How to Deal With Common Greenhouse Maintenance Issues

GVZ GlasshousesNote: This article was written by GVZ Glasshouses.

Most common greenhouse maintenance problems are caused by neglect. It’s not that growers or nurseries deliberately leave maintenance until it’s too late; rather, they tend to be so busy that arranging for it to be done, or doing it themselves, gets put off to a more convenient time. The trouble is, there’s never a more convenient time.

The most common problems come from a lack of cleanliness and faulty equipment. You probably knew about the latter, but perhaps didn’t give much thought to the first one.

Cleanliness

In a greenhouse, everything gets dirty. Unless you’re using hydroponics, soil, for example, is literally at the root of everything you grow. And it has a way of finding itself onto many of the surfaces under glass.

As if that wasn’t enough, the glass itself also gets dirty. Water vapor is distributed around the glasshouse, condenses on the inner surfaces, and then when it evaporates, leaves condensation nuclei behind.

On the outside, standing water encourages the growth of fungi and attracts pests.

Aluminium-framed greenhouses accumulate dirt in the joints between panes of glass and also where the glass comes in close contact with the framing itself. Once the dirt and grime is allowed to settle, it can attract pests and mold. And as the weather worsens, so will the problems associated with it.

Keeping Your Glasshouse Clean

The most effective way to clean glass and other surfaces is with a jetwash in-between seasons, when the glasshouse is likely to be empty or nearly so.

Gutters are a nuisance to clean out and probably best left to the experts who are used to climbing up and onto greenhouses. You certainly don’t want to fall through the glass roof. That said, you can sweep the floors anytime, and doing so as you go makes the job a lot easier than waiting until it’s really a mess.

Disinfectants are another thing that must be handled by those who really know what they’re doing. If you’re not sure or haven’t done it before, then it’s probably a good idea to get someone to do it for you. Chemicals can be dangerous if they are mishandled.

Faulty Equipment

Everything in a glasshouse, including the structure itself, can break or malfunction. That means that you need to constantly be on the lookout for problems, and get them fixed as soon as possible.

Heaters, Heaters tend to corrode when pipes leak. It’s much cheaper to catch a leak early than to wait until it becomes a steady drip or worse. You also want to make sure you have enough fuel stored up before you need it. Buy it during the off-season. Then you’ll have it when you need it.

Ventilation equipment, Door and window seals should be checked each season. They tend to break down with use and from changes in the weather. Check your windows periodically to make sure that the close all the way. Do this at least every season. You want to find out that they don’t seal properly before the cold weather sets in; not after.

Screens. Screens also wear with use. Be sure you check them for tears and holes. You don’t want one coming apart when you need to open it, especially if it occurs on one of those days where the sun is in and out of the clouds all day.

Fans. Keep fans free of the dirt and gunge that builds up from excessive lubrication. Wherever there are moving parts, apply only as much as you need to do the job; and be sure to wipe off the excess when you’re finished.

Irrigation equipment. Check everything that transports or stores water for leaks or cracks. Remember that water finds its own level, so you may have to do some investigating to find the actual source of the problem.

Glasshouses. Check for cracked or broken glass and replace damaged panes as soon as you notice them. Gaps can let insects in, and water that freezes in the cracks can make the situation much worse. Look over all of your glasshouse; not just in the obvious high use areas. It’s worth taking a close look after a day of high winds or a strong storm. Look especially for signs of corrosion or breaks in the metal itself.

Other. There are likely to be parts of your glasshouse that you don’t visit very often. Don’t overlook these. Check your wires, for example, for evidence of wear and gnawing. If you happen to have a back-up power supply, then run it at least once per year so that you’re confident that it works. And check your lights. LEDs and high-efficiency bulbs last longer than the old tungsten lamps, but nothing lasts forever. Inspect these things before you need them.

Prevention

It’s been said that that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to your glasshouse and the equipment that you use with it.

The easiest way to prevent problems from occurring is to follow a routine inspection schedule. If you do a little bit each week or every couple of weeks, then it won’t take you more than a few minutes at a time. Create a routine that works for you. and then put it into practice. You can even delegate the easy stuff. The goal, of course, is to prevent downtime.

If you think you’re too busy to inspect your equipment, then think about what you stand to lose if your equipment broke down for a couple of hours, a day or longer.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

More From Structures...

November 15, 2017

Greenhouse Short Course in March 2018 Features Focus on Technology

The Greenhouse Crop Production & Engineering Design Short Course, which takes place at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC), includes three full days of educational sessions, one day of hands-on training workshops at CEAC, and a commercial Arizona greenhouse tour.

Read More
Adding-Heat-to-a-Greenhouse-GrowSpan

November 15, 2017

Tips on Adding Heat to Your Greenhouse for the Winter

Heating your greenhouse for the winter is important, and choosing efficient equipment and designs can help you quickly get returns on your heating investments.

