University of Vermont




Greenhouse Director's Responsibilities and Authority

1. The greenhouse director (also called greenhouse manager in this document) has full responsibility and authority for general operations of the greenhouse.

Responsibilities include:
plant cultivation for research and teaching programs
student instruction
implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems
record keeping for pesticide use (State of Vermont) and agricultural worker protection (EPA).
monitoring and maintenance of the physical structure and internal systems and equipment.
operating and troubleshooting the computerized QCOM climate control system.
budget management and development of projected expenditures.
outreach to the University community and general public.

2. The Greenhouse Director's immediate supervisor is the Associate Dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS) . The greenhouse manager meets with two committees, the CALS Research and Teaching Facilities Board and the Faculty Greenhouse Advisory Committee. 

The CALS Research and Teaching Facilities Committee is responsible for the management of the Horticultural and Miller Research Centers and UVM Greenhouse. The greenhouse manager and the representative faculty advisory member meet regularly with other members of the board to review operations, budgets, and to plan for the future programs at the facilities

The Faculty Greenhouse Advisory Committee is composed of faculty members who use the greenhouse for research, education and extension programs. Members represent the College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS) (Plant Biology, Plant and Soil Science) and the School of Natural Resources (SNR). The function of the board is to make recommendations to the CALS Research and Teaching Facilities Board on programmatic needs and priorities of the greenhouse facility. The advisory board meets regularly to discuss and formulate policy and procedure issues, future planning, capitalization and facility improvements, and daily routine issues that need faculty advisement.   

A faculty member, who represents greenhouse users, is selected from this committee to become a member of the CALS Research and Teaching Facilities Board.

Policy statements are formulated by the Faculty Greenhouse Advisory Committee and verified by the CALS Research and Facilities Board. 

3. The greenhouse manager supervises the greenhouse research technicians, holiday staff, college workstudy students and volunteers.

Use of the University Greenhouse 

Occasionally, the greenhouse is used to its full capacity. Space will be allocated before the beginning of each semester using the following order for priority. 'Sponsored' is defined as a project which is funded through the University budget system. All projects using greenhouse space must pay for the space they occupy.

Instruction: Listed undergraduate and graduate courses offered regularly in the Division of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Extension.
Research and Extension: Sponsored projects within the Division of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Extension. The faculty member must have a University research budget number.

Instruction: Courses not regularly offered by the Division of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Extension. 
Research and Extension: Non-sponsored projects within the Division of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Extension.

Instruction: Listed courses outside the Division of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Extension.
Research and Extension: Sponsored and non-sponsored research projects which are outside the Division of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Extension. The faculty member must have an active University research budget number.

Non-university, non-profit organizations that are working in cooperative projects that are consistent with the University's mission.

Greenhouse Use Requests Forms

1. Faculty members, who need greenhouse space, must return a Greenhouse Bench Space Request Form before the beginning of each research project or course. Annual planning forms will be sent to current and prospective greenhouse users November 1st of each year for the following calendar year.  Information pertaining to budget numbers, bench space needed, time-frame, type of research, number of faculty, staff or students participating in the project/course, materials, and specific horticultural care are included on the form. 

2. A separate environmental risk form requesting information concerning toxic or biohazardous materials must accompany each bench space request form.

3. Faculty members are requested to update both forms before August 1st for fall semester; Nov. 1st for spring semester; April 1st for summer semester. 

4. Faculty members must use the same form(s) for undergraduate or graduate student projects.

Fee Structures 

The greenhouse operations budget is an income/expense, 3 - ledger budget. The largest proportion of income for this budget is derived from assessed greenhouse space fees. Smaller revenues are generated from providing horticultural supplies for research projects. The financial year is July 1st thru June 30th.

1. Faculty members from College of Agriculture and Life Science who are using the greenhouse for research projects have their greenhouse fee paid through an approved Hatch budget or funded research project. 

2. Expenses for regular department courses will be paid through a CALS college greenhouse fund.
Special projects must be approved for funding by the greenhouse fund prior to inception.

3. Faculty who are outside of CALS have their space fee drawn from their individual research or course budget. Individual research budget numbers or 2-ledger course budget numbers are necessary for invoicing.

4. Extension faculty who are using the greenhouse for demonstration have their space fee drawn from an extension budget. Extension budget numbers are necessary for invoicing.

Services provided for greenhouse users 

1. Environmental control: The UVM greenhouses have been designed to offer a range of temperatures throughout the year. Target temperatures can be set above 35° during the winter season and above 65° (daytime) during the summer season. Users can designate a daytime, nighttime, second daytime and nighttime target temperature range. Humidification and dehumidification are available with some exceptions.

