Preplant incorporated Alanap, Prefar
Preemergence Command, Curbit, Sandea, Strategy
Postemergence Alanap, Dacthal, Poast, Sandea (shielded), Select, Treflan (shielded)

*NOTE*–The above is a partial listing of controls intended as examples. Some of the labels may have been revoked since the publication of this guide. Refer to product labels for specifics and use accordingly. Failure to do so may result in crop injury, death and/or citation for law violation. Humans, animals and the environment may also be adversely affected by misuse.


Normal method hand
Days after planting
Direct seeded 85 – 95
Transplanted 65 – 75
Seed/oz 185 -625
Approx yld lbs/A 20,000 – 70,000 depending upon inputs(water, variety, mulch) and weather
Containers Bulk wagons or pallet boxes
Grades Normally field graded during loading, based on diameter size and freedom form blemishes
Packaging/handling 4 – 5/fiberboard carton depending upon size, or, shipped in pallet boxes or bulk lots. Straw between melon layers suggested for bulk loads.
Anticipated yld/A 15,000 to 70,000


50 – 60°F at 80 – 85 % RH, can obtain chilling injury at 40°F. Shelf-life 3 – 4 weeks.


  • Can be produced under low input dry land systems.
  • Open pollinated varieties better suited to dry land conditions.
  • Responds well to high levels of inputs and management; transplant establishment + plastic mulch + drip irrigation etc. Transplant establishment may or may not be economically feasible with open pollinated varieties or with hybrids, if used, best suited to plastic mulch (6′ width) and drip irrigation.
  • In areas with high winds, wind breaks planted every 4 – 6 beds is advisable. Windbreaks should be established in the fall in order to provide protection to spring planted crop.
  • Excessive nitrogen fertilization and irrigation delays maturity and reduces fruit quality.
  • Requires the addition of bees to obtain maximum yield and quality (one strong hive / A).
  • Straw layers should be placed between melon layers to reduce fruit injury during bulk shipment.
  • Palletizable bin boxes becoming popular for bulk shipment.
  • Maintain good foliage coverage of fruit to avoid sunburn.

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