Roots at the Root of Greenhouse Management Workshop


WOOSTER, Ohio — The Ohio State University’s 2019 Greenhouse Management Workshop, set for Jan. 17-18 in Wooster, will dig all around a plant’s roots. The theme is “Root Zone Optimization.”

Peter Ling, associate professor in Ohio State’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, said this year’s program is unique because it will focus exclusively on the root zone.

Ling has organized the annual workshop, which is designed for commercial growers from Ohio and beyond, for each of its now 21 years.

Chieri Kubota, professor in Ohio State’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, said root zone optimization means surrounding a plant’s roots with the best possible chemical, physical and biological conditions — the ideal nutrients, moisture and more.

Doing so, she said, helps plants grow faster and tolerate pests and diseases better, which for a greenhouse grower can translate into lower costs, higher yields and greater income.

Since greenhouse growers typically grow their plants in small containers, troughs or water culture (hydroponics), “managing the root zone is essential,” Kubota said.

If plants aren’t getting what they need, she said, “they can’t move like we do.”

Food crops and ornamentals

The workshop will have 16 technical talks in all, grouped into general sessions on fundamentals and biostimulants and concurrent sessions on container culture of ornamentals and hydroponic and soil-less culture of food crops.

Lettuce, basil and high-wire crops such as cucumbers will be among the food crops covered.

Topics will also include composts, substrates, nutrition, fertigation and beneficial microbes, to name a few.

Greenhouse, research tours

There will be tours of a commercial greenhouse and of research facilities and greenhouses on the Wooster campus of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The campus, made up of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, is the location of the workshop.

About a dozen experts from industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and CFAES, Ling and Kubota among them, will serve as speakers for the talks. Ling’s and Kubota’s home departments are both part of CFAES.

More information on the event, including session topics and speakers plus details on registration and lodging, is available at

Sessions will be held in OARDC’s Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave., on the CFAES Wooster campus.

Jan. 4 early bird deadline

Registration to attend in person is $150 by Jan. 4 and $175 after Jan. 4. The cost includes all sessions, tours, and continental breakfast and lunch both days. Lodging is extra.

Registration to attend as a remote participant by webinar is $100 by Jan. 4 and $125 after Jan. 4. The cost includes the general session and a concurrent session on each of the event’s two days.

Online registration is available at A mailable registration form can be found at

Continuing ed credits

Participants will be eligible for Indiana State Chemist continuing certification credit in Category 1, Agricultural Pest Management (6 hours); Category 3A, Ornamental Pest Management (5 hours); Category 14, Agricultural Fertilizer Application (1 hour); and Category RT, Registered Technician (4 hours).

Participants can also earn continuing education credits from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Category 3B for both Commercial Core and Private Core (10 hours).

For more information, contact Mary Wicks,, 330-202-3533, or go to

CFAES News Team
For more information, contact: 

Peter Ling

Chieri Kubota