Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXV, Number 5191
Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Green Roof Is Coming to a Recreation Center Near You!

Green Roof at 5-Boro on Randall’s Island.
Green Roof at 5-Boro on Randall’s Island.
Photo by Daniel Avila

The great success of the 18 system (17,000 square foot) green roof atop the 5-Boro Complex at Randall’s Island has led to the expansion of Parks green roof program. This spring 5-Boro Technical Services, Forestry, Horticulture and Natural Resources, and the Green Apple Corps will install 10 new green roofs on recreation centers citywide.

Each new system will create a grassland habitat that will expand the native vegetation and biodