Volunteer Potato Survival

Click on the map marker closest to your location to get details on the risk level of volunteer potatoes surviving over the winter in your area. The marker color indicates the risk of volunteer survival (red = high risk; yellow = moderate; green = low). For more information on volunteer potato survival in Idaho, download this article here, and here.

Volunteer potatoes are potato tubers that are left behind in the field during harvest. If the potatoes are buried deep enough or the soil temperatures during the winter are warm enough these tubers can survive the winter and start growing in the spring. Volunteer potatoes have become an important perennial weed in many potato growing regions. Researchers in Washington state have reported that up to 1,122,000 tubers per acre are returned to the soil after harvest.  Potato sprouts emerge from overwintered tubers and grow rapidly in the spring.  This rapid growth combined with the tubers ability to re-sprout makes them very difficult to control, even with multiple control measures.  Volunteer potatoes also act as hosts for a number of important pests and diseases, including late blight, Colorado potato beetle, potato leafroll virus, and nematodes such as Paratrichodorus allius (the nematode that transmits tobacco rattle virus, the causal agent of corky ringspot disease).