Even though greenhouses are made for winter, we have some helpful suggestions for you to make sure your greenhouse makes it through the season.
Historically, cannabis farmers will use greenhouses primarily in the summer. With legalization sweeping across the country, we now see people using them year around. In some cases, the greenhouses that are used in the summer are not quite set up for winter.
Hoop houses, in general, have a slight flat spot at the peak of the arches where snow can collect. This can compromise a hoop house quickly and result in a collapse from heavy snow.
In order to avoid a collapse here are a few things you can do:
- Heat the greenhouse to a minimum of 55 degrees to help reduce the snow load by melting it. Heat from the inside will make the poly cover warm up and can help melt the snow.
- Sometimes heat isn’t enough and you might have to go out and manually knock the snow off.
- Take the cover off the hoop house for the winter and let the snow fall inside to avoid accumulations.
Besides snow loads on the roof, there are also ground loads. When the accumulated snow slides off the roof, it collects in a big pile on the ground next to the greenhouse. The sides of the greenhouse can actually cave in with too much ground load pushing in from the sides. It’s best to shovel or snow blow the accumulated snow off the sides off the greenhouse to avoid excess ground loads.
A-frame and gothic style houses tend to have thicker/bigger metal than most hoops, but they still have a threshold and the same policies above can apply to these types of greenhouses as well.
The Bottom Line
You need to pay constant attention to your existing greenhouses in snow and high wind areas. New greenhouses should be designed to maintain structural integrity for anywhere the job site is located.
Eric Brandstad is the general manager of Forever Flowering Greenhouses. [email protected]