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Policies and Procedures: Horticultural Greenhouses and Cold Storage Facilities

Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station
College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture

Updated May 18, 2010

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IntroductionStaff, Contact Information, and AvailablilityEmergency ContactsFacilities Descriptions |
Facility AcknowledgmentSuperintendent and User ResponsibilitiesOperational Policies |
Space and Plant Request FormsFacility Use ChargesGreenhouse and Garden Advisory Committee


This document describes the policies and procedures for use of the horticultural greenhouses and associated cold storage room on the University of Maine campus. The Horticultural Facilities include the Roger Clapp Greenhouses, Quonset Greenhouse and a Cold Storage Room. The Roger Clapp Greenhouses are located north of Deering Hall on Grove Street Extension. The Quonset Greenhouse is located south of Nutting Hall. The cold storage room is located in the basement of the Maine Bound barn.
Please note that information on safety policies and procedures is provided elsewhere (“Safety Compliance and Training” on the Horticulture Facilities web page). The policies and procedures for the horticultural greenhouses and cold storage room apply to all facility users including faculty, instructors, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and student employees.

The horticulture greenhouses and cold storage unit are facilities of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station and College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. These facilities are central to the Station’s efforts to generate research-based information to advance and improve the productivity and profitability of Maine’s horticultural industry. These facilities also provide critical space for station-sponsored research in sustainable agriculture, forest ecosystem science, biological sciences and entomology. Students in the Environmental Horticulture and Sustainable Agriculture programs use the Roger Clapp Greenhouses for course activities, and the facility houses the College’s permanent plant collection. Scheduled use by other University of Maine programs and faculty for research and teaching is welcomed. Other UMaine users have included faculty and students from art, chemistry, and engineering.

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Staff, Contact Information, and Availability


Brad Libby, Superintendent
5762 Roger Clapp Greenhouses
Orono, Maine 04469
207 581-3112 – office – email
Mail: 5722 Deering Hall, Orono, Maine 04469

Student Employees

The superintendent typically employs a small number of undergraduate students to assist with both greenhouse operations and maintenance of the Littlefield Gardens. Student employees of the facility are generally not available for research or project activity. It is the responsibility of facility users to provide staffing for their projects. Users must notify the superintendent of new project employees. It is recommended that faculty introduce new employees to the superintendent and other facility staff.

Availability and Hours of Operation

The Horticultural Facilities are available for use by all faculty, staff, and students of the College of Natural Sciences Forestry, and Agriculture. Student activities must have faculty oversight. Research activities of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station have the highest priority for space allocation. Horticultural teaching also is a priority. Other University faculty may be granted space for research projects and teaching on a space-available basis. The Roger Clapp Greenhouses are open for general use during regular University business hours (8:00-4:30 M-F) and other times the superintendent is present.

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Emergency Contacts

Emergency 911
Brad Libby, Superintendent 207-581-3112
University Police 207-581-4040
Safety and Enviromental Management 207-581-4055
Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station 207-581-3205
College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture 207-581-3202

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Facilities Description

Roger Clapp Greenhouses

The Roger Clapp Greenhouses support research and teaching in horticulture, sustainable agriculture, entomology, and forestry. The facility has three main sections of interconnected glass houses. There are seven glass houses designated 1-7. There are three connecting houses designated a, b, and c. A brick building on the north end of the facility is called the “head house” and contains a classroom, offices, and other workspace. Current use of the individual houses is summarized below. The total growing space under glass is approximately 11,000 square feet (ft2), including bench space, aisles, and other workspaces. The greenhouses are heated by steam radiation from the campus system. Manual and automated vents and exhaust fans provide ventilation. Limited supplemental lighting is available in Houses 1, 2, 4, and 5. The water source for the greenhouses is the campus water supply.

There is 1500 ft2 of outdoor nursery space and a small hoop house (600 ft2) within the fenced perimeter on the west side of the Roger Clapp Greenhouses. The hoop house is used to overwinter plants.

Current Use of the Roger Clapp Greenhouses

Greenhouse Name Use
Greenhouse #1 Research projects–Organic research, Black Bear Food Guild’s seedling production (spring)
Greenhouse #2 Research projects
Greenhouse #3 Research projects and permanent collection (mist benches for propagation)
Greenhouse #4 Research projects
Greenhouse #5 Research projects and Teaching
Greenhouse #6 Working head house
Greenhouse #7 Permanent collection
Greenhouse A Permanent collection
Greenhouse B Permanent collection
Greenhouse C Permanent collection
Head house (Greenhouse classroom) Greenhouse classroom, office space, workspace

Greenhouse Classrooms

Use of the classroom in the head house area is scheduled through the registrar’s office. This room is used as general workspace when not used for class meetings. To avoid conflicts, individuals planning to use the classroom should contact the superintendent for permission.
All users should clean up after each use. Food and beverages are not allowed in the classroom per laboratory safety regulation. Obtain permission from the superintendent before storing materials in the classroom cooler. All stored items must bear the owner’s name and contact information.