A high and low temperature alarm limit is designated for each compartment. In the case that a temperature alarm limit is reached, the greenhouse manager, assistant greenhouse manager, Stafford Bldg. physical plant manager and service operations are notified by phone and computer monitor. This service is available 24 hours a day. Response time is within 2 hours usually. 

2. Horticultural care: Upon request and when possible, the greenhouse staff will provide basic horticultural care for plant material grown for a research project or instruction.  Faculty are required to provide written instructions on the 'Bench Space Request Form' to insure proper care.

Researchers must provide two sets of written instructions for any special required treatments for plant material. In addition, it is required that a placard with special instructions be placed near research benches.

It is advisable that research teams take responsibility for special treatments on their projects.

Basic horticultural care entails:

-         Daily watering, both morning and early afternoon.
Plant fertilization with soluble general purpose 20-10-20 (150 ppm nitrogen) and a micro-nutrients, S.T.E.M. as needed or designated.
Integrated pest management: Weekly scouting, cultural, biological, and chemical treatments for insect and disease problems. 

New plant material for instruction

Faculty who request new plant material for laboratory sessions will give the greenhouse manager a written set of instructions six weeks before the semester. Early notice insures that desired seeds, seedlings or plants will be available when needed. Instructions should include ordering dates, sowing dates, number of plants needed, soil mix requested, container size and quantity. 

Plants-on-loan for instruction

Before one or more plants can be removed from the greenhouse for instruction, the greenhouse manager or assistant manager will be notified by note or phone message. A record of plants-on-loan will include:
course number
name and phone number of person responsible for borrowed plant(s).
name of plants
date borrowed
date returned 

There are occasions when plants from UVM's collection are needed for laboratory work. In order to reserve plants, particularly if a precise stage is needed (ie. open flower blooms), a written request is required. When possible, notify the greenhouse manager at the beginning of the semester. Otherwise six weeks notice is required.

In case of unfortunate plant loss or death while on loan, the department assuming responsibility for the plants will incur costs associated with plant replacement. 

Plants may not be taken from the greenhouse without prior notification.

Services not provided for greenhouse users:

Research teams are responsible for set-up, break-down and regular weekly inspections of their projects. Break-down includes discarding, composting or autoclaving plant material. Research teams are responsible for washing and disinfecting pots, trays, troughs and slants. Materials must be cleaned within one month of project completion.

Work undertaken by greenhouse staff to clean or reconfigure space will be charged at $20.00/hour plus fringe benefits. 

Research teams are responsible for leaving the greenhouse as they found it. All mechanical equipment should be operating. Benches should be returned to their original configuration. Benches and floor area should be free of plant debris. Any damage will be repaired at the expense of the PI whose team left the problem.

Both the headhouse and greenhouse compartments should be cleaned after class laboratory sessions.  Benches, counter-tops and floor areas should be swept. Greenhouse staff will disinfect these areas. 

Materials provided for greenhouse users

1. CALS Instruction: Soil media, pots, disposable containers, trays and labels are available for courses offered through CALS. Special supplies or equipment needed for teaching will not be provided by the greenhouse. 

2. Pesticides: Routine pesticide applications will be the greenhouse manager's and assistant manager's responsibility. Extra-ordinary or staff needs (such as using special techniques) pesticide applications (one product used more than once a week) will be the responsibility of the teaching or research budgets.

3. Tools: Basic greenhouse tools (pruners, knives, hammers, timers etc.) may be borrowed for short periods of time. Returned tools should be clean, disinfected and in good working order. Replacing broken equipment will be the responsibility of the user. 

Materials not provided for greenhouse users

1. NON-CALS instruction: College instruction budgets will be invoiced for materials. 

2. Research Projects: Research budgets are responsible for all horticultural supplies including media, pots, trays, hydroponic equipment, labels, and stakes.

- Small scale research: Pilot research projects using very small amounts of material may have material cost waived.

3. Artificial lighting: The greenhouse cannot supply artificial lighting for research programs. High pressure sodium or metal halide lamps that are currently being used in greenhouse compartments belong to discreet research programs.

Whenever possible, compartments with artificial lighting will be locked to prevent problems with theft. When compartments cannot be locked, the individual lighting units should be chained and locked for protection. 

The west bay compartments 7 through 11 have been designated as areas for extended daylength or other photoperiod or light interruption-type manipulations. The east bay compartments have been designated as areas for natural light. If at anytime, the light regime in one compartment conflicts with the surrounding compartments, the research team(s) or teaching faculty will be responsible for blocking out the compartment to eliminate interference with adjacent research or instruction programs.

