Potato

Year-Round IPM Program

(Reviewed 4/08, updated 4/08)

These practices are recommended for a monitoring-based IPM program that reduces air and water quality problems related to pesticide use. Links take you to information on how to monitor, forms to use, and management practices. Track your progress through the year with the annual checklist form.

Water quality becomes impaired when pesticides move off-site and into water. Air quality becomes impaired when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) move into the atmosphere. Each time a pesticide application is considered, review the Pesticide Application Checklist at the bottom of this page for information on how to minimize air and water quality problems.

Note: This program covers major pests in both commercial and seed potatoes in California. Information on additional pests is included in the Potato Pest Management Guidelines.

Previous crop and preplant

Special issues of concern related to water quality: Soil fumigation, fertilizer application, and runoff.
What should you be doing during this time?
Consider crop rotation for reducing pathogens, harmful nematodes, and problem weeds.
Manage weeds in the previous crop.

Avoid herbicides that leave residues harmful to potatoes.

Take soil samples to assay for nematodes immediately after harvest of previous crop.
Manage residue from the previous crop.
Manage weeds between crops.
  • Irrigate to stimulate weed seed germination after previous crop, before field preparation.
  • Cultivate or apply preemergence herbicide as needed to control weeds.
Analyze soil for fertility, physical constraints, and pH, which can affect common scab. Avoid over-fertilizing to reduce problems with early blight.
Watch for wireworms, especially if there is a history of damage.
  • Treat if needed according to Potato Pest Management Guidelines.
Consider soil fumigation for soilborne pests.
Order seed potatoes of desired cultivar and certification level.

Check seed tubers for tuberborne diseases.

  • Black dot
  • Common scab
  • Powdery scab
  • Late blight
  • Rhizoctonia (black scurf)
  • Silver scurf
Follow proper handling procedures for seed tubers.
Consider seed treatments to reduce disease problems.

Planting

Special issues of concern related to water quality: Insecticide application, fertilizer application, and runoff.
What should you be doing during this time?
Plant under appropriate soil temperature and soil moisture conditions to avoid:
Based on field history, consider a soil-applied insecticide to control:
Fertilize according to soil analysis results.
Consider applying fungicide in furrows at planting to reduce:

Preemergence

Special issues of concern related to water quality: Herbicide application and runoff.
What should you be doing during this time?
Apply preemergence herbicide if needed, according to Potato Pest Management Guidelines.
Manage soil moisture to minimize:

Emergence through row closure

Special issues of concern related to water quality: Fertilizer application, insecticide application, fungicide application, drift, and runoff.
What should you be doing during this time?
Monitor aphids weekly (Klamath Basin only). Keep records (example monitoring form PDF) and treat if needed according to Potato Pest Management Guidelines.

Watch for pests of foliage including:

  • Aphids
  • Tuberworm
  • Whiteflies
  • Psyllids
  • Loopers/worms
  • Flea beetles
  • Late blight
  • Early blight
  • Blackleg
  • White mold

Note presence of pests or damage (example monitoring form PDF) and manage according to Potato Pest Management Guidelines.

Monitor for tuberworm adults (Central and Southern California).

Treat if needed according to Potato Pest Management Guidelines.

Use hilling to shape beds that facilitate tuber coverage during tuber bulking.
Survey for weed emergence. Cultivate or apply postemergence herbicide as needed.
If white mold has been a problem in previous potato crops, treat at flowering according to Potato Pest Management Guidelines.
Consider fungicide application if there is a field history of pink rot or leak.
Irrigate as needed.
Apply fertilizer as needed. Avoid over- or under-fertilization, especially nitrogen.

Row closure to maturity

Special issues of concern related to water quality: Fertilizer application, insecticide application, fungicide application, drift, and runoff.
What should you be doing during this time?
Monitor aphids weekly (Klamath Basin only). Keep records (example monitoring form PDF) and treat if needed according to Potato Pest Management Guidelines.

Watch for pests of foliage, including:

  • Aphids
  • Tuberworm
  • Whiteflies
  • Psyllids
  • Loopers/worms
  • Flea beetles
  • Late blight
  • Early blight

Note presence of pests or damage (example monitoring form PDF) and manage according to Potato Pest Management Guidelines.

Monitor for tuberworm adults. (Central and Southern California)

Treat if needed according to Potato Pest Management Guidelines.

Based on field history, manage diseases according to Potato Pest Management Guidelines.
If white mold has been a problem in previous potato crops, treat at flowering according to Potato Pest Management Guidelines.
Manage soil moisture to avoid soil cracking, but avoid over-irrigation to prevent diseases.
Apply fertilizer as needed. Avoid over- or under-fertilization (especially nitrogen).

Maturation and harvest

Special issues of concern related to water quality: Fungicide application, application of vine-killing agents, drift, and runoff.
What should you be doing during this time?
Where tuberworm can be a problem, use hilling as needed to keep tubers covered.
Monitor for late blight and early blight. Treat with fungicide or vine-killing agent as needed, according to Potato Pest Management Guideline, to control them before harvest and prevent tuber infections.
Look for sclerotium stem rot and consider early harvest  if present.
Irrigate as needed. Manage water for late-season weed control and to avoid disease.
Apply contact herbicide as needed for complete vinekill and control of nutsedge.
Allow tubers to mature after vine kill and before harvest.
Harvest at proper soil moisture and temperature.
Use careful harvesting and handling procedures to reduce bruising.
After harvest, observe crop for tuber rots, nematodes, and insect damage. Use these observations to decide how stored tubers will be handled and to assess the effectiveness of the season's pest management program before planning the next season's program.

Storage

What should you be doing during this time?
Use proper sanitation in storage areas (Klamath Basin only).
Use proper curing conditions at beginning of storage.
Maintain proper ventilation, humidity, and temperature.

Monitor stored tubers for pest problems:

  • Late blight
  • Silver scurf
  • Black dot
  • Bacterial soft rot
  • Fusarium dry rot
  • Pink rot
  • Leak
  • Early blight
  • Tuberworm
  • Root knot nematodes
  • Leafroll net necrosis
Avoid repeated pile disturbance.
Store at temperatures that prevent nematode multiplication if compatible with intended use.

Pesticide application checklist

When planning for possible pesticide applications in an IPM program, review and complete this checklist to consider practices that minimize environmental and efficacy problems.
  • Choose a pesticide from the UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines for the target pest considering:
  • Select an alternative chemical or nonchemical treatment when risk is high.
    • Choose sprayers and application procedures that keep pesticides on target.
    • Identify and take special care to protect sensitive areas (for example, waterways or riparian areas) surrounding your application site.
    • Review and follow label for pesticide handling, storage, and disposal guidelines.
    • Check and follow restricted entry intervals (REI) and preharvest intervals (PHI).
    • After an application is made, record application date, product used, rate, and location of application. Follow up to confirm that treatment was effective.
  • Consider water management practices (PDF) that reduce pesticide movement off-site:
    • Install an irrigation recirculation or storage and reuse system.
    • Use drip rather than sprinkler or flood irrigation.
    • Limit irrigation to amount required using soil moisture monitoring and evapotranspiration (ET).
    • Consider vegetative filter strips (PDF) or ditches.
    • Redesign inlets into tailwater ditches (PDF) to reduce erosion. Ditches should not be lower than furrows.
  • Consider management practices that reduce air quality problems.
    • When possible, choose pesticides that are not in emulsifiable concentrate (EC) form which release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs react with sunlight to form ozone, a major air pollutant.

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