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Susy Olsen, UofM EMG

Reducing the cost of energy, providing an interesting and aesthetically pleasing appearance to your home and
neighborhood while reducing storm runoff, are the main reasons to consider installing a greenroof.

What is a green roof? A greenroof can be either extensive, with a soil layer of six inches or less or intensive
with more than six inches of soil. A greenroof consists of plant materials that cover all or part of the roof
including vegetation, soil, a fabric filter, a waterproof layer and a roof that is impermeable to moisture and
strong enough to withstand wetted soils weight.
There are many locations that suit themselves to a greenroof. Consider installing a roof below a higher
roof, small sheds, garages, freestanding structures. It is important to consider maintenance and watering during
extreme dry spells.
What about weight? Fully saturated blended soil at the depth of 4-6 inches weighs about 27 pounds per square
foot. If in doubt, consult someone with trusted structural expertise: follow local building codes.
Flat or sloping roof? Green roofs are easiest to install and maintain on a flat or slightly sloping roofs.
How to install a green roof Green roofs can be installed using a series of planting trays or by creating an edged
rooftop landscape area. I experimented with mine and started with planting trays. I removed most of them the
first winter to be sure plants would survive. They did. I removed less of them the second year; planting more
perennial plants in the permanent area. With our harsh winter they still survived. Ive added self-sowing
plants, as well, to give color, height and interest.

Basic Instructions (for complete instructions, view the suggested websites)

1. Install waterproof membrane on roof
4. Add a fabric drainage mat to hold the soil
5. Make sure the sides are framed.
2. Place a plastic on the waterproof membrane
6. Add soil.
(this will serve as a root barrier).
7. Set plants in place.
3. Lay foam insulation suited for contact with
8. Water to settle soil around plants.
damp soil, if the structure is headed
Use a lightweight soil
Homeowners can easily make a lightweight soil mix by blending an aggregate such as expanded shale, slate or
volcanic rock with an organic potting soil. A blend of 85 percent aggregate to 15 percent potting soil has proven
to be effective.
Selecting plants
Remember, rooftop temperatures can reach 150 degrees F or higher. Use low-maintenance, shallow-rooted and
drought-resistant plants.
Basic bullet-proof plants for a green roof
Allium schoenoprasum
Delosperma cooperi
Delosperma nubigenum
. Sedum takesimense
Sedum album 'France'
Sedum album 'Jelly Bean'
Sedum album 'Murale
Sedum kamtschaticum
Sedum kamtschaticum

floriferium Weihenstephaner
Sedum reflexum 'Blue Spruce'
Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'
Sedum sexangulare
Sedum spurium 'Fuldaglut
Sedum spurium 'John Creech'
Sempervivum green
Sempervivum 'Oddity'
Sempervivum red

Talinum calycinum
Aster, assorted species/cultivars
Coreopsis, short
Malphora lutea
Monarda, assorted
Portulaca pilosa
Thymus, assorted species