How To Grow Vegetables

Potato Pests And Diseases

Potatoes are affected by a range of pests and diseases and some of these can totally destroy the whole crop in a matter of days.

Potato Blight is a major problem and dark patches appear on the leaves and then the whole plant goes blacks and dies, it is usual for the blight to pass through the whole crop in a very short time. If left to its own devices the tubers will then also rot as the spores wash down into the store. Remove the tops as soon as possible and dig up the crop a few weeks later to avoid disturbing the live spores which will hopefully have died and store carefully getting rid of any poor potatoes. It can be reduced by using an early bulk potato crop, preferably a blight resistant variety and rotating the crop. Make sure the potatoes are earthed up properly and mulched if possible.

Common scab is seen as lesions on the tubers and it does not look good on potatoes but it fortunately does not reduce the crop a great deal. It is reduced by good crop management watering at the right times, proper earthing procedures. Feeding practice can help provided it uses the right feeds. If planted in the same area the following year it can re-occur.

Aphids can propagate and transfer diseases so remove it as soon as possible by washing with soapy water. They are particularly good at spreading mosaic virus.

Colorado potato beetles can cause quite a bit of damage and are prevalent in most USA states to some degree. They feed on the leaves and lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves, the larvae then also feed on the leaves. The beetles and eggs should be picked off the plants and they can also be sprayed with an insecticide.

Potato blackleg is a bacterial disease that affects some stems and not others but it transfers to the tubers causing a soft rot and other tuber problems. Remove the plants and destroy them there are no real cures.

The best results are obtained by picking a good seed potato that has a resistance to disease and keeping to a strict planting and servicing regime.

Read more on How To Grow Potatoes

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By Richard Allen -

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