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How To Trim Potato Plants – Should I Cut Back Potato Plants

How To Trim Potato Plants – Should I Cut Back Potato Plants


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Potato plants are grown for their edible tuber or some varieties are grown simply as ornamentals. Anyone who has grown either type can attest to the fact that healthy potato plant growth may get a bit out of hand at times. It makes one wonder, “Should I cut back the potato plants?” If so, how does one trim potato plants?

Can You Prune Potato Plants?

The answer to, “Can you prune potato plants?” is yes, but perhaps that is not the right question. After all, you can pretty much prune anything, although it’s not always the best idea. The correct question is, “Should I cut back the potato plants?” For the most part, potato plants use the nutrients from the foliage to grow healthy spuds. That said, there are some instances where it may be beneficial to prune the tubers to restrain the potato plant growth.

Pruning potato vines can help the potatoes mature earlier, before they attain their full size. Pruning potato vines and then leaving them in the soil for at least two weeks, post pruning, will help them develop a thick, protective skin. A thick skin is important for storage, allowing the spuds to be kept for up to six months following harvest.

How to Trim Potato Plants

To trim your edible potato plants, pinch off the blossoms as soon as they appear on the plant, or snip them off with shears. Blossoms are an indicator that the plant is mature and small tubers are formed. Removing the flowers removes the competition and fosters larger, healthier potatoes.

Prune the potatoes when the foliage has wilted. Prune the plant down to ground level, 1 inch (2.54 cm.) above the soil surface. Don’t cut them any lower than this, as you may expose the tips of shallow potatoes. Wait two weeks to dig the tubers out to allow the potato skin to thicken.

Pruning of ornamental potatoes, such as Ipomoea, can occur any time the plant has outgrown its surroundings. Generally, at this point the tuber is mature. These ornamentals can be aggressively pruned with no ill effects. In fact, the plant will branch out and rapidly begin filling in the space. Unlike edible potatoes, ornamentals can be pruned right down to the ground, if needed.

Cut back the ornamental potato vines from spring through fall, as needed, to contain the size or shape of the plant. Pruning will also increase the bushiness of the plant, as it encourages branching at the cut sites. Prune judiciously or not at all if you prefer longer, vine-like foliage.

If you live in a mild climate, some potato vines will grow year round and need continuous pruning. Trim back any foliage that has been killed back or damaged after the first frost, down to the soil line or one inch above it. When the weather warms up, you will likely have another chance at seeing the glory of your ornamental potato vine.


Digit

I am going to just express an opinion, Bob.

Leaves do the work of photosynthesis for any plant. They "make" the sugar & starches that come together in whatever crop that we hope to harvest. The plant requires very little in the way of nutrients from the soil.

Maybe 90% of the food value in potato tubers comes from photosynthesis. Yes, the tubers are "modified plant stems" and, they are underground - or, should be. Still, it is the plant's leaves that are putting the great majority of the food value into those tubers.

Lower, older leaves may lose some productiveness and, certainly, the tubers need to be covered over they will turn green and become inedible. Still, I have never understood the idea of only allowing a few of the plant leaves to stay in sunlight while more & more mulch or soil is brought up around it. Growing potatoes like that is not for me. I just mulch with compost - a task that I will begin tomorrow.

Probably, pruning can be done just fine on plants that are out-of-control. I doubt if it will seriously set the plant back but, I would expect the yield to be diminished.


Ask a Question forum→Potato plant too tall?

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Potato plants grown in the ground and in containers don't get more than a foot tall and are very bushy. That one is ginormous! Hopefully, little potatoes are growing down there - I can't imagine they aren't. I do think, normally, given the entire earth to root in, they only grow about a foot deep. Potato bags and boxes are only about 18 inches deep. So back to my question: Did you plant the seed potatoes at the very bottom of the first can?

But what a great experiment in potato growing! I can't wait until you dump that container. Take photos of the results and post them for us.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming. "WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org


DaisyI said: What do they grow to when they are rooted to the entire earth?

Potato plants grown in the ground and in containers don't get more than a foot tall and are very bushy. That one is ginormous! Hopefully, little potatoes are growing down there - I can't imagine they aren't. I do think, normally, given the entire earth to root in, they only grow about a foot deep. Potato bags and boxes are only about 18 inches deep. So back to my question: Did you plant the seed potatoes at the very bottom of the first can?

But what a great experiment in potato growing! I can't wait until you dump that container. Take photos of the results and post them for us.

I have some taller bags and the surface of the dirt, like what these cans look like, is up at the top. The potatoes themselves are about 2 feet over the surface of the dirt. Those look to be about that if the surface of dirt is higher. My point about growing to the container is, if the container is taller and you start them at the very bottom and keep adding dirt, they will grow up until you stop adding dirt.

