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Malformation of Potato Tubers from Biotic and Abiotic Stresses (07/09/20)

A handful of situations have been in question regarding potato tuber development as affected by different situations.

A handful of situations have been in question regarding potato tuber development as affected by different situations. During the early to mid-bulking stage of tuber development, plant stresses are concerning. Hot temperatures (> 85 °F) are not favorable for potato plants and can lead to tubers becoming misshapen, chaining of tubers, little tubers and/or heat runners (Image 1).  Exposure to herbicides from drift, inversions, tank contamination or other means can cause injury to the plants and disrupt tuber growth. When injury occurs early in the bulking period, the fissures on the tuber can develop into large cracks by the end of the growing season (Image 2). Another type of injury observed is necrotic spots on leaves from application of fertilizer or other products with high salt concentrations (Image 3). Similar injury can occur from contact herbicides. Biotic and abiotic stresses can result in no damage to significant tuber injury, depending on the severity of the issue and subsequent growing conditions. The best management practice in these conditions are to reduce stresses as much as possible by maintaining sufficient water, nutrition and disease protection.

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Andy Robinson

NDSU/U of M Extension Potato Agronomist

 

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