Louisiana growers have come to expect the multiple hurricanes that plow through their region each year to cause structural damage to their greenhouses. But snow? Two to eight inches of it fell in a single day across the state a couple of weeks ago, and the snow’s weight caused many greenhouses to collapse.
Fifteen of 18 greenhouses at Poole Brothers Nursery’s main location were damaged recently by unexpected Louisiana snowfall.
Thirty-five of the 70 greenhouses at Poole Brothers Nursery in the central Louisiana collapsed under the weight of the snow. Owner Debbie Head says six inches fell at the nursery’s main location in Lecompte, where three of 18 houses were left standing. Poole Brothers has five locations in all, and some of its affected structures were new.
Astoundingly, Head says the snow-caused damages are worse than the wind and heavy rain damages her nursery’s structures sustained from hurricanes Gustav and Ike earlier this year. She remembers snow falling in the area off and on in past winters, yet doesn’t recall snow sticking quite like this in the last 25-plus years.
Poole Brothers, however, lucked out in two aspects: No plant material was lost, although the operation has spent much of its time moving material, and Head expects the company’s insurance to cover at least a portion of the structural damages.
Other Louisiana growers will not be as fortunate.
“Many greenhouses had limited insurances or no insurance to the structures,” Mike Strain, agriculture commissioner for Louisiana, told the Associated Press.