Submitted to: Weed Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2002
Publication Date: 11/1/2002
Citation: WILLIAMS, M.M., BOYDSTON, R.A. EFFECT OF SHOOT REMOVAL DURING TUBERIZATION ON VOLUNTEER POTATO (SOLANUM TUBEROSUM) TUBER PRODUCTION. WEED TECHNOLOGY. 16:617-619. 2002. Interpretive Summary: Volunteer potato is difficult to control in many rotation crops and causes substantial yield losses. In addition, volunteer potato is a host to serious disease, insect, and nematodes. The benefit of crop rotation is reduced when volunteer potato is not effectively controlled. These studies evaluated volunteer potato tuber size and weight under several shoot removal treatments. Two or more shoot removal treatments were consistently effective in reducing tuber density. When initiated during early tuber formation (6 to 7 leaf stage), two shoot removal events reduced tuber density 42% each year. When the same number of shoot removal events was initiated later (9 to 11 leaf), density was reduced 52% or more. Three or more shoot removal events greatly reduced tuber density and nearly eliminated production of larger tubers. Shoot removal reduced tuber weight most when initiated at the later stages of tuber formation. None of the treatments eliminated tuber production. These results have important management implications, as tuber size can be an important factor in volunteer potato fitness and response to management tactics. Plants produced from small tubers are more susceptible to control practices than plants from larger tubers. This work is an initial step in understanding the dynamics of volunteer potato shoot removal following tuberization on tuber production.
Technical Abstract: Volunteer potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is a host of serious pest problems in potato and is difficult to control in rotational crops. At early and later tuberization, potato shoots were successively removed by hand hoeing once, twice, and three or four times. Compared to no shoot removal, two or more shoot removal treatments reduced tuber density 42% or more. Averaged over years, a single shoot removal treatment at early tuberization reduced tuber mass 36%, compared to 66% when shoot removal was initiated several weeks later. Shoot removal treatments appeared to increase the mass of small tubers (=133 g each) for the following year, however from a practical standpoint, efficacy of several management practices is inversely proportional to tuber size. Either by cultivation, herbicide use, or hand removal, tactics that remove volunteer potato shoots require repeated application or coupling with other management practices to suppress the weed.