En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Wednesday - July 04, 2012

From: lynnwood, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Planting, Propagation, Green Roofs, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Kinnikinnick for a green roof
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and am a building official so can calc the loads. - tons! so (don't try this at home kids) - I don't like the weedy look of sedums so was thinking about Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. Kinnikinnick and need to know what depth of soil, if it might really grow on the warm windy roof - (it does rain here) - and maybe this plant could work.. thoughts?

ANSWER:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) is an obvious prospect for a green roof.  Attractive, tolerates water-logging and drought, and found throughout the Pacific Northwest.  The problem is that it grows slowly and is not easily transplanted.  If you are planning to grow it for yourself it would seem best to start with cuttings or seed.  This web site gives information on propagation from seed, stem cuttings and root cuttings.  The Woodland Park Zoo tested Kinnikinnick on a green roof in 2006.  They found that it survived but only on slopes of less than 15%.  At greater slopes their growth medium (6 inches in depth) did not retain water well enough to prevent root drying.  Some details are given in a Masters degree thesis.  The Kinnikinnick plants were young and perhaps had not established an extensive root system.  I advise you to call ( (206) 548-2520) or drive to the zoo and find out more recent information.  Kinnikinnick has also been used on the Vancouver, BC, library roof.

Because of the widespread interest in green roofs improved planting media are always appearing. I found numerous potentially useful web sites in a Google search for "Green roof growth media, Pacific Northwest.  Kinnikinnick plants are available in Seattle area nurseries, e.g.,  the Woodbrook Native Plant Nursery and probably at some of the ones on this list.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

More Green Roofs Questions

Plants for green roofs in Wayne County TN
November 20, 2009 - Are any of the plants recommended for green roofs more subject to fire during drought conditions? Our application will be on a rustic wood cabin, thus the importance of safety from fire.
view the full question and answer

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

Stick with tried and true plants for a green roof in New York
May 12, 2013 - If I use Virginia creepers in a ground covered application for a green roof, how much soil should I provide depth wise?
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

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

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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center