Managing Weeds in and Around the Greenhouse

Managing Weeds in and Around the Greenhouse

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When your greenhouses are empty you have the opportunity to thoroughly eliminate weeds to reduce problems for the spring crop cycle.

Weeds are a persistent problem, needing constant attention in both retail and wholesale greenhouses. Weeds create a poor impression to customers and are a primary source for pests such as whiteflies, aphids, thrips, mites, slugs and diseases. Common weeds in greenhouses such as chickweed (Stellaria media), creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata), bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) and others can become infected with impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV) and tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and serve as a disease source. Weeds infested with thrips then vector the virus onto susceptible greenhouse crops.

How They Arrive

Weeds and their seeds are brought into the greenhouse on infested plant material, tools, equipment, animals and people. Seeds can be moved by wind (dandelion, horseweed, groundsel), irrigation water (chickweed) and by seeds being naturally propelled (woodsorrel, bittercress). Annual weeds reproduce primarily be seed with several generations occurring per year. Once growing in the greenhouse and allowed to flower, weeds produce an enormous amount of seed and some weeds such as woodsorrel and bittercress propel seeds up to 12 feet throughout the greenhouse.

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Extension Greenhouse Crops and Floriculture Program
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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