Weed management in the greenhouse

Insect and disease management in the greenhouse is often made more challenging when weeds are a problem under greenhouse benches. Weeds can serve as reservoir for INSV and will provide the perfect habitat for thrips and other pests.

by Tom Ford - tgf2@psu.edu

Each year brings with it new challenges and opportunities for the greenhouse industry and the growers that are tasked with overseeing the various production facilities across the world. Weeds growing underneath greenhouse benches may not be the focal point for some growers, but as hosts for pests and a reservoir for diseases they deserve as much attention as the pests and diseases that they may harbor.

Weed management is best accomplished in the greenhouse through the use of ground cloth under the benches. While there may be a temptation to cover the ground cloth with stone, this practice makes it impossible to remove potting media that has fallen to the ground from spilled containers. Accumulation of media in the gravel provides the perfect environment for weed seed germination and growth. If ground cloth is utilized under benches, spilled media can be easily swept - up thus eliminating the substrate needed for weed establishment.

If ground cloth has not been utilized and weeds are well established under greenhouse benches a grower may be forced to consider the judicious application of an appropriately labeled herbicide in the greenhouse structure. While there are hundreds of herbicides on the marketplace for outdoor environments, there are very few products that are labeled for use in protected culture (greenhouses and high tunnels).

Read the full e-GRO Alert here.

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