Snow that accumulates on a greenhouse can put significant weight on the structural members. Snow can be light and fluffy with a water equivalent of 12 inches of snow equal to 1 inch of rain. It can also be wet and heavy with 3 inches of snow equal to 1 inch of rain. Snow having a 1 inch of rain water equivalent will load a greenhouse with 5.2 psf. This amounts to 6.5 tons on a 25' X 96' greenhouse.
While we do not know what is in store for this winter, a little preparation before a storm can minimize damage from severe weather events.
Here are a few resources to help prepare for winter storms this season.
Info by John Bartok, Extension Professor Emeritus and Agricultural Engineer, NRME Department, University of Connecticut
- Reducing Storm Damage to Your Greenhouses -UConn Greenhouse IPM.
- Reducing Storm Damage to Your Greenhouses (version 2) - UMass Extension (with additional links to MA resources on storm preparation and response)
- 10 Snow-Related Causes of Greenhouse Failure 2013. Greenhouse Grower Magazine.
- Snow Melting Tips 2015. Greenhouse Management Magazine.
- Preparing Your Greenhouse for a Hurricane, 2013, Skip Paul, Wishingstone Farm, Little Compton, RI.
Learn to recognize the damage. See this article with photos: “Chilling Injury on Cuttings: What to look for” by Tom Dudek, Michigan State University Extension.
Tina Smith, UMass Extension and Leanne Pundt, UConn Extension