Quonset Greenhouse

The Quonset Greenhouse supports floriculture research. This greenhouse is 3000 ft2 in total area with approximately 1200 ft2 of bench space. The Quonset Greenhouse is covered with triple-wall polycarbonate and heated by three oil-fired furnaces suspended from the ceiling. The polycarbonate was installed new in August 2009. Ventilation is provided by a manual ridge vent, two exhaust fans, and an evaporative cooling pad system. Supplemental lighting covers the entire growing space. The water source for the greenhouse is the campus water supply.

Cold Storage

The Cold Storage Room provides a rudimentary walk-in cold storage space for plant material from field research. The room is located on the basement level (northeast corner) of the MaineBound Barn. The room is approximately 200 ft2 and has limited shelving. The temperature is kept at approximately 36 ºF by a refrigeration unit located in an adjacent utility room. Users may water their plants with the watering can labeled and located within cold storage. Water is obtained from the sink located at the west end of the basement level.

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Facility Acknowledgment

When users acknowledge that project activity occurred at the Horticultural Facilities, identify the facilities as Roger Clapp Greenhouses, College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. An image of the College logo is also available.

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Superintendent and User Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the Superintendent

  • Facilitates research and teaching activities of faculty and students.
  • Maintains communication with facility users on projects and activities.
  • Provides recommendations to facility users on facility use and plant care.
  • Receives and approves requests for space in facilities.
  • Supervises students employed by the greenhouse.
  • Ensures safety and environmental compliance by all users and staff, and notifies supervisors of noncompliance.
  • Maintains the facility infrastructure and associated equipment.
  • The superintendent is the primary contact to University of Maine’s Facilities Management.
  • Provides appropriate pest control (excludes research treatments).
  • Maintains permanent plant collection.
  • The superintendent reports to the Associate Director of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station.

Responsibilities of Facility Users

  • Provide superintendent with advance notification of needs and future requests.
  • Maintain communication with the superintendent regarding project activity.
  • Adhere to all safety and use policies.
  • Ensure that all staff, including student employees, complete all required safety training before working in any of the horticultural facilities.
  • Adhere to all operational policies listed below.
  • Begin using space only after approval of a space use request has been granted.
  • Notify superintendent when project is complete.
  • Provide their own plant material needed for research or experiments.
  • Maintain their plants, including watering and fertilizing.
  • Clean up all areas of use after each activity, especially potting benches and common areas.
  • Dispose of all debris and plant waste. Plant waste should be disposed of in the unlined waste barrels located in House #6. Non-compostable trash should be disposed of in waste barrels lined with trash bags.

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Operational Policies

Safety, Pesticides, and Security


All facility users must adhere to all University, College, and Horticultural Facilities safety policies. All required training and documentation must be completed before conducting any activity within the Horticultural Facilities. Information on safety policies can be found via the link for “Safety Compliance and Training” on the Horticultural Facility webpage.

Chemical Use

Chemicals cannot be brought into the Horticultural Facilities without approval of the superintendent and submission of material safety data sheets (MSDS). Chemical use requires appropriate safety training.


The superintendent makes all pesticide applications except for research treatments. Research treatments much be preapproved by the superintendent.

Permission from the superintendent and MSDS sheets are required before storing pesticides in the pesticide storage building. All containers must be clearly labeled with the owner’s name. Space is limited in the pesticide storage building, which makes material disposal a priority. It is the researcher’s responsibility to remove and properly process unused pesticides for disposal. This procedure often involves a chemical pick-up by the Department of Safety and Environmental Management. Pesticides being evaluated for industry should be returned to the company sponsoring the project.

Security and Access

The Roger Clapp Greenhouses are open for general use during regular University business hours (8:00-4:30 M-F) and other times the superintendent is present. University security or custodial services unlocks and locks the Roger Clapp Greenhouses during weekdays.

The Quonset Greenhouse is locked when users are not present. University Security does not unlock and lock the Quonset Greenhouse. It is very important that users with keys relock the door when they enter after hours. Security may not be able to relock until the next day.

Keys should not be ordered from the University Lock Shop without permission from the superintendent. The Department of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences manages the key inventory for the Horticultural Facilities. It is the responsibility of responsible Users to retrieve keys from employees before their departure.

Supplies, Equipment, and Storage


Users are responsible for providing their own materials and supplies for their project. A generic peat-lite type growing medium and one or two common pot sizes may be available from the facility at cost.

Facility Equipment and Tools

Some tools and equipment are available for general use, such as carts, wagons, hoses and mixing tubs. These should be cleaned and returned after use. Tools and equipment should not be removed from the facility.

