Green roofs slumber under blankets of white

By Kat Harrold, Green Roof Service LLC


Nature has donned her winter best this year with ruby red berries, emerald evergreen boughs, and plenty of shimmering snow.  While snow may spell trouble for many an herb and home this winter season, green roofs are enjoying their season’s slumber. 

The succulents, hearty herbs, and bulbs that make up many green roofs take this time to rest and prepare for the warmer months.  The cooler temperatures and shorter days slow down their growth up top.  Below the soil surface plants focus their energy on the establishment of stronger root systems.

As the snow and ice melt, the slow release of the water provides nourishment for the green roof.  Extra water is stored in the growing media for later use.  This also helps reduce the formation of potentially dangerous icicles on the edge of the roof.  In areas where the spring melts can be
dramatic and cause flooding, a large collection of green roofs could alleviate the stress on a cities storm water systems.

The snow adds a layer of protection very similar to that of a blanket that shields the plants from the harsh winter winds.   Despite the frozen nature of this blanket, it also has insulation properties that protect the plants from extreme temperature fluctuations.  Working in con-junction with each other, the snow and green roof combine their strengths to create a superior form of insulative protection during the cold winter months.

Like many things, harsher times simply mean an era of rest and subsurface growth.  With this added strength, the flora is able to set forth new growth and flourish during the warmer months ahead.




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