Insects, spiders and other arthropods on green roofs are not uncommon. Actually, long term studies show that arthropod colonization on green roofs, whether one-story tall or 20-stories tall, mimics ground level colonization, sometimes with even greater diversity. Arthropods are a vital component for any healthy ecosystem and their diversity in an ecosystem keeps pesky and damaging arthropods in check.
However, infestations on green roofs do occur. Last Fall, we helped Swarthmore College diagnose and treat a white grub infestation on one of their green roofs. By recognizing the infestation signs early, the college’s professional horticulture team was able to control the grub problem through organic pest control methods.
Recently, a red spider mite infestation was reported in a school in the UK with a 12-month old green roof. The infestation on the green roof was allowed to go unchecked for so long that the bugs made their way into the school via air ducts. When children began complaining of bites the school had to close down for several days to fumigate.
Naturally, all green roofs are susceptible to infestation. Red spider mites are a common household and nursery pest. Spider mites thrive in hot, dry conditions. Being aware of their preference for hot, dry conditions and the effect they have on infested plants is vital information all professional green roof maintainers must possess.
It is important to remind installers that all nursery plants arriving on a project site should be checked for possible disease and pest infestation. Green roof installers and maintainers must be able to recognize the early signs of infestation and know how to control their populations first through non-chemical methods and finally with a targeted plant-based, non-toxic pesticide if necessary.
Joe’s Paint Releases: New Instant Green Roofs
Our favorite environmental expert and green roof research specialist Joe is up to his old tricks. Joe hit the PR circuit again this week releasing a full range of new roof greening products.
Not satisfied with only offering a green roof in a can, Joe is now offering a full line of instant green roofs. His new products include a highly reflective white paint for roofs and façades. The can comes with a pair of sun glasses and two cartons of greasy sunscreen (SPF 90) for an entire neighborhood.
The best green roof and green wall product is already successful on the markets: An artificial grass mat that can be rolled out. Joe has the fake grass in multiple colors to create Blue Roofs, Brown Roofs and Red Roofs. The good thing is, that after a season you can also fill-up the landfills with toxic waste and contributing your part to a healthy growth of the economy.
Joe is very excited about the new product line and promises: “Next year we come up with an entire line of fake honeybees, polyethylene spiders and colorful plastic butterflies with remote control. Just before Christmas we will also see artificial flowers and Christmas trees (comes with a fake turkey). “
All fake grass products are tested under real conditions.
If you want to walk on grass without having a green roof we recommend the grass Flip-Flops. Retaining almost 100% sweat and you can’t run-off.
Here at Green Roof Technology we are actively helping commercial, municipal and not-for-profit clients generate renewable energy and control stormwater for a cleaner tomorrow.
The Solar Garden Roof System is rapidly growing in popularity. The benefits of our combined solar and green roof system are unmatched. Additionally, the Solar Garden Roof System can be 50-60% less expensive than a 4" extensive green roof.
We provide a number of services for our clients. They include the following:
Call us today for a Free Estimate & Analysis:
Using satellite imagery, we analyze factors that affect your Solar Garden Roof design such as south-facing roof location, shaded areas and available roof space. We will also study your monthly energy usage and future energy plans so that we can create the best system for your needs.
Additionally, business owned PV systems are eligible for tax advantages, such as accelerated depreciation and a thirty percent Federal solar investment tax credit.
Call us today to see if a Solar Garden Roof System is right for your roof.
The Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning has recently renovated its headquarters in the Canton neighborhood, Baltimore, MD. A much improved exterior is soon be pair with an entirely new interior. Next month, Green Roof Technology will be installing a series of custom planters that will support a variety of vines that will adorn the walls of the Hudson Street Garage Building. A steel wire trellis system will provide the support the vines need to grow about the walls. Three new street trees will also be planted out front of the building, adding to the greening objective of the Coalition.
We are all looking forward to beginning construction in September and we will be sure to post a few pictures for you all to enjoy.
By: Samantha Yurek
Recently making an appearance on the front page of TIME Magazine honey bees are really starting to stir up popular interest. But why all of the sudden? About a decade ago honey bees started dying off an alarming rates. This past winter, nearly one third of honey bee colonies in the United States died or disappeared. In June over 25,000 honey bees were found dead in a Target parking lot in Oregon. Cause of death: an insecticide which contained neonicotinoids - a topic I covered back in May when the European Union took a stand and banned these killer pesticides.
Recognition of the significance of this issue is finally surfacing. Although started back in 2009, National Honey Bee Day was a more popular holiday this year. A grassroots effort by beekeepers and interest groups to promote community awareness on honeybees, this holiday was celebrates this past Saturday August 17th. The theme this year: "Beekeeping - Ask Me How to Get Started." Farmer's markets and nature centers among others all over participated, educating the public on honey bees.
All this commotion about these buzzing little creatures is beginning to pay off. The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a reduction in the use of widely known pesticides and a change in labeling on pesticides to educate the consumer on the harm to certain pollinators.
Photo Credit: Jörg Breuning
Honey bee efforts have been popping up all over the country. These efforts have not only been seen on rural farms, but even on rooftops in the city! One example perched seven floors up, 100,000 honey bees buzz busily, hard at work to keep a Manhattan green roof flourishing. Green roofs are a great place to start an undisturbed honey bee colony. Let's not forget how important these little creatures are in our ecosystem and how essential they are to our food production. Take some time to learn more about the amazing honey bee!
Green Roof Technology doesn't allow the use of herbicides or pesticides on any green roof project since 1980!
