Volunteer potatoes

Solanum tuberosum

Volunteer potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are a prevalent weed in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and other potato production areas of the world. Field surveys have shown that 25,600 to 186,155 tubers per acre are left in the soil following a commercial potato harvest. In areas where winter soil temperatures are not cold enough to kill tubers left in the field, serious weed problems occur. In the PNW, volunteer potatoes are a problem in cultivated crops such as alfalfa, beans, carrots, corn, onions, peas, potatoes, and wheat. They are especially damaging in non-competitive crops with few effective management options. In addition to being a competitive weed, volunteer potatoes harbor insect pests, nematodes, and disease, which partially negates the benefit of crop rotation. Volunteers may also contaminate potato seed prod