Greenhouse & Cold Storage Clean Up: Tips and Pointers

  Hort Snacks - February 2017
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 Failure to properly maintain and sanitize greenhouse and long-term cold storage facilities and equipment can result in the development of insect and disease problems. With the increased risk of viruses and other carryover pests, sanitation is even more critical than ever. For greenhouses, sanitation should take place throughout the growing season, as much as possible and intensive cleanup should be conducted between crops. For storages, clean up should take place prior to use in the fall.

The following steps can/may be taken to minimize problem development.

In-Season Greenhouse Sanitation

  • Remove ALL infected plant materials
  • Remove any weeds
  • Control algal build-ups on surfaces
  • Fix problems as they arise
  • Maintain drip irrigation system
    • Check filters regularly
    • Watch lines for leaks
    • Watch drippers to ensure they are functioning properly (i.e. not plugged or excess flow)
    • Avoid buildup of algae
      • Inject chlorine or biocide at end of each irrigation cycle, as regular cleanup reduces the need for intensive flushes
  • Sanitize propagation area regularly
End of Season / Between-Crop Sanitation
  • Use Mother Nature to kill off pests, as much as possible
  • Turn off heat for a period of time in winter (e.g. 1 week)
    • Allow temperature to build up (sunlight and zero ventilation = potential pasteurization)
    • Flush greenhouse irrigation system to kill accumulated organisms (chlorine/biocide flush) and to remove precipitates (acid flush)
  • Repair areas with poor drainage
  • Remove all debris and trash from entire facility
    • May include vacuuming
  • Remove all used growing media, as well as any remaining crop products
  • Clean and then disinfect all surfaces
    • Follow the correct steps in order to achieve the desired results
    • Multiple steps may be required
  • Check and/or repair ventilation, heating/cooling and fertilizer injection systems, as applicable
  • Additional steps may be required for specific pests
More detailed cleanup procedures can be found at the following links:

End of Season Cleanup
Maintenance and Cleaning Drip Irrigation Systems
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Robert Spencer.
This information published to the web on January 31, 2017.