Read More
Smart-Magenta-Greenhouse

November 14, 2017

Smart Solar Greenhouses Designed to Generate Energy and Improve Plant Growth

Research at the University of California Santa Cruz has shown that the first crops of tomatoes and cucumbers grown inside electricity-generating solar greenhouses are as healthy as those raised in conventional greenhouses.

Read More
Latest Stories
Adding-Heat-to-a-Greenhouse-GrowSpan

November 15, 2017

Tips on Adding Heat to Your Greenhouse for the Winter

Heating your greenhouse for the winter is important, and choosing efficient equipment and designs can help you quickly get returns on your heating investments.

Read More
Smart-Magenta-Greenhouse

November 14, 2017

Smart Solar Greenhouses Designed to Generate Energy and…

Research at the University of California Santa Cruz has shown that the first crops of tomatoes and cucumbers grown inside electricity-generating solar greenhouses are as healthy as those raised in conventional greenhouses.

Read More
BrightFarms Ohio

October 18, 2017

Leafy Greens Grower BrightFarms Building New 120,000 Sq…

The operation will provide locally grown salad greens and herbs to supermarkets in the Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus, OH, metropolitan areas.

Read More
Rough Brothers HopsHouse

October 18, 2017

New Greenhouse Aimed at Hydroponic Hops Producers

The new greenhouse model is the first single-solution hydroponic greenhouse for year-round hops growth, and harvests anywhere from two to five times a year.

Read More
GVZ Glasshouses

October 12, 2017

How to Deal With Common Greenhouse Maintenance Issues

The most common problems often come from a lack of cleanliness and faulty equipment. Here are a number of tips you can follow in each of these areas.

Read More
Youngs Greenhouse Space Growing Feature

August 14, 2017

How Young’s Plant Farm Invests in New Structures and Eq…

The Auburn, AL-based Top 100 Grower operation is improving its production infrastructure so it can continue to efficiently produce quality plants and keep up with demand.

Read More
CS3 Greenhouse (Stuppy)

June 4, 2017

7 Factors That Can Determine the Cost of Building a New…

Want to know the main factors that determine the cost of building a new greenhouse? Phil Bishop of Stuppy has put together an overview of the expenses involved in this type of project.

Read More
Dallas Johnson Greenhouses

May 28, 2017

Growers Offer Advice on What to Know Before Your Next B…

Two Top 100 Growers discuss their most recent building projects, the challenges they addressed, and what they learned during the process.

Read More
GGS Cannabis Production

April 19, 2017

Suppliers Can Offer Technical Solutions for New Cannabi…

Here’s a look at how a few manufacturers have partnered with growers to make their transition into cannabis a smooth one, whether it’s through hands-on guidance or partnering with other industry leaders.

Read More
GrowSpan Series 1000 Greenhouse (GrowSpan) feature

March 24, 2017

New Greenhouse Structure Models Emphasize Crop Protecti…

Manufacturers of new structure models say they are responding to grower concerns with designs that focus on ventilation, maximizing your space, and incorporating a wide range of crops. Here’s a look at some of their latest offerings.

Read More
Brian Munchel

March 18, 2017

Brian Munchel of Ludy Greenhouse Manufacturing Dies at …

Munchel, a long-time member of the National Greenhouse Manufacturing Association, worked at Ludy Greenhouse Manufacturing for more than 30 years and was a computer-aided draftsman.

Read More
Nexus Atrium for Prides Corner

March 15, 2017

How Tech Suppliers Are Helping Growers Find Solutions

Greenhouse structures and components manufacturers highlight some of their most recent projects.

Read More

February 15, 2017

Growers Planning to Invest in Structures in 2017

Data from this year’s Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry survey indicates that growers are planning to make major investments in structures and facility upgrades this year.

Read More
NVAC Greenhouse prototype

February 15, 2017

New Greenhouse Cooling System in Development for Hot-Cl…

Researchers at McGill University in Quebec have developed an alternative evaporative cooling solution for greenhouses in warm climates, and are now seeking commercial partners.

Read More

February 15, 2017

Registration Open for NGMA Spring Meeting

The annual gathering of the National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association will feature a look at green industry trends, emerging market opportunities, and more.

Read More
EFTE Film

January 18, 2017

Looking at Glass or Polyethylene for Your New Structure…

Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene, also known as EFTE, is a fluorine-based material that looks like a standard polyethylene greenhouse film but offers high light transmittance.

Read More
Nadia Sabeh, CEAC

January 18, 2017

Upcoming Seminars to Focus on Managing the Greenhouse E…

The seminars, which will also be accessible online, are presented by the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center.

Read More

November 16, 2016

Stay Up To Date On Greenhouse Structures And Materials

eGro, an online resource for greenhouse growers, features a series of video lectures and tutorials on a wide variety of topics, including greenhouse structures and terminology, heating and cooling, and more.

Read More