Potato shoots have caught a frost, what to do?

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Daveswife
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Potato shoots have caught a frost, what to do?

Postby Daveswife » Sun May 01, 2016 12:00 pm

We have planted potatoes in tubs again after great success over the past few years. Hitherto frost has never been a problem but the earlies in tubs near the greenhouse have caught a frost and part of the shoots turned brown. So I need your advice, please.

Should I:

Earth them up to cover the shoots?
Trim the damaged shoots in the hope of promoting new shoots?
Move the pots to a sheltered position?
Cover them up each night when low night temperature is forecast?
If the frosted leaves will rot and impact the potential yield, should I re-plant with new seed potatoes?
Do nothing and hope for the best?
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snooky
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Re: Potato shoots have caught a frost, what to do?

Postby snooky » Sun May 01, 2016 5:27 pm

If you think that your potatoes have suffered from the frost, all may not be lost. Just because they have been hit with frost does not necessarily mean all your crop will be lost, they may recover especially they have long sized stems below the ground. If you act quick, all that may happen is that you will have a reduced crop.

Frost breaks down the DNA in the plant and if this is not dealt with and removed, it then spreads and effects the whole crop.

1. You will need to remove all the effected haulm (stems) and foliage as soon as possible
2. Keep well covered to prevent further frost
3. Leave the potatoes in for a couple of weeks and hopefully, you should see some signs of new growth.
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PLUMPUDDING
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Re: Potato shoots have caught a frost, what to do?

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Sun May 01, 2016 5:40 pm

How black are they? If it has just caught the edges leave them alone they will grow normally. Earth them up in case of further frost and have some fleece handy. We can get frosts here until the end of May so mine usually get black edges at least once and I've never noticed it affecting the crop.
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John
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Re: Potato shoots have caught a frost, what to do?

Postby John » Sun May 01, 2016 6:11 pm

Hello DW
I would suggest the 'do nothing' approach'.
Just regard this as a bit of a set back. They will recover quickly and new leaves/shoots will soon take over.
Your crop will just be a bit later than you might have expected.
Be ready with some fleece to throw over them at night if any more frosts are forecast.

John
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Re: Potato shoots have caught a frost, what to do?

Postby Monika » Sun May 01, 2016 7:17 pm

I agree with John. Ours have been slightly affected by frost, too, in spite of being covered with fleece, but we have been there before and they always seem to recover (unless they have been totally blackened, of course), so I would not worry, Daveswife.
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Re: Potato shoots have caught a frost, what to do?

Postby Cider Boys » Sun May 01, 2016 10:19 pm

Mine have been hit by the frost as well, I did hear the frost warning and thought about earthing them up but forgot and paid the price. I've heard some say to water the frosted leaves before they thaw, don't know why or if it works. The frost usually knocks them back a fortnight or so then they hopefully will recover. When I used to grow them commercially we would try and plant as early as possible ie even February if the soil conditions were right. We used to plant them deep and ridge them high, wish I had done the same with my garden potatoes. I am very late with everything else, only just sown my parsnips and have yet to sow any leeks, now I wish I had planted those earlier and my potatoes later.

Still mustn't grumble

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Geoff
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Re: Potato shoots have caught a frost, what to do?

Postby Geoff » Sun May 01, 2016 10:37 pm

Mine haven't been frosted. The outdoor ones are in a polycloche but while the nights have been so cold I've had another (fairly old and yellow) sheet of polythene over the top. Uncovered them today to find very leggy plants, wondering if they'll get damaged by the wind and rain instead.
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Re: Potato shoots have caught a frost, what to do?

Postby Johnboy » Mon May 02, 2016 10:17 am

Hi Geoff,
This looks like a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.
JB.
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Re: Potato shoots have caught a frost, what to do?

Postby Chavers » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:38 pm

PLUMPUDDING wrote:How black are they? If it has just caught the edges leave them alone they will grow normally. Earth them up in case of further frost and have some fleece handy. We can get frosts here until the end of May so mine usually get black edges at least once and I've never noticed it affecting the crop.


That's good to know. I thought black edges meant they were dead.
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