Project-owned Equipment

Users are responsible for all maintenance (parts and labor) associated with project equipment purchased or acquired and brought onto the facilities.

General Storage
  • Storage Space is limited. In general, project-related storage is only available for short periods, typically one growing season.
  • Materials should be clearly labeled with the owner’s name. Unlabeled items may be disposed of or relocated.
  • Because storage space is limited, materials should be purchased in quantities that will be used during the current season. Long-term storage generally adds to the facility staff workload. For example, bags of growing medium often break during long-term storage due to physical or UV damage to packaging.
  • Project materials and equipment should be stored in locations specifically approved by the superintendent and must be clearly labeled with the owner’s name. Some cabinet storage space is available in House #6.
  • Materials such as pots, medium, and tools must not be stored on greenhouse benches or other growing spaces.
  • Stored materials must not block access or egress.
  • Deliveries can be placed under the stairwell outside the classroom, but must be removed within one week.

Routine Greenhouse Operations

  • Greenhouse benches are not to be used as general workspace. Workbenches in House 6 and the classroom are available for general use.
  • Materials (growing medium, pots, tools, etc.) should not be stored on benches.
  • Consult the superintendent if special equipment, structures, or materials are required on benches
  • Greenhouse benches are not designed to support heavy loads. Large plots or flats with field soil must be kept on the floor or other approved surface.
  • Do not modify greenhouse benches or any other part of the facility without specific permission from the superintendent.
  • Do not use tools and equipment owned by the facility without specific permission of the superintendent. The superintendent must track tools and equipment to maintain the inventory and ensure availability for all users.
  • Do not adjust or modify environmental controls (fans, vents, lights.) without specific permission from the superintendent.

Permanent Plant Collection

The superintendent maintains the Permanent Plant Collection. Some plants are not appropriate for use in student laboratories. Many plants are not available for use in student laboratories. Some plants are rare, easily damaged, or they may be sensitive to cold temperatures during transport. Special precautions should be taken to protect plants from cold temperatures. These precautions include moving plants in closed cardboard boxes, covering with plastic bags, and transporting plants in heated vehicles.

Plants must not be altered or removed from the collection without specific permission from the superintendent each time. See Plant Request Form below. This permission step allows the superintendent to maintain an accounting of specimens, which helps to ensure availability of plants to other users.

Instructors are encouraged to bring students to view the collection, however please schedule with the superintendent to avoid conflicts with other users. Plants in the collection should not be disturbed without specific permission.

The greenhouses cannot accommodate personal plants in the Permanent Plant Collection or space used by research or teaching projects.

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Space and Plant Request Forms

Space Request Form

A space request form must be submitted and approved by the superintendent before occupying any space. The form can be found on the Horticultural Facilities web page. It is best to discuss the project or activity with the superintendent during planning stages and submit space requests well in advance to ensure space availability. Space is granted for a period up to one year. A space request is required annually for multi-year projects. Availability and impact of the proposed project upon other users are factors when considering approval of space requests.

Permanent Collection Plant Request Form

A plant request form must be submitted to the superintendent for approval prior to using or removing plants from the permanent collection. The form can be found on the Horticultural Facilities web page. Key information required for plant requests include the borrowers name and contact information, course name and number, plants requested and quantities, and pick-up and return dates.

Permanent Collection Plant Request Form

A plant request form must be submitted to the superintendent for approval prior to using or removing plants from the permanent collection. The form can be found on the Horticultural Facilities web page. Key information required for plant requests include the borrowers name and contact information, course name and number, plants requested and quantities, and pick-up and return dates.

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Facility Use Charges

There are currently no charges for use of the facility. Projects or activities that will significantly influence facility costs or operations must be reviewed by the superintendent. It is the principal investigator or instructor’s responsibility to contact the superintendent.

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Greenhouse and Garden Advisory Committee

The Greenhouse and Garden Advisory Committee advises the superintendent and Dean/Director on policies, procedures, and priorities for the Roger Clapp Greenhouses, Jacob Shur Facility, and the Lyle E. Littlefield Ornamentals Trial Garden.

The Greenhouses and Garden Advisory Committee meet at least annually. The committee advises the Dean/Director in the following areas:

  • Priorities for equipment maintenance and replacement.
  • Priorities for infrastructure maintenance and improvement.
  • Long-range operational planning.
  • Budget management for meeting facility missions, goals, and objectives.
  • Planning and procedures for the allocation of facility space and related resources.
  • Implementation of safety procedures.

The Committee also is charged with developing 5-year missions, goals, and objectives for facilities for approval by the Dean/Director. The committees seeks input from appropriate academic unit chairs and teaching coordinators when advice to the superintendents or Dean/Director may influence teaching programs. Contact information for the Greenhouse and Gardent Advisory Committee may be found on the Experiment Station web site under “Advisory Committees,” or by clicking here.

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