Hemp Greenhouse Sanitation: Cleaning Up Today May Keep Disease Away

Diseases are a major concern for greenhouse hemp growers, and they can be a factor that limits the profitable production of plants. The warm, humid greenhouse environment provides optimal conditions for reproduction of many pathogens. A good sanitation program can help reduce the need for chemical controls, which are a limited option for hemp growers and can improve the effectiveness of other practices for managing diseases.

Sanitation Practices

  • Discard plants that are heavily infected and those with untreatable diseases such as root rots (Figure 1).
  • Isolate plants infected with treatable diseases until disease is eliminated.
  • Prune or remove infected tissues to reduce sources for spore production or propagule multiplication.
  • Discard prunings and culled plants immediately. Infected plant material should be buried, burned, or placed in cull piles (minimum 100 yds. from greenhouse). Do not compost diseased plant material.
  • Remove weeds and volunteer plants to limit alternate hosts and disease spread.
  • Do not reuse soil or potting media.
  • Do not bring outside soil into the greenhouse.
  • Disinfest pots, benches, floors, and tools to remove spores and propagules.
  • Clean excess soil and plant debris from floors and benches.
  • Cover dirt walkways with gravel, concrete, or landscape cloth.
  • Do not drag hoses and other tools along floors, where infested soil and plant debris can stick and be moved.
  • Empty the greenhouse between seasons or crops and clean and sanitize all surfaces.
  • Use footbaths containing sanitizers to prevent movement of propagules to clean areas.
Hemp Greenhouse Sanitation_Figure 1

Figure 1: Heavily infected plants should be discarded. (Photo: Kim Leonberger, UK)

Additional Information

 

By Nicole Ward Gauthier, Extension Plant Pathologist and Kimberly Leonberger, Extension Associate

Posted in Hemp