Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Next week we welcome SPRING!  Yes.  As a horticulturist, it’s always an exciting time to see what is emerging from the depths of dormancy.  For a green roofer, this is also the time building owners often call, worried that their system may not come back…. It may change a bit from year to year, but plants always come back.

Change can be scary for someone who may not fully understand the seasonal effect on green roofs.  The last snow melt brings to surface brown and dark red landscapes and some bare patches on the growing media.  Turbulent spring storms challenge many designs, but they usually prove to recharge the vegetated roof systems.  The overburden further protects the roof systems below from hail.  The first signs of summer droughts remind us that our supplement irrigation plans may need to be explored, and that the plants were selected to withstand the maximum and minimum temperatures!  By the time heat breaks in the Fall, green roofs thrive again as if they just realized they made it through the worst of Mother Nature’s offerings that year.  The first snowfall covers the landscape, people wonder if their roof will survive, when in fact snow is the ideal protector from minimum temperatures.   

So much happens in Spring.  Customers tend to forget about maintenance until there is a problem, and then we scurry around in April to get the contracts signed.  I wish it wasn’t this way, but it always is.  Winter weeds were left alone, and now additional pressure to get them pulled before they propagate.  Ordering fertilizers and pre-emergent for all types of roofs requires some time and thought.  

Installation contracts work their way back up the priority pile, and submittals need to be pulled to order materials.  My fellow soil blenders and growers are equally busy, so sending purchase orders becomes critical…. In other words, the phone keeps ringing and emails start flying.

In the Northern climates, neighbors crawl out of the woodwork and start outdoor work.  We evaluate what, if any, ice and snow damage had on our gutters.  My personal community garden gets started.  All the seeds have arrived, and we set up a production line to sew the flats.  My neighbor has grow lights and racks in her basement (for veggie garden purposes only, we swear!)   The spring bulbs in my boulevard plots start peering out of the cold soil.    

Days get longer because we get busier!