Green living: Save Our Earth By Living Green

Winter Maintenance Tips for Green Roof Owners

Mirroring the construction techniques popular in Europe for centuries, green roofs incorporate plant life to provide natural home insulation, control rainwater runoff, and promote environmentalism through eco-friendly architecture. While a green roof might be good for your carbon footprint, it requires maintenance and care just as a traditional roof would. With cold temperatures rapidly approaching, consider taking these simple steps to prepare and maintain your green roof through the chilly holiday season.

Green Roofs - Winter Maintenance Tips for Green Roof Owners

Waterproofing Your Roof

Green roofs might be designed around utilizing rainwater, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as susceptible to leaking as traditional roofs. Use the first few weeks of the season to schedule an inspection by a roofing company to look for small nooks, cracks, and other openings in the roof’s basic structure. Likewise, investigate your attic for any telltale signs of water damage, like mold or dripping, as this is a clear indication of damage to the waterproofing layer beneath the vegetation.

The Importance of Snow Removal

Like a normal roof, your green roof will inevitably accumulate snow during the winter months. This can prove devastating for the vegetation if it isn’t removed promptly; however, some snow should be left to insulate the fauna. The general wisdom is to leave a layer about four inches deep. Anything beyond this should be removed, as excess pileup can disturb the plant life, if not ruin it permanently.

Pruning Vegetation

Deciduous or evergreen foliage on your green roof will keep it looking vibrant and healthy even through the winter months, but it also means you’ll need to care for your plants during this season. Trimming and pruning should be carried out every three years to encourage new leaf growth. Make sure to handle any necessary de-weeding before the soil begins to harden, as this will save you trouble down the line once temperatures start to heat up again. In the lead-up to winter, weeding should be carried out every three to four weeks.

Routine Maintenance

The beauty of green roofs is that, by and large, they require little maintenance after the first few months to years of growth. That said, if you live in a region with impactful winters, it’s worth taking precautions, just as you would with a standard roof. Address these problems as early in the season as possible to ensure your roof is back to its vibrant self once the growing season returns.

Gutter and Drain Maintenance

Weather will inevitable knock plant debris and soil into your gutter. While this will naturally lead to clogs, it can also give a space for invasive plants and weeds to take root and threaten the health of your green roof. Work with a roofing company. They should address this problem when examining your roof for other latent structural problems, since both factors will inevitably contribute to leaking once snow settles onto the roof’s exterior. 

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