It takes leaves to make a potato crop, and maximum yields are achieved when potato plants cover the ground as rapidly as possible. This ensures plants capture the greatest amount of solar energy, writes Carrie Huffman Wohleb in this Growing Produce article.
But you must strike the right balance between leaf and tuber growth, she says. Excessive leaf growth can delay tuber initiation and bulking. And if the growing season is too short, much of the energy (carbohydrates) that maintained a big canopy will not end up in the tubers.
On the other hand, anything that restricts the optimal level of canopy growth will result in the plant capturing less energy and limiting the potential yield.
High levels of nitrogen fertility can cause excessive leaf growth at the expense of tubers. So, it should not be surprising to know that nitrogen also influences the levels of plant hormones that regulate tuber growth.