Potato virus Y (PVY) is a non-persistent virus that is transmitted by many aphid species and causes significant damage to potato production. We constructed a spatially-explicit model simulating PVY spread in a potato field and used it to investigate possible effects of transmission efficiency, initial inoculum levels, vector behavior, vector abundance, and timing of peak vector activity on PVY incidence at the end of a simulated growing season. Lower PVY incidence in planted seed resulted in lower virus infection at the end of the season. However, when populations of efficient PVY vectors were high, significant PVY spread occurred even when initial virus inoculum was low. Non-colonizing aphids were more important for PVY spread compared to colonizing aphids, particularly at high densities. An early-season peak in the numbers of noncolonizing aphids resulted in the highest number of infected plants in the end of the season, while mid- and late-season peaks caused relatively little virus spread. Our results highlight the importance of integrating different techniques to prevent the number of PVY-infected plants from exceeding economically acceptable levels instead of trying to control aphids within potato fields. Such management plans should be implemented very early in a growing season.