University of Wyoming Extension News

Tours part of open house at UWs Laramie Research and Extension Center greenhouse

Plot and variety trials and research plus tours of the facilities are part of an open house at the Laramie Research and Extension Center (LREC) Research Greenhouse Friday, Aug. 28.

“We’ve never had an open house here to provide information about the facility and about what we do,” said Kelli Belden, manager of the greenhouse.

The open house is 1-4 p.m. at the greenhouse complex, which is at the northeast corner of 30th and Harney streets in Laramie. A welcome with light refreshments begins at 1 p.m. and tours start at 1:30 p.m. Projects at the facility include those from researchers in the College of Agriculture, Department of Botany in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Western Research Institute. Scientists also use the facility for teaching during the school year.

“About 50 to 75 people are using the facility during a semester,” said Belden, who is also manager of the UW Soil Testing Laboratory, which was moved from the College of Agriculture building to the greenhouse this year.

The 20,000-square foot main building contains research laboratories, a classroom, office facilities and supply areas. Lab specialties are plant pathology, plant breeding, weed science and forage research.

There are six greenhouse banks surrounded by three acres of dry land and irrigated microplot field space. The facility is operated by the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station and is part of LREC.

The facility was built in 1973 and has undergone several renovations. The most recent is installation of switching controls that allow remote automated controlling of the greenhouse banks.

“Temperature and humidity can be controlled from a computer,” said Belden. Alarms are sent automatically via the Internet and telephone if the sensors detect changes in conditions.

Some of the research at the facility includes vegetation most suitable for green roof use in Laramie, resistance and resilience of native grasses competing with exotic invaders, effects of nitrogen on growth of Wyoming big sagebrush, Dalmatian toadflax (one of 25 designated noxious weeds in Wyoming) and crested wheatgrass, effects of coal-bed methane water on soils and plants, and fertilizer and herbicide trials. Aquaponics is also being studied. Plants are used to filter out wastes from fish being raised.

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