Keeping your green roof in great shape is the best way to reap maximum stormwater benefits.
Forget Snuggies, fast food and terrible teen pop.
Stormwater is the real crime of this century.
Combined sewer overflows, the result of rainwater overloading the sewers and spitting filth into the streets, carry disease into our cities and waterways. It sheets over asphalt and concrete, sweeping pollutants right along with it.
Rural areas suffer from stormwater troubles as well, but it’s really the cities that desperately need better methods of keeping rain and snowmelt out of the sewers.
That’s where green roofs come in, trapping and detaining stormwater during rain events. They keep water there for hours or days, relieving the sewers of undue pressures resulting from all that water entering all at once.
Of course, they only provide those benefits if stewarded well.
What Role Do Plants Play in Stormwater Management?
Plants are some of the most effective stormwater management tools in the world.
Through hundreds of millions of years of evolution, plants have developed delicate systems that allow them to take in water as a liquid, then release it in the form of vapor later.
This is called evapotranspiration, and we’re big fans of it. Why design fancy machines to do the same thing when nature has such a great solution already? It’s hard to improve on a natural system that has worked for so long.
But. Spoiler alert: Plants have to be alive to do so. When plants die, green roofs lose at least 30 percent of their absorption capacity, often much more.
Good stewardship is the only method of ensuring this that we know of.
Green Roof Stewardship Keeps Plants Safe During the Growing Period
Living on a roof is tough.
It’s a harsh environment, nothing like the cozy ground, where soil stays an even temperature throughout the year, buildings protect plants from wind, and people are less likely to forget about them.
C’est la vie. Plants gotta deal.
However, that doesn’t mean they have to go it alone. If we don’t help them get established properly, they’ll die, plain and simple.
The answer to this is frequent visits, especially during the first several years of the establishment period. This helps us adjust nutrition, maintain the right plan diversity and protect them from nesting birds or exuberant insect diners.
Green Roof Stewardship Helps Ensure the Growing Media Remains Effective
High-tech growing media make green roofs possible, but it’s not infallible.
In order for the thin membranes, media and soil to perform, they need care. You need to ensure the right microbial activity, nutrients and pH. This can change much faster than you might think, given the high degree of water filtering through all the time, draining those beneficial compounds from the roof. We’ve seen green roofs go sterile in 2 years without new inputs. It’s that serious.
Proper stewardship involves replacing those nutrients in a variety of ways, including liquid fertilizers, micronutrients, compose teas, slow release organic fertilizers, beneficial compost and/or active compost.
This keeps the roof sustainable, inoculated with the right microbial activity and able to offer those stormwater benefits on an ongoing basis.
Green Roof Stewardship Helps Identify Problems in the Early Stages
When your green roofer pays a visit several times a year, they have a much better chance of catching problems in the initial stages, when fixes are more affordable.
They might notice:
- Changes in pH
- Bad drainage
- Dead plants
- Broken electronics
- Invasive species
… and other issues that, left unchecked, could result in thousands of dollars. Not only does this spare your wallet, regular stewardship helps to improve property values by retaining stormwater and relieving the burden on surrounding structures.
And who doesn’t like more money? That’s more Snuggies, is what that is.
How Should You Steward Your Green Roof?
In a nutshell, you should steward it frequently.
Getting up on the roof once a year isn’t enough, even though many people think it is. Twelve months is a long time, and while you’re focusing on other things, your roof is likely to experience invasion by plants or pests, breakdown of an important component, or simple malnutrition of plant life – critical for maximum stormwater benefits.
The solution? Work with an expert green roofing company such as Ecogardens. We have the expertise and the all-fired enthusiasm to keep that roof at peak health.
So keep those stormwater benefits going strong with regular green roof stewardship by calling or emailing today.