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Second Growth on Potato Tubers (08/06/20)

There have been a number of questions about sprouting tubers or chaining tubers.

There have been a number of questions about sprouting tubers or chaining tubers. There are many types of second growth or unwanted growth on potato tubers I will discuss. These can include heat sprouts (Image 1), tuber chaining (Image 2) and tuber malformations (Image 3). The development of this second growth can be attributed to any condition that interrupts regular growth of tubers, such as nutrient availability, moisture availability or temperature extremes. Combine two of these, such as high temperatures and subsequent soil moisture that is depleted because of high temperatures and this produces great plant stress. This second growth reduces tuber quality and can reduce yield by consuming plant energy for heat sprouts or undersized chaining tubers that will not provide any benefit to the grower. Second growth can also be manifested as tubers that become bottlenecked, dumbbell shaped, knobbed, or have a pointed end shape. Second growth is most often seen in years with warm temperatures. To minimize this, find varieties that are less prone to have second growth and maintain ideal conditions for uniform plant and tuber growth.

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Andy Robinson

NDSU/U of M Extension Potato Agronomist

 

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