Guidelines for Greenhouse Technicians and Graduate Students

It is the responsibility of the technicians and graduate students to keep their assigned greenhouse areas clean and presentable. The following schedule is suggested:

  1. Floors swept or washed down once a week.
  2. Plants checked for insect problems once a week.
  3. Dead leaves picked off plants and weeds removed from pots once a week.
  4. Plants evaluated for repotting and staking once every two weeks.
  5. Floor drain cleaned of debris once a month.

Following this schedule will greatly reduce the possibilities of accidents, diseases and insect problems from occurring in your greenhouse while maintaining a professional work environment.

Plant materials that are no longer needed should be discarded directly into the garbage dumpster outside of the building. Please do not put potting soil into the garbage cans. The garbage cans become too heavy to lift and the plastic bag tears from the weight. If you are discarding a large amount of used potting soil or pots please see the greenhouse staff for assistance in recycling this material.

Plant materials that need to be sterilized should be put into a sterilizing bag and sealed shut to prevent insect and disease problems from spreading. Avoid storing large amounts of plant materials that need sterilizing in your greenhouse. The autoclave is available for use every day.

Keep the door to your greenhouse section closed. This will prevent flying insects from entering your area and help the heating and cooling systems operate efficiently.

If you are working in more than one greenhouse or also maintaining plants in growth chambers, plan on working with your plants that are the least pest and disease infected first so as not to spread problems from your sick plants to your healthy plants. If all of your plants are healthy, it is good practice to work on your plants in the growth chamber first.

Do not bring plants from a greenhouse into a growth chamber without having the greenhouse management inspect them. It is preferred that plants intended for growth chamber studies be started from seed inside the growth chamber to avoid insect/disease problems.

Use yellow sticky cards to monitor your plants for insect problems. They are available in the headhouse.

Equipment that is not being used for long periods of time should be removed from the greenhouse. The high temperatures, humidity and UV radiation can quickly damage most materials.

Please keep work areas, carts and sinks clean. This will help prevent the spread of insect and disease problems and make working in the greenhouse a more pleasant experience for everyone.

Guidelines for Control of Insects and Disease

Cleanliness! One of the most important factors for controlling insects and disease:

  • Pick up dead leaves and plant materials from benches and floor. Do not leave unused pots with potting soil sitting in the greenhouse. Insects will live and hide in old plant refuse and potting soil. Remove weeds from your pots to prevent attracting insects to your plants.
  • Proper spacing of your plants on the benches allows for a better growing environment. When it becomes necessary to spray, it also allows better penetration of the insecticide or fungicide.
  • Use yellow sticky cards to monitor insect problems on your plants. These cards are supplied in the headhouse.
  • Over watering is as undesirable as under watering. Both conditions stress plants and promotes disease and insect (fungus gnat) problems.
  • If you plan to keep your plants for an extended period (45 days or more), they should be treated with a systemic insecticide. This will provide insect control for several months.
  • Do not bring plants or plant material from outside the greenhouse into your section without having the greenhouse management check them for potential insect or disease problems. There is a $250.00 inspection and pesticide application fee if this rule is not followed. Houseplants or non-research plants are not permitted to be in the greenhouse.
  • At the first sign of an insect or disease problem, please contact the greenhouse staff and the technician in charge of your area. If possible, remove and discard the affected plant material directly into the dumpster outside the greenhouse. Do not put infected plants into garbage cans in the greenhouse, this will avoid spreading the problem to other greenhouse sections.

The greenhouse staff is there to help you with insects and disease problems. Please feel free to ask for advice on insect and disease identification as well as control measures.

  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences