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It may not be the most glamorous of winter tasks but cleaning out greenhouses, gutters and water butts is an important one. Cleaning greenhouses, whether glass or plastic, greatly improves the growing environment for plants. By removing the algae, moss and grime it lets in more light and helps control pests and diseases too.
Glasshouses, plastic greenhouses, polytunnels and garden frames are all candidates for periodic cleansing.
Greenhouse cleaning is best done with regard to the plants being grown:
Set aside a good day for the task, ideally in dry, calm weather, then;
At the same time as cleaning the greenhouse structure, it is also usually a good idea to clean out other structures such as;
These block easily with detritus so cleaning them out ensures the free flow of water and limits build up of unwanted material in water butts.
Standing water in butts can become green with algae and may be a source of water borne root rots such as Phytophthora. Uncovered tanks may harbour mosquitoes. Ideally they should be cleaned out once a year.
Inclusion of a weedkiller product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by the RHS. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.
Weedkillers for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining weed, algae and moss killers available to gardeners; see section 2b and 2c)
Safety: Only attempt to clean gutters and glazing that are safe and easy to reach. Avoid putting your body weight against conservatory or greenhouse glazing. Long handled tools are available for safe working from ground level. Wear eye protection and gloves when handling glass or sharp metal fittings.
Algae, liverworts and moss in greenhousesChoosing greenhouses Coldframes and mini-greenhousesGreenhouse: heating efficientlyGreenhouse ventilation and shadingWater: collecting, storing and re-using
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