So I know you were joking about earth being the "biggest" container, but since it isn't the tallest, compared to how far down the start is, they would still only get so far up over the dirt surface. If that makes sense.

These look taller because their "ground level" is up higher.


I was going to ask the same question about whether yours is in full sun, Britnay, because it looks somewhat shaded in the photo (but that could just be the time of day, of course). At any rate, I don't think the plant is growing all that much larger than would be expected -- it appears taller because the container isn't as crowded as I've usually seen them -- good for you, Britnay, because I think that's the biggest problem people have with growing them in containers, trying to put in too many plants.

Mine were always short and bushy I was growing them in California in zone 8. Maybe that's the difference.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming. "WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org


They do grow well up here, though -- and are grown commercially, which usually means that potatoes are pretty cheap in our stores leading me to wonder if it's actually worth it for me to grow them. Like tomatoes, though, there are SO many varieties to be tried!


DaisyI said: Sandy, I have never seen a potato plant 3 feet tall (except for Britnay's ). You must be feeding them some kind of super-food! I wonder if different varieties have different sized and shaped plants. Just found this photo of a potato plant on the interweb:

Mine were always short and bushy I was growing them in California in zone 8. Maybe that's the difference.

these are mine from about a month ago, they are growing in containers too. they are quite a bit taller now though, and really leaning over. The seed potatoes are on the very bottom of those bags, sitting right on the deck.

I also have had plants that were very tall as varieties differ on how high they get and whethe or not they vine out.

This time of year I would add no more material and let the plant mature die and harden as the color of the plant shows signs of age.



Of course now they do have the East End Fancy Wineries. But potato Farms and Duck Farms are all gone. Probably the Duck Farms stunk so much that no one minded them being gone.



Yes, we have a good time and lots of fun on the veggies thread.


Yes, we have a good time and lots of fun on the veggies thread.

And every now and then even learn something new.


And every now and then even learn something new.

It is a nice place to post updates on our veggie gardens. Even ask questions. Lots of pictures of our harvests.


How to prune hydrangeas

Perhaps you prefer the different shades of a hydrangea bush to the classic rose.

Hydrangeas also need some TLC to reach their full potential, but according to Gardener’s World, hydrangeas are an exception to the rule that says shrubs that produce their flowers on the previous season’s growth should be pruned after flowering.

The structure of hydrangea stems means it’s best to leave cutting back until spring.

This is because the stems are cork-like, rather than woody, and hold enough moisture inside them during winter for this to freeze in frosty weather. If they are pruned too soon after flowering, the buds can freeze, killing the stems and their buds.

Once the sap starts to rise in spring, hydrangea buds will open and many should go on to carry blooms the following year.

When these buds start to appear, that’s the best time to ‘deadhead’ the weaker stems and old flowerheads.

To do this, cut carefully using the tips of a pair of secateurs.

Cut out any thin or breaking stems around the base of the plant and remove one or two of the largest, oldest stems from as low down as possible to promote new shoots from the base.


Succulents

Many aloes, agaves and other similar plants with juicy leaves might have been singed during cool nights. Cold-damaged succulents are usually a lighter color, almost white. Later, the damaged part of the plant will wilt and then turn black with rot. In some succulents, the affected part just eventually falls off.

With agaves, even with rotten or dead leaves, if the center bud is green and firm, the plant will likely grow out and recover. Damaged or dead parts won’t recover and should be cut out. You might be lucky enough to have some little pups — new plants — growing under the dead plant when you remove dead leaves look for those as well.

On periodic warm days with spring just around the corner, it feels great to be out in the garden again, even if it means mundane chores like weeding and pruning. Cutting back dead wood and shaping your plants will ensure full, healthy plants you can enjoy into the summer and beyond.


2 Answers 2

Carrots are shade tolerant so I wouldn't remove the potato leaves. Any leaf reduction will reduce the amount of carbohydrates being stored in the tubers.

If they're early season potatoes, you may well have harvested them all before the carrots are mature.

If you plant potatoes with the recommended spacing along the rows and between the rows, you can expect them to make a complete leaf canopy that shades out everything.

This shade is a good thing, because the shade stops annual weeds from germinating, so you don't need to do any cultivation between earthing up (hilling) the potatoes and harvesting them.

If you cut back the leaves you will reduce the potato crop.

If you want to grow something between potato rows, choose plants that will grow quickly early in the season before the potatoes really get going, or alternatively something tall that will grow above the potato leaves. Bush beans (French Beans, Haricot beans) work well, and their roots also fix nitrogen which improves the yield of the potato crop.


Watch the video: POTATO HARVESTING. MY POTATO CULTIVATIONTASTY POTATO RECIPE