Plants are natural air conditioning systems. They store water, only to release it again in a well-dosed manner. Thanks to innovative solutions from horticultural companies from North Rhine-Westphalia and elsewhere, it is child's play to 'green' roofs in cities and municipalities. Their climate protection plants provide an effective antidote to hot and dry summers and help to improve our environment.
Innovative concepts from the horticultural sector
Plants can make a difference: a green bus stop, a sea of flowers on a garage or even a completely overgrown building roof does not only look beautiful. Such areas are also great for the environment. Plants from local nurseries provide insects with food and habitat. During heavy rainfall they relieve the sewerage system, filter pollutants and fine dust from the air and bind carbon. In addition, plant growth improves the thermal insulation and sound insulation of buildings. Planting a green roof is becoming increasingly easy thanks to innovative solutions from the horticultural sector. Growers have developed planting concepts from low perennials that require little care. Among other things, professionals rely on an ecological protective layer of Sempervivium species such as houseleek and roofroot, as well as species such as mossy stonecrop and sedum.
This is growing in the Lower Rhine region: Thomas Viehweg grows mossy stonecrop species (sedum) in cassettes in his family business in Issum for a foolproof green roof. (Picture credits: GMH/LV NRW)
Unrivalled in dry areas
A specialist for sedum plants is nursery Viehweg from Issum on the Lower Rhine. The family business, now in its fourth generation, produces many millions of plants per year on 20 hectares of cultivated land. "As succulents, sedum species are able to survive relatively unrivalled in dry places," says owner Thomas Viehweg. According to the grower watering is not necessary because sedum store liquid in their thick leaves and survive heat and even longer periods of drought unscathed. To create a colourful, harmonious green roof, the gardeners combine almost 20 different young Sedum plants, which they place in 40 by 60 centimetre cassettes with mineral substrate.
240 sedum plants per square metre
Up to 240 specimens grow here per square meter. After about four months, the surface is overgrown. Once ingrown, such a plant community can live for several decades. The closed plant cover prevents seedlings of grasses and willows from settling. "The maintenance effort is minimal - as with a regular flat roof, one inspection per year is sufficient to remove unwanted material and apply a long-term fertilizer," says Viehweg. In addition, specialist knowledge is no longer required to create new habitats on unused land.
The ready planted cassettes are simply placed in any number of pieces on a flat roof or a bus stop - and a beautiful and long-lasting planting is ready. The green roof cassettes specially developed for this purpose by metal fabricator WSM for bus stops that are greened by Viehweg, show how innovations can be created through cooperation.Source: Grünes Medienhaus
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