Green roof maintenance- Part I


Author: Dragana

Green roofs bring many benefits both to the people and the environment- they reduce energy demand (air-conditioning and heating costs), smog and noise and at the same time improve air quality and aesthetics of a space. As they are living organisms that are constantly changing, they need to be maintained correctly in order to retain viability both as a beautiful green space and as the environmentally friendly solution on your roof.

Generally, there are two types of green roofs: extensive and intensive. Depending on vegetation, system installed and climate, green roof maintenance functions in a different way for each type. Although there are some differences, there are also some core tasks you need to perform during maintenance such as:

1)      Irrigation

2)      Weeding

3)      Fertilization

4)      Replanting

5)      Disease inspection.

Extensive green roof has low maintenance needs because the plants selected don’t have high requirements and usually don’t need a permanent irrigation system. Nevertheless, in the first year it is important to devote more attention to maintenance while the vegetation is being established.

Due to the fact that new plants are young and have not established a good rooting zone yet, it is crucial to remove any weeds at the beginning in order to reduce competition for nutrients. Even if you use plants like Sedum sp. which don’t need irrigation, it is always good to water them immediately after installation and for a period of time until they develop the roots. Once the plants are healthy and well established, an extensive green roof no longer need to be irrigated except in cases of extreme drought.

Other maintenance activities are inspection for water drainage and inspection for any leaking points. The drainage pathways should be inspected if they are blocked and should be cleaned. Specific spots that should be inspected for leaking are roof vent pipes, outlets, air conditioning units and perimeter areas.

These were some tips for maintaining extensive type of green roof. Stay with us and read the next post where we will talk more about intensive green roof maintenance!