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Cultivation and Hilling


Cultivation operations often begin after potatoes begin to emerge. The purpose of cultivation is to maintain soil aeration, shape the beds to maximize tuber growth and reduce tuber greening, establish irrigation furrows, and control weeds. Hilling should be completed prior to the plants filling half of the row being careful to minimize foliar, stolon, and/or root damage. Hilling allows for shallow planting depth to speed emergence while providing the soil depth necessary for proper tuber development and protection from sunlight. Discs, hilling listers, and rolling cultivators are commonly used. Hills should be broad with flatter tops rather than narrow and peaked. Cultivation during hilling provides weed control and incorporates soil-applied herbicides.