Hemp Greenhouse Sanitation
Diseases are a major concern for greenhouse growers and can be a key limitation to profitable plant production. Disease management in greenhouses is critical because the warm, humid environment in these structures provides optimal conditions for reproduction of many pathogens. When disease management is neglected, pathogen populations build-up and continue to increase as long as there is susceptible plant tissue available for infection and disease development. Infected plant tissue, infested soil, and pathogen inoculum (such as spores and survival structures) all serve as sources of pathogens that can later infect healthy plants.
IMPORTANCE OF SANITATION
Reduction of pathogens by various sanitation practices can reduce both active and dormant pathogens. While actively growing plants can provide host tissue for pathogen multiplication, dead plant material can harbor overwintering propagules (e.g. fungal spores) for months or years. These propagules can travel through wind/fan currents, stick to shoes or tools, or move with contaminated soil or water droplets. Thus, prevention of spread of pathogens to healthy plants and elimination of any disease-causing organisms from one cropping cycle to another is the basis for a disease management program using sanitation practices.
Sanitation is one of the most overlooked disease management practices but should be a focus of both organic and conventional growers. Often, growers presume that fungicides are the most important disease management tool at their disposal. However, hemp growers are limited in terms of fungicide products. Thus, basic cultural practices such as sanitation help reduce pathogen numbers and eliminate infective propagules that cause disease.
A good sanitation program can help reduce the need for chemical controls and can improve the effectiveness of other practices for managing disease. Likewise, fungicide effectiveness may be reduced when disease pressure is heavy and pathogen levels cannot be reduced sufficiently by chemical means.
Elimination and/or reduction of pathogens from greenhouses results in fewer pathogen propagules. The following sanitary practices can reduce amounts of infectious pathogens:
Controlling Phytophthora Root Rot in Greenhouse Ornamentals, PPFS-OR-H-9
Managing the Greenhouse Environment to Control Plant Diseases, PPFS-GH-1
Damping-off of Vegetables and Herbaceous Ornamentals, PPFS-GEN-3
Extension Plant Pathology Publications http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/plantpathology/extension/pubs.html
Adapted from PPFS-GH-4 Greenhouse Sanitation by Dr. Nicole Ward Gauthier and Dr. Kenneth Seebold
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