En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Green roof in New York City

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - August 26, 2007

From: Brooklyn, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Green Roofs
Title: Green roof in New York City
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Mark Simmons

QUESTION:

Hi, I am interested in planting native plants on green roofs in New York City. I am wondering how deep your soil is on the center's native plant green roof and if it is irrigated, or was it ever irrigated, and if so for how long? Could you recommend New York State native plants that would work well in 4"-5" of soil and little irrigation? Thanks!

ANSWER:

We have 4" of synthetic soil and we do irrigate, but that's because we need our roofs to be able to transpire for storm water mitigation as well as for cooling in our sub-tropical climate. For minimal water up in the NE USA most use temperate succulent plants like sedums. There's good information on this type of green roof from Green Roof Plants. Ed Snodgrass' book, Green Roof Plants, is excellent.

According to this site, there are two types of green roofs, extensive and intensive. Extensive green roofs use low-lying plants that provide groundcover and are very drought tolerant. Intensive green roofs use plants that provide more of a natural landscape that may have heights of several feet and require deeper soil depth and irrigation.

The priniciple types of plants that Snodgrass recommends are succulents, in particular, sedums or stonecrops. This limits the native plants available that are native to New York to Sedum ternatum (woodland stonecrop).

Rhodiola rosea (roseroot stonecrop) is also native to New York, but is on the State Protected Plants in New York list, so is not really an option to use.

Here are a few suggestions for other plants native to New York that do well in the sun and require little water. They are generally low plants, <1 or 2 feet and should do well in on extensive green roof.

GRASSES

Koeleria macrantha (prairie Junegrass)

Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie dropseed)

HERBS

Antennaria neglecta (field pussytoes)

Cerastium arvense (field chickweed)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Erysimum capitatum (sanddune wallflower)

Hypoxis hirsuta (common goldstar)

Lithospermum canescens (hoary puccoon)

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (blackeyed Susan)

Tephrosia virginiana (Virginia tephrosia)

Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage)


Sedum ternatum

Koeleria macrantha

Sporobolus heterolepis

Antennaria neglecta

Cerastium arvense

Coreopsis lanceolata

Erysimum capitatum

Hypoxis hirsuta

Lithospermum canescens

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

Tephrosia virginiana

Salvia lyrata

 

 

More Green Roofs Questions

Resources for a green roof project from Wayne PA
April 14, 2013 - Hello! I am researching a project to create a native wildflower/ turf mix for a green roof. I would ideally like to grow it as a sod mat, and then install it in rolls. I am currently working as an i...
view the full question and answer

Planning and designing a green roof from Austin
April 30, 2011 - I am in the planning stage to decide about planting a green roof as part of new construction. My ideal plant life on the green roof would have minimal root structure (deeper roots mean deeper soil mea...
view the full question and answer

Supplies for green roof from Corpus Christi TX
March 02, 2013 - Where do you buy your expanded clay or shale, your decomposed granite and your rice husks for a green roof?
view the full question and answer

Green wall panel for Dallas
August 21, 2007 - We are working on a green wall panel for a hotel near SMU--I see your list of recommended species for green roofs, & wondered if you have any ideas for vertical applications. Probably will have someth...
view the full question and answer

Soil mixes for green roofs
November 23, 2008 - We are trying to set up a green roof system on our own. What do you suggest for soil? It seems the soils are proprietary and unavailable to individuals.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center