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Hort in the Home Landscape

A blog devoted to sharing timely horticulture topics and answering the questions of gardeners and homeowners.
ow Load Collapse PVC HT Vinland Valley KS TC

Getting Your Home Greenhouse Ready For Winter

Winter can be a tough time for greenhouses. Even if you're not growing anything in your greenhouse for the winter, there is still care to be take to protect your structure from heavy snow loads this time of year.

In a recent article in the Inside Grower Newsletter by Annie White, I read about some tips for choosing the proper greenhouse and protecting it from dangerous snow loads this time of year.
Here are the fundamentals of both design and winter maintenance:

1. Choose a peaked roof design. When building a greenhouse facility in a snowy climate, consider a peaked-roof design. Peaked roofs allow the accumulated snow to slide off more readily. Reducing the snow load reduces stress on the greenhouse's truss supports and overall framing. During heavy snowstorms or back-to-back storms, Rimol recommends using an extended roof rake to pull snow off the structure and give the greenhouse bracing some much-needed relief.

2. Design for snow accumulation. When designing your greenhouse facility, also make sure you consider where snow will accumulate and how you will access it for removal. Don't put greenhouses too close together.

3. Shovel out the sidewalls. Snow sliding off the peak can cause issues for the structure's sidewalls, especially if they have automated roll-up sides. Get in there with a shovel or snow blower to minimize the snow accumulation on the sidewalls.

4. Prevent ice rips. Repeated freezing and thawing can turn fluffy snow into sharp pieces of ice that can puncture polyethylene coverings. Keeping the greenhouse roof and sides clear will reduce the chances of ice-related rips. Have repair tape on hand just in case your greenhouse covering gets ripped.

5. Have a backup generator. Rimol recommends having a backup generator to ensure your greenhouse remains functional throughout the winter. Any automated ventilation parts to your greenhouse will sit idle if a powerful snow, wind or ice storm wipes out electrical power.

Learn more about selecting Greenhouse for the Home Gardener in a recent Youtube video.

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