Green roofs, a roofing technology that entails growing plants on rooftops, provide many benefits such as improved stormwater management, energy conservation, mitigation of the urban heat island effect, increased longevity of roofing membranes, reduction in noise and air pollution, and improved aesthetics. Plants on rooftops are more susceptible to extremes in temperature and drought due to their shallow substrate and elevation above ground. Because of these unfavorable growing conditions, plant selection and season of establishment are critical. The major objective of this study was to quantify the effect of substrate depth and planting season on successful establishment of plugs of Sedum species on green roofs. Plugs of nine species of Sedum were planted in East Lansing, MI, in autumn (September 20, 2004) or spring (June 8, 2005) and then evaluated for survival on June 1, 2005, and June 1, 2006, respectively. Overall, spring planting exhibited superior survival rates (81%) compared to autumn (23%) across substrate depths. Sedum cauticola ‘Lidakense’, S. floriferum, and S. sexangulare were not affected by season of planting. Sedum cauticola barely survived at any substrate depth or planting season, whereas the latter two exhibited nearly 100% survival regardless of planting season. All other species had superior survival percentages when planted during spring.
2Graduate Research Assistant.