Wildflowers On Roofs

4 min read

wildflowers on roofs

Wildflowers on roofs sounds like a good idea. Meadowmat appears to be a good green roofing material, especially for anyone who is aiming for biodiversity. At Turf Online, we grow Enviromat sedum matting on our farm and have a green roof maintenance service so we’ve got some useful experience with living roofs. However, even though Meadowmat has some excellent uses, in all honesty, it isn’t ideal for roofing for several reasons:

….Vigorous Root Systems

Did you know that Meadowmat contains up to 38 species of native grasses and wildflowers? All of which are found naturally in meadows and pastures. However, some of these plants are adapted to living in really poor soils so they’ve evolved vigorous root systems that can spread a long way to find the nutrients the plants need. Vigorous root systems and green roofs can cause difficulties.

It Has a Minimum Growing Depth

The minimum depth of growing medium to establish Meadowmat into is 150mm. That will weigh around 250Kg per square metre, an awfully heavy load to put on a roof! (unless the building has been designed and built especially to carry that weight.)

Too Much Grass On a Roof Is a Nuisance

50% of the weight of the Meadowmat seed mix is grass. A certain amount of native grasses are needed to supply food for insect larvae, shelter for amphibians and small furry creatures. But on a roof, too much grass is too much of a nuisance! Meadows need careful maintenance to ensure that the grasses don’t predominate and crowd out less competitive flowering species like wildflowers. The only way around this is by taking a cut of hay in the summer, all of which needs to be brought down from the roof. Then it’ll need mowing a couple of times throughout the Autumn and Winter. That means removing all of the cuttings again! This is not recommended so unless you have really good access to the roof, the maintenance regime for Meadowmat can be an issue.

It Can Grow Tall

Some of the plant species in Meadowmat can grow quite tall. (I have Meadowmat in my garden which is currently at hip height, so believe me, I know!) In windy, blustery conditions, they blow over and all lay on the ground in a heap. The wildflowers and other species on the bottom of the heap will be smothered and killed.
Weather conditions on roofs tend to be more extreme than at ground level – hotter and drier conditions in Summer, colder in Winter and windier all year round. We all know that living in Britain’s unpredictable weather, you can never be prepared for what’s going to come next. So best to stick to low growing plants that can cope better with the conditions.

Is Enviromat Good For My Roof?

The answer for this one is yes, Enviromat is a low maintenance, soft landscaping material consisting of hundreds of sedums growing on a mat which is designed to allow you to create beautiful living roofs.

It’s Lightweight

Enviromat is the ideal vegetation blanket for creating a green roof due to its relatively lightweight build-up. When the wildflowers and other plants are in the wild, they tend to be found on mountain tops, moors and heaths where they are adapted to living in exposed conditions.

It’s a Great Roof Insulator

Enviromat isn’t just an environmentally-friendly solution for your home roof, but you will also find that your Enviromat roof will actually help insulate your house in the winter and keep your home cooler in the summer!

Advice On Wildflowers On Your Roof

If you are dead-set on growing wildflowers on your roof, be careful to select ones that:

  • Are not too tall
  • Can survive in exposed conditions
  • Won’t need a huge amount of maintenance
  • Give a nice long flowering period to provide nectar for butterflies and bees
  • Another tip is to try and avoid grass in the seed mix! You’ll find that by sowing wildflower seed or planting wildflower plugs, grass will naturally establish itself in the spaces between flowering plants.

Where Do I Find More Information?

If you like the sound of Enviromat and would like to find out more, or would like to get more advice on whether Meadowmat is for you, you can find more information on our website.

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