4. Personal use of the greenhouse, media or pots is not permitted. 

Plants-on-loan for UVM's community

Requests for decorative plants-on-loan for special events or university functions on UVM's campus can be fulfilled at the greenhouse manager's discretion. 

The department or unit borrowing decorative plants are responsible for setting up an appointment with the greenhouse manager to select plants. The 'borrower' is responsible for plant(s) pick-up and return as well as plant care throughout the loan period and environment protection (wind, frost, etc.)

In case of unfortunate plant loss, the department or unit borrowing the plant(s) will incur any cost associated with plant replacement. 


1. The greenhouse and headhouse are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to use the facility during these hours. The greenhouse is open to the public during these hours. During 'off hours,' the north and south entrances to the greenhouse are locked. 

2. Faculty, staff and students who must use the greenhouse during off hours must notify the greenhouse manager and campus security. Please inform the manager about the duration of off hours attendance.

3. Replacing lost keys will be the responsibility of the user or will be done by the manager at a cost of $10.00 per key to the individual’s budget. 

4. If keys are lost, please report their loss to the greenhouse manager immediately.

5. Locked compartments should remained locked. 

6. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the greenhouse manager or campus security.

Worker Protection Standards 

UVM employees who work in the greenhouse as faculty, staff or student must complete the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Worker Protection Standards (WPS) training with fifteen working days from the starting date of employment. After completing the training, each employee will receive a verbal and written review of the greenhouse's WPS procedure.

Pesticide Applicator's Training 

We strongly suggest and encourage individuals who work in the greenhouse to complete the Vermont Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Applicator's Training (PAT) which would include the core, ornamental (category 3A) and research and demonstration (category 10) exams. Both the greenhouse manager and assistant manager are required to be certified through VT Dept. of Ag. PAT program.


1. To sustain certification in the PAT program, an annual record of pesticide applications is submitted to the VT Dept. of Agriculture. Pesticide records are kept on weekly WPS pesticide treatment sheets and a separate log for amounts of material used. Both the greenhouse manager and assistant manager are responsible for submitting these records.

2. UVM's Chemical Safety Coordinator receives an annual record of pesticides stored at the greenhouse. Name of material, manufacturer, EPA registration number, and volume of material is submitted. The annual record of chemical materials is posted on the door. 

3. All pesticides are stored in the pesticide room within the headhouse. The greenhouse manager and assistant manager have a key to this room. Pesticides may not be stored outside of the room or stored in containers without the manufacturer's label.

4. Before a pesticide is sprayed or released in a greenhouse compartment, the name of the pesticide, active ingredient, EPA registration number, date, time of application and restricted entry interval (REI) is posted on the central information board. At the time of application, the compartment door is locked and a warning sign is posted on the door. The pesticide sign remains on the door until the REI time has expired. 

5. Pesticide application in the nursery area must conform to UVM's agreement with the city of Burlington. One week before application, a notice and Materials Safety Data Sheet on the material is forwarded to Risk Management. They will take responsibility for notifying UVM's neighbors and the UVM community.

Crop Protection and Pest Management 

1. No smoking is permitted in the greenhouse or headhouse.

2. All new plant material entering the greenhouse must be inspected for insect and pathogen problems. When space is available, compartment five or seven will become a quarantine room. New plants will be held for observation for two weeks. 

Plant material may be denied entry into the greenhouse if found to be infested with insects or pathogens. It will be the principle investigator or instructor's responsibility to eliminate pest/pathogen problems prior to entry.

3. Herbicide application in the nursery will conform to UVM's agreement with the city of Burlington for posting. Separate spray equipment is designated for herbicide application. 

4. Only WPS trained personnel with the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) will be allowed entry into a pesticide treated area before the (REI) has lapsed.

5. All pesticide containers will be disposed through UVM's Environmental Safety Facility. 

QCOM - Computer System

1. Any requests for changes in the computer program must be made to the manager. Only the manager authorizes access to the QCOM electronic and control systems. NO CHANGES may be made without prior permission from the manager. 

2. In case of an emergency with QCOM, the greenhouse manager and assistant manager, the Stafford Bldg. physical plant manager, and service operations must be notified.


Guided tours are available to schools and community organizations at the Manager's discretion. There is no fee for a tour.

Failure to follow any part of the greenhouse policy will result in permanent loss of greenhouse privileges.

Last modified February 24 2009 11:22 PM

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