Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Range and adaptability of evening primrose from Tucson AZ
August 28, 2009 - What is the natural range of the evening primrose? What adaptations does it have to live in the arid Southwest?
view the full question and answer

Lily plants being chewed from Austin
June 20, 2013 - Something is chewing my lily plants to the ground. Any ideas what and do I stop them?
view the full question and answer

Are dusty millers perennial in Dubuque, IA?
April 24, 2009 - I have dusty millers in my front yard. Last fall I did nothing with them as I wasn't sure if they will return or not. Do the dusty millers continue to grow year after year and should I cut them dow...
view the full question and answer

What are the grey-green plants on oak trees in San Marcos, TX?
March 12, 2011 - The oak trees in the neighborhood in San Marcos, TX, are covered with clumps, or balls, of gray/green fluffy-looking plants. they remind me of bromeliads. You can pull and knock them off; after wind ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for area around salt water pool
June 27, 2013 - What are some plants that will grow around my salt water pool where there is some salt water runoff occasionally.
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.