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BAMBOO ON THE ROOF

Greentop

SITE CONSIDERATIONS
Plants on the rooftop present unique environmental challenges whether planted in individual containers or raised planters. Rooftops are harsh environments for live plant material. In the temperate areas of Zone 4-7 there are often extreme contrasts in temperature during winter months causing rapid freeze/thaw cycles and root injury. In Zone 8-11, where the growing season is virtually year-round, understanding watering needs and the effects of drying winds is of key importance to a successful rooftop garden.

GreentopPLANTER DESIGN
The most important factors in planter design are planter dimensions, drainage and insulation requirements. We recommend a minimum depth and width of 24” for planting of running bamboo. A larger planter is needed for planting tall bamboos (15’) in high wind areas. A planter that is two feet in depth and four feet in width will provide adequate soil mass to anchor taller bamboos.

Drainage at the bottom of the planter is essential. Prefabricated drainage mats or 2 inches of 1/2" stone covered with a soil filtration fabric are two of the most common drainage techniques in planter design. Water must also have a place to go on the roof. This should be an integral part of the rooftop design.

Insulation on the sides of the planter is necessary in Zones 4-7 and beneficial in Zones 8-11. In Zones 4-7, insulation protects the plants from rapid freeze/thaw cycles that cause root injury. In Zones 8-11, insulation keeps the soil at cooler temperatures preventing heat and water stress.

GreentopSOIL MIX & FERTILIZER
A well-drained soil mix with light weight characteristics is ideal for rooftop plantings. We recommend Fafard 52, a soil-less mix, for pots and planters. It is a high nutrient mix with good drainage and water retention. Scotts High N fertilizer, 22-4-8, and Fafard 52 are a successful combination for rooftop planters.

GreentopWATERING
The amount and frequency of watering is dependent upon the condition of the roots in the soil, environmental exposure to wind, sun, temperature and general vigor of the plant. Watering demands change seasonally and are also affected when bamboo in planters become pot bound. A pot bound planter requires more frequent watering. Small containers on the roof or deck usually should be checked daily for water stress, especially during warm weather periods. Larger planters and direct planting designs usually require automated drip irrigation systems, which can be adjusted for the weather, the season and for the more frequent water needs of a pot bound planter.

GreentopWINTER CARE
In temperate Zones 4-7 freezing temperatures and frigid winds can desiccate (turn brown) bamboo foliage. A frozen root system cannot readily replace water to the leaves. The application of anti-desiccant sprays on leaves help retain moisture. Wilt Pruf or Vaporguard are available at most nurseries or garden centers. Spray in mid-December, January and February for best results.

GreentopDESIGN & CONSULTATION
We are available for consultation and assistance in designing your rooftop garden. Gardens on the roof often bring up complex issues related to plant selection, planter design andmaintenance specifications. Let us assist you – call us for additional information.

 

Greentop