By: Jörg Breuning
Photo: Bauder, SSB Stuttgart Germany
Germany is the country of inventors, poets and thinkers. According to historical research, rooftop farming has been a long tradition since the mid-evil times in the dense cities of Europe. The lack of open space inside city walls brought people up to their roofs. Because there was also no efficient sewer systems, it was easy to utilize the organic remains to fertilize and grow plants. Throughout the centuries, survival proved to be a tough journey, mainly caused by overpopulation. When it became too dangerous to venture from your house, people discovered their roofs as additional space for growing their own food in order to overcome these rough years. Currently we are witnessing this growing trend once again in many metropolis areas in North America. The motivation is still the same, jobs can be hard to find, it's difficult to stand out when everyone is competing for essentially the same things.
Luckily our sewer systems are more advanced today, synthetic fertilizers are cheap and these farms do not depend on organic remains anymore. The quality of food should be acceptable in this respect - disregarding the extreme rates of pollution within cities.
However, let us backtrack to the topic of inventions.
Growing food on rooftops of the public transportation system (buses and trains) can help to combine two major needs of urban citizens. The added value is that your transportation systems are now also farmer's markets and while riding the bus home from your cubical, you can manage all your food shopping in one step including fresh produce grown directly above - on the roof! If the roof of the transportation vehicle is a semi permeable membrane, the carrots actually can be harvested from the inside. How convenient would this be? Depending on the crop, the sunny routes have more sun loving veggies and the transportation system manages regular crop changes from a more balanced and diverse food supply. Think about all the new jobs being created!
Sure, this technology is just in the beginning stages, but with the current hype for locally grown and diverse environmental approaches, it is just a matter of time until people will also jump on the bandwagon (or bus). It is just as ideal to look for some free advertising space in the press.
So, see you on the Lemon Line or drop me a line from the carrot bus (they should probably invest in free WiFi too).
Jörg Breuning welcomes people who want to learn from decades
of green roof experience - firstname.lastname@example.org
by Andrew Yanders
Another beautiful weekend has passed us by. The sun was shining high in the sky and it was very warm, bordering on hot. Thankfully Memorial Day is just around the corner and pools all across the country will be opening. Cooling off will simply be a dip away.
Like many of my friends, traditional chlorine pools no longer interest me in the least. They are actually a thing to be avoided. I am lucky to be from central Pennsylvania where fresh mountain-fed streams and lakes are abundant. Whenever I’m home in the summer, my first thought it to go to the mountains and find an ice cold stream or ‘dam’ to swim and relax in. The water is refreshing and the complete immersion into nature is just what the soul requires.
Unfortunately, this level of natural luxury isn’t available to all, whether due to geography or downstream pollution. For those who do not have easy access to streams and lakes, a natural swimming pool is the next best thing. Natural swimming pools can be designed for sizes ranging from single-family backyards to public town pools.
Natural swimming pools are a careful orchestration of various plant types that work together to filter the water to pristine levels. This system is cared for much like a water garden and is great for those with sensitivity to chlorine. Natural swimming pools are naturally filtered and cleaned, providing an unparalleled swimming experience in the comfort of your own garden
These fantastic pools are stunning all year round, during the winter they can freeze without a problem and during the spring and summer the plants put on a glorious display of blooms.
By: Rebecca Gullott
Not many Marylanders are happy about paying the new stormwater fee or “rain tax” as it has come to be known. The county imposed fee is based on the amount of impervious surface such as rooftops and driveways on each property (cost-by-cause principle). In Howard County alone there are over 19,000 acres of impervious surfaces that contribute to pollution of local streams and the Chesapeake Bay. 19,000 acres are almost 30 sq miles or 11% of the counties size- more than double the size of all water ways in the county! No wonder that Stormwater runoff is responsible for over 20% of pollution into the bay.
Those wishing to lessen their stormwater fee can reduce the impervious surface area on their property through smart design and management practices. Howard County is providing instruction and incentives for citizens to do just that. Howard County Stormwater Management Division has partnered with several organizations including the University of Maryland Extension to help citizens take control of their environmental impact. Rainscaping workshops will be offered this summer to show residents how to plant and maintain rain gardens and native species; as well as compost waste and use rain barrels to collect roof runoff for use in lawn and garden irrigation or car washing. Howard County is offering free rain barrels at the Alpha Ridge Landfill select Saturdays April through September. Other Maryland Counties have similar programs so check your county’s website to see what offerings are available.
Property owners can receive credits for on-site improvements that reduce impervious surfaces. Whether it’s establishing a rain garden in the yard or incorporating planted areas or green roofs into the company’s parking lot, these incentives may encourage citizens to take control of their environmental impacts. These changes may help to reduce the need for future stormwater fee increases and promote a healthier Chesapeake for years to come.
The possitive impact for the environment by implementing cost-by-cause fess is very effective in many other counties and States in the US and over decades in Europe.
By: Samantha Yurek
Honey bees are the most significant pollinators on earth. They are responsible for pollinating approximately 80% of our flowering crops. "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left." It may be questionable to whether this quote came directly from Albert Einstein himself, but it is indisputable that the honeybee population is essential for maintaining the quality of life we enjoy so much.
Yesterday, the European Union stood up for the honeybees and banned a group of potent pesticides classified as neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are commonly used to prevent pests on plants such as soy, corn, canola, sugar and wheat. Evidence has surfaced that these pesticides are responsible for the honeybee decline or Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon that appeared in 2006. Neonicotinoids are known to agitate the honeybee's reproduction processes, communication and navigation skills, along with weakening their immune systems.
We take pride in avoiding herbicides and pesticides at Green Roof Technology. A green roof is an excellent habitat for all pollinators, especially honeybees. Watch a video about beehives on rooftops in Baltimore or learn about the plants you may choose specifically to lure these fuzzy creatures to your green roof!
Photo Credit: Green Roof Technology