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Greenhouse Operation Procedures


Safety takes the highest priority at the Research Greenhouse Complex. It is expected that all users of the facility follow the operation procedures and rules and regulations provided in this document.

There is a mandatory safety training session that all personnel working in the greenhouse must complete. At the completion of the safety training, a certificate accredited by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will be issued to each participant.

Plant Care

It is the responsibility of the researcher, graduate student or department technician to take care of plants' needs such as watering, potting, pruning, fertilizing, and insect/disease control. It is important that a member of the research group has a pesticide applicators license. It is the responsibility of the research group to keep its area of the greenhouse clean to maintain a professional image. For further information see the "Rules and Regulations", "Guidelines for Greenhouse Technicians and Graduate Students" and "Guidelines for Control of Insects and Disease in Greenhouse" sections in this manual.

Plant Disposal

When plant materials are no longer needed they should be discarded directly into the dumpster outside the building. Please avoid using the garbage cans for plant and soil disposal. The garbage cans become too heavy to lift and the plastic bag inside tears. Leaving plant materials in the greenhouse garbage cans may also lead to the spread of insect and disease problems to other locations. If you have a large amount of soil, pots or trays to dispose of see the greenhouse management for possible recycling of this material.

Plants Grown in Containment

It is the researcher's responsibility to maintain the required permits for growing engineered plants and to follow the proper isolation protocols. An inventory of the plant material is also required. All engineered plants, soil and pots must be sterilized before discarding.

Biohazardous Materials Disposal

Engineered plants, virus infected plants and any other biologically hazardous materials must be sterilized before disposal. An autoclave is located in the greenhouse and is available to all researchers using the facility. Please use an autoclave bag to contain all of the materials to be sterilized and seal it with autoclave tape. Dispose of sterilized materials directly into the dumpster outside the building, not into garbage cans. Please consult greenhouse management for directions to operate the autoclave.


The autoclave is available to all renters. You must be trained by the greenhouse staff in its operation before you receive a login PIN for the autoclave. The greenhouse does not supply autoclave bags but does provide autoclave tape to seal the bags. Please do not use garbage bags or plastic twist ties in the autoclave. Significant damage will occur to the machine. If you are using the autoclave after 4:30 p.m. please turn it off when finished to conserve energy. Report any malfunctions of the autoclave immediately to the greenhouse management.

Laboratory Use

Two general laboratories, each with distilled water and a fume hood are available for the renters of the facility.

The laboratory safety protocol developed by REHS should be followed while working in the laboratory. It is the researcher's responsibility to keep the laboratory clean and make space available for other users. Any equipment damaged in the laboratory will be the user's responsibility to repair or replace. An inventory of chemicals used in the laboratory must be submitted to the Greenhouse Supervisor to meet REHS and Fire Department safety requirements. The use or storage of any hazardous materials (radioactive, toxic, etc.) should be reported to the Greenhouse Supervisor before they are brought to the facility. The laboratory door should be locked during lunch breaks and in the evening for security reasons.


Cold storage is available by permission only. Please contact the Greenhouse Supervisor for further information. All materials put into cold storage must have a tag with the users name, date, telephone number and a description of the material. Unmarked materials will be discarded. There is no general storage at the facility. Small storage cabinets are provided for the growth chambers and the containment greenhouses only. Please do not store supplies or unused equipment inside greenhouses or growth chambers.

Preventive Maintenance

The greenhouse management performs preventive maintenance on the greenhouse, growth chambers and laboratories. They may ask you if certain equipment can be turned off temporarily for maintenance. If you have a period of time in your research that allows for the shut down of equipment, please inform the greenhouse management of this time period so that preventive maintenance can be scheduled.