Probably, not only every schoolchild, but also many kids know that edible parts of potatoes are underground. Since childhood, many people remember the fairytale “Tops and Roots”, where the cunning peasant was deceiving a greedy and lazy bear who wanted to do nothing, but using threats to receive his share of the harvest. Here and in the case of potatoes, he received exactly half of the crop by weight - “tops”, who did not know where to put it, because they turned out to be completely edible.
True, in the modern world and the aerial parts of potato bushes are used. Potato tops are used to prepare special infusions to combat pests. And if there is a significant amount of green mass, it can be composted and receive valuable organic fertilizer. Although rejoice too large size of the leaves and stems of potatoes is not worth it. After all, the size of the potato tops has no direct effect on the harvest. Of course, with a good harvest of potatoes, as a rule, large and high tops grow, but if its height is close to the meter mark, then it’s time to sound the alarm. In this case, it is too likely that the tubers in such tops will mature small and few.
Causes of intensive growth of tops
Why do potatoes have high tops? There are several answers to this question, and often the reason lies precisely in the wrong actions of the gardener himself.
Often it happens that, acting with the best of intentions, a person does not get exactly the result that was planned. Here and in this case, an excess dose of fertilizer can lead to an excessive growth of the leaf mass of potatoes, unfortunately, to the detriment of the yield of tubers.A warning! Especially dangerous in this regard are nitrogen and nitrogen-containing fertilizers, including manure and humus.
The excess of these fertilizers leads to the fact that potato tops can grow up to a meter or more in height. But at the same time, the tubers almost do not develop, and the harvest will be unsatisfactory.
What to do in the case when the tops have already grown? You can try to adjust the dressing. Best of all for these purposes is the introduction of superphosphate. Of course, the tops from this will not go anywhere, but stimulation of the process of tuberization will be given. After all, superphosphate has the ability to accelerate the aging process of potatoes and activate the outflow of nutrients from the leaves to the tubers. To prepare a nutrient solution, 10 g of superphosphate is diluted in 10 liters of hot water and potato bushes are shed with the resulting solution. This amount is sufficient for processing one hundred of a potato field.Tip! You can try to apply foliar feeding on the leaves. As in this situation, urgent measures are needed, and foliar spraying works very quickly.
For the future, you need to know that if, when preparing the beds for planting potatoes in the fall or spring, they were filled with manure or humus, then no additional nitrogen fertilizer is needed for the potatoes.
But feeding with phosphorus, potassium, iron, magnesium and trace elements can be carried out several times a season, especially if there are signs of starvation on the leaves: chlorosis, yellowing and others.
In general, with the feeding of potatoes, you must be very careful. After all, even if the tops grow large and healthy, and the tubers will delight in their size and quantity, the potatoes, oversaturated with fertilizers, are poorly stored. And that means that all your good harvest may soon disappear. Therefore, feeding is desirable to carry out strictly according to the instructions and it is better to give less than to overfeed.
For the same reason, when a gardener wants to do what is best, and the result is not the best, he uses large-sized tubers for planting.
What is going on? In large tubers there is a correspondingly larger supply of nutrients. Therefore, potato plants intensively grow and grow green mass in height mainly due to the tuber, and the root system does not develop at the same time. When the nutrition from the tuber ends, the plant begins to develop new tubers, but the time is already lost, the growing season comes to an end and the tubers grow very small.Comment! That is why experienced gardeners recommend using potato tubers for planting, which do not exceed the size of chicken eggs.
Lack of light
The simplest answer to the question: “Why do potatoes have high tops?” Is the fact that the plants may not have enough light. Probably everyone who has ever grown seedlings at home is well aware of this effect. If the light level is small and the shoots do not have enough light, then they begin to stretch heavily in height. So the potatoes planted in shady or half shady places, in the struggle for additional lighting, begin to reach higher, closer to the sun.
The same effect can occur in a sunny place if the tubers are planted too close to each other. Potatoes do not respond well to the thickening of the planting - it either begins to be drawn out or is affected by fungal diseases from poor air exchange in the beds.
Although in the southern regions, where the sun is so much that it is enough for everyone with an excess, even in partial shade places, despite the high growing stems, it can mature quite good potatoes.Attention! This is primarily due to the fact that potatoes do not like heat, and tubers are best formed at moderate temperatures, not higher than + 25 ° C.
If in all the above cases, much depended on the actions of the gardener themselves, then no one is yet able to influence the weather. And in the conditions of warm and rainy summer all grass grows by leaps and bounds. Is no exception and potato tops. And since the weather conditions are rather unpredictable, in this case only one can be done. Wait for the potatoes to fade and after a while trample all the tops, so that it lies on the ground and is unable to take more nutrients from the tubers. As a result, all the energy of the plant goes into the tubers and you will be provided with a bountiful harvest.
What to do if the tops are low
In fact, it is not always the height of the potato tops that negatively affect the yield of potatoes. After all, there are many varieties that are characterized by a high aboveground part. For them, the height of the potato bush within one meter is almost the norm.Important! For example, Nakra and Adretta varieties have tall and powerful bushes.
You can worry only in those cases when you have a long time growing variety known to you, which suddenly greatly stretched.
Everyone knows that the world is far from perfect, so while some are very worried because of the high size of their potato leaves, others are wondering why they have such a small leaf.
If you are experiencing a new variety of potatoes and are faced with one of these problems, then you should not worry before the time when you harvest. Because potato varieties have very different characteristics and among them are found, including those whose tops do not grow above 40-50 cm. But at the same time they can boast quite decent yields - up to 25 tubers from a bush. For example, a similar variety of Red Scarlet potatoes has similar characteristics. In the potato fortune "Luck" is also very low tops. The short stature of the bushes is just a feature of some varieties.
But not everything is so simple. Unfortunately, the short stature of potato tops can also cause nutritional deficiencies, primarily in phosphorus. The potato crop decreases sharply. To be sure of the diagnosis, it is enough just to dig at least one tuber from under the bush and cut it into two parts. With phosphorus starvation, a violet hue appears on the cut. Fertilization with superphosphate will help to cope with this problem, and it is better to hold it in the form of spraying on the sheet.
Thus, you should not be upset if you think that the tops of your potatoes are not similar to the one that grows in the neighboring garden. First you need to make sure that this is not a feature of the variety, and then take any measures.