- Volunteers are potatoes left over from harvest that sprout the following year in other crops. They can serve as host for late blight and other diseases that spread to healthy potato crops.
- Volunteer potatoes are very difficult to control. The most effective strategy is to use an integrated approach.
- Let cold winter temperatures freeze potatoes remaining in the field after harvest. Deep cultivations should be avoided in the fall since this buries tubers and protects them from freezing temperatures.
- Three to four cultivations when volunteer potatoes are at 9 to 11 leaf stage are very effective for volunteer control, particularly when following herbicide use.
- Short-season potato varieties have fewer volunteers because fewer are left behind during harvest and they tend to easily decay when left in the field.
- Potato crops having maleic hydrazide application tend to produce fewer volunteers and the volunteers have greatly reduced emergence.
- Choose rotation crops that are strong, healthy competitors (alfalfa, canola and small grain) or that utilize effective herbicide/cultivation practices (corn).
- No currently-labeled herbicides for use in controlling volunteer potatoes will provide 100% kill, therefore a combination of herbicides and/or cultivations may be necessary to effectively control volunteers in rotation crops.
- Fumigation at higher application rates helps to reduce volunteer potatoes.