If you have planted potatoes during spring potato blight is definitely something you’ll need to watch out for.
Conditions for Potato Blight
Potato blight generally thrives in warm, damp conditions. This will make it an issue in the summer months if we start to get rain and the leaves retain the moisture.
Blight spores are produced on infected leaves and are then dispersed by wind to other neighbouring plants and gardens. Blight spores can be passed between plants without even being particularly close to one another.
Identifying Potato Blight
You’ll recognise potato blight by brown and yellow spots forming on the leaf. These will eventually turn to form larger dark brown patches if left untreated.
Infected potato tubers’ skin will be affected. A brown discolouration will form on the skin, and the tubers are likely to develop soft rot.
What Can Be Done?
When planting your potatoes, make sure they are well earthed to prevent spores from getting into the tubers. Some varieties of potato are more blight resistant than others, such as Golden Wonders. Be sure to keep an eye on Met Éireann Warnings by signing up to their alerting service to keep up to date with blight risk. Whenever warm, damp conditions are forecasted in your area an alert will appear on the website. If you see this it’s a good idea to take preventative measures against blight. You can also download the Met Éireann app to receive push notifications directly to your mobile phone.
If you catch the blight early and it has only affected a few leaves, you can cut off the affected leaves and hope that the blight doesn’t spread any further.
If the blight has gotten into the structure of the plant and is widespread around your garden your best option is to cut the entire plant to the ground and leave the potatoes in the ground. If you are lucky, the potatoes might not have caught the blight and won’t rot as they mature.
Preventative measures include using chemical sprays such as Bayer Garden Potato Blight Control. This is a protective fungicide for use before the disease attacks your plant.
It is rain-fast within 1 hour, so should be applied immediately.
Get in Touch!
If you have any questions about potato blight contact us on social media- @CountryLifeGC (Links in footer). If you have a specific problem such as pest damage it’s really helpful to send us a picture- we’d love to help!