Potato Scab

Dear Martin

Is there a quick cure for potato scab?

Dear Percy

Many thanks for your recent enquiry concerning potato scab and unfortunately, the short answer to your question is no!

However, there are a few cultural techniques you can put into practice to try and reduce the chances of your spuds suffering this disfiguring tuber disease.

•    Choose scab resistant varieties. There are plenty around these days and if you take the time to read through the tuber suppliers catalogues or browse their sites carefully, you should find a good mix of early and maincrop varieties

•    Make sure your soil isn’t too alkaline. The bacteria which causes scab thrives in soils with a high PH so if you need to lime your soil, do it after the potato crop in your crop rotation cycle. If you find the soil PH is high due to previous liming, abstain from growing potatoes in that location for a year (try brassicas instead as the high PH will lessen the likelihood of club root) or apply flowers of sulphur to increase the soil acidity

•    Keep on top of watering. Regularly irrigating your crop as plants and tubers develop will help prevent scab and if you add plenty of organic matter to your soil (another way of lowering the soil PH, albeit slowly) it will help with water retention

Unfortunately there are no chemical or ‘quick fix’ solutions to control scab but armed with the information above, you should be able to lessen the impact of the diseases or even enjoy a potato scab-free crop next year!

Many thanks once again for your enquiry and the best of luck with your potato growing.

Kind Regards