Our problem has been positively identified as scurf. The pathogen affected
all varieties, which were Georgia Jet, Beauregard, and five heirloom
varieties of white-fleshed sweet potatoes. The orange-fleshed varieties
were grown from purchased slips. The heirlooms were grown from slips we
produced ourselves, using stock provided by neighbors who have grown these
sweet potatoes for years.
I understand that scurf can be introduced by infected slips. I suspect one
or more of the heirloom varieties was the source of infection, even though
the heirloom varieties were far less affected by the disease than the
commercial cultivars, and even though we were careful to grow the slips in
a sterile medium.
The problem now is how to avoid a recurrence of the disease next year. We
will, of course, rotate the sweet potatoes to another part of the farm next
year, and will avoid planting sweet potatoes in this year's field for the
recommended span of five years.
But I'm concerned that the heirloom sweets saved for next year's slips will
continue to be a source of infection. Anyone have advice on how to treat
the seed stock, or grow the slips, to avoid the problem?
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