Many people like growing potatoes in their garden areas. Potatoes are an excellent staple food that you will enjoy being able to harvest from your own garden.
Generally, growing potatoes won’t be too tough, but you can still encounter roadblocks to success sometimes. Some people wind up experiencing issues where their potato plants are dying off before they can even flower.
If this is happening to you, then you’re probably wondering what in the world is going on. Why would your potato plants wind up dying off so early like this?
Keep reading to learn more about why this is happening. It should give you the information that you need so that you can take action to try to protect your potato plants in the future.
1 – It Could Be Potato Wilt
Potato wilt is a type of fungal disease that is incredibly problematic for people who are trying to grow potatoes. This is a disease that can impact other plants as well and it’s also known as verticillium wilt.
The disease itself is caused by different types of fungi that live in the soil. The fungi live in infected plant tissue underground and can remain in seed pieces for a very long time.
People have discovered that this fungal disease is capable of remaining in the soil for up to seven years. It’s certainly an annoying thing to have to deal with when you’re just trying to grow potatoes.
This disease will cause the tubers to become smaller and it can also cause discoloration on the end of the stems. The fungal disease will attack your potato through its roots and it’ll keep it from being able to absorb water properly.
First, the potatoes will start to turn yellow. You might notice some rings of discoloration, and then the plants will wind up dying.
Treating potato wilt isn’t really possible. The best thing that you can do is try to prevent this from happening in the first place.
Firstly, you should plant potato varieties that are resistant to potato wilt. You should also try to use fields that you know are safe from potato wilt.
Keep the potatoes very healthy and they will be less likely to get the disease. This means doing your best to care for them by watering them and giving them everything that they need to thrive.
2 – Extreme Weather Issues
Another potential reason why potatoes might die before they’re able to flower involves extreme weather issues. If the weather gets very hot and the sun is harsh, then that could cause the potatoes to wilt.
The harshness of the sun and powerful winds could easily damage potatoes. If enough damage is done, then the potatoes could wind up dying.
Typically, when potatoes die in this fashion you’ll notice that they will have light green wilting tips that are quite dry. If there are tubers underground, then it’s likely that they will be watery and they’ll wind up turning brown.
The only real way to prevent this is to do your best to protect your potatoes from the harshness of the sun. You might be able to provide them with some cover that will help to protect them from both the sun and heavy winds.
3 – Irrigation Issues
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that irrigation issues could cause potatoes to die. You know that you need to water them so that they can grow and do well in your field.
If your irrigation solution is lacking, then you might not be giving the potatoes the consistent irrigation that they need. This is especially important from the time you put them into the ground until the tubers have finished developing.
You aren’t supposed to let the soil get dry during the growing season. The only sign that you should stop watering will be when the tops of the potato plants turn yellow.
Your irrigation methods might be so inconsistent that the potatoes aren’t able to grow properly. If this continues, then they might die on you before they can flower.
If you’re having issues with moisture retention for some reason, then you might need to add some organic mulch near the potatoes. It can help them to retain moisture and it might make it easier to keep them watered properly.
4 – Fusarium Wilt Disease
Fusarium wilt disease is another potato disease that you should be aware of. When potatoes have this disease, you’re going to notice that the leaves will start to become pale.
The outer leaves might be especially pale and you’ll likely see some drooping, too. The disease will eventually progress and the leaves will turn yellow.
After turning yellow, the leaves are going to wilt and die off. It’s very likely that the entire potato plant will die before it even gets the chance to flower when it has fusarium wilt.
It’s tough to deal with fusarium wilt once it is already present. The best thing to do is to remove the infected potatoes from the field and try to save the rest of the field.
Be sure to sterilize the tools that you use after discarding the infected potato plants. You might want to try to use a biological fungicide that works against fusarium wilt such as Mycostop Biofungicide.
It’ll help to keep the potatoes from getting infected by this disease if used early enough. Truly, prevention is the best course of action because there isn’t a lot you can do when a potato plant is infected.
There are disease-resistant varieties of potatoes that you can plant. If you can find a potato that is resistant to both fusarium wilt and potato wilt, then that will be for the best.
Growing potatoes can be satisfying so long as you’re able to do your best to protect them. You’re going to want to take the issues that have been discussed in this article seriously so that you can deal with potential threats.
The two diseases, fusarium wilt and potato wilt, can be particularly problematic. If you’re concerned about these diseases, then you might want to go ahead and seek out disease-resistant potatoes as soon as you can.
It’s also wise to try to plant potatoes in a field that isn’t known to be contaminated with any type of fungal disease. You might need to move your potato field and start over depending on what’s wrong with your potatoes.
Some of the potential issues that have been discussed are easier to account for. For instance, fixing your irrigation system shouldn’t be overly difficult.
You might need to get a better irrigation system to ensure that you can water the potatoes consistently. Using some type of organic mulch might help you to improve moisture retention near the potatoes, too.
If you think that extreme temperatures could be the issue, then you might need to take more steps to protect your potatoes. It’s also prudent to consider whether heavy winds could have caused damage to them.
You should be able to use the information that you’ve obtained to figure out the best path forward. You can determine what is wrong with the potatoes in your field and work hard to fix things so that you can find success.
Don’t give up on growing potatoes just because you have encountered some setbacks. You can turn things around if you’re willing to try.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.