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5 Top Tips For Keeping Your Sedum Living Roof Full Of Life

Like a beloved pet, or border of blooms, your living roof needs looking after to keep it in the peak of physical fitness. Happily though, your rooftop greenery is a very manageable and lower maintenance than the rest of your ground-level garden.

To keep your vibrant green roof full of vitality, follow these top tips.

1. Banish Weeds

A weed is anything growing where it isn't wanted. Since your living roof is viewed from a distance, you may be more flexible on classifying something as a weed than you are with your garden borders.

Moss and grass are both found on living roofs. Neither will cause your roof any damage, but you can remove them by hand if they are aesthetically unappealing. On a shallow substrate roof, grass will quickly die off during dry periods anyway.

Tree seedlings should be dealt with quickly before they have an opportunity to get established.

2. Feed Well

Use a purpose-made living roof feed every spring to encourage your greenery to flourish. The feed only needs to be applied once or twice a year, at the beginning and end of Spring. Avoid feeding the roof in cooler months, as the nutrients will encourage new growth, which will be susceptible to damage by frost. A patchy looking roof, and gaps occupied by weeds are signs that your roof is struggling and needs a top-up feed.

For best results, use a slow release feed with plenty of Potassium and Phosphorous to encourage strong roots and flowers. Nitrogen levels should be 8% of lower, as too much will encourage lush growth, vulnerable to frosts and strong winds.

3. Diagnosing Drought Stress

Don't panic if your living roof has turned a reddish brown colour. This is a natural coping mechanism, deployed by sedum during times of drought. The leaves turn to a reddish colour and become tightly balled to protect themselves from the sunshine, and will return to normal when the rain falls. However, if the leaves appear wrinkled, baggy or dried out, help the roof recover with a good soaking.

4. Avoid Over Watering

Generally living roofs do not require watering. Too much water will drain the substrate of the nutrients the plants need to thrive. After a particularly wet winter, your roof may require more feeding than usual to top up nutrient reserves the weather has washed away.

5. Keep Calm

As your roof is alive, its appearance will change with the seasons and as it matures. Respond slowly and gently to any concerns, researching your options thoroughly before taking action, as often the right thing to do is very little or nothing at all.

Date: 17/06/2014 | Author: Roger Hedges