What's wrong with my potatoes?

rachlj(8a PNW)July 18, 2014

Hello all! I planted these babies at the end of April. They're late season, 110-135 days. German Butterball is the variety. A few weeks ago some of the vines started falling over and I began to notice some yellowing of the leaves. It's progressed, as you can see in the pic, into wilted, dead leaves, brown spotting and collapsed vines. These haven't flowered yet, and the potatoes are small (I snuck a peak to see if they'd even set any tubers). I didn't hill, only because this is my first go at growing potatoes and didn't know that was the thing to do! In the back you may see some healthier looking plants -- those are Yukon Golds and they seem to be doing fine. They've recently flowered, so I'm hoping for the best with those. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated!

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rachlj(8a PNW)

I tried to post a few other pics so you can see the entire bed, but apparently the files are too big. Hopefully this pic will give you all an idea of what's wrong!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:00PM
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Peter1142(Zone 6b)

Doesn't look like a blight to me... If they flowered recently they could be dying back early, or it could be environmental stress. But I am no expert. Is there any mold on the leafs (top or bottom)?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 4:18PM
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rachlj(8a PNW)

No mold that I can see. And these haven't flowered yet. I can't see any evidence that they're about to either. My Yukon Golds, further down the bed, have flowered, but these German Butter balls haven't.

Happy to hear it doesn't look like blight! I've been worried about that.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 4:23PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Environmental stress. Heat and/or excessive sunlight very possible here in the PNW recently. (It's been hot!)

This post was edited by jean001a on Sat, Jul 19, 14 at 1:07

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 1:05AM
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rachlj(8a PNW)

Jean001a, thanks for the input. I see your in PDX, yes? I'm nearby. Do you think we've had enough heat/sun to cause this? I know we've had an unusually warm summer, but in my town the warmest has been 97, and all of the 90s came well after this began (although we did have plenty of days in the 80s). Too hot for spuds? My only other potato growing experience was as a kid in AK, and we never had this happen, but an unusually hot day was 80. So maybe heat is the culprit. Darn!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 1:14AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Potatoes can be a bit fragile as the season wears on. They might be done, but you should have potatoes after almost 3 months. They don't always flower. You might try removing the bad foliage and try some fungicide and a dose of fertilizer to extend their season a little.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 2:24AM
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Skie_M(Zone 7 (Southwestern Oklahoma)

I'm thinking, since you didn't do that "hill" thing ... it could be over-watering for that particular variety?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 2:30AM
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