Excessive Potato Foliage? - Knowledgebase Question

St. Albans, VT
Question by scones
June 19, 1999
My potatoes, despite all my attempts to hill them with soil, have a great deal of tall foliage. Should I flatten the remaining foliage? The potatoes have not begun to flower yet. Will I damage them if I flatten these leaves and stems?

Answer from NGA
June 19, 1999


Foliage on the potato plant, and subsequent blossoms, indicate what's going on below the soil surface. The foliage is manufacturing energy for the roots, which will develop tubers. Don't trample, cut or flatten the foliage or you may stop the flow of nutrients from the stems to the roots. Generally, you can harvest "new" potatoes after the tops have produced flowers. Your potato plants should be allowed to grow until the tops turn yellow. This is generally after the first frost of the season. Once the tops yellow and die, the tubers will be fully mature and ready for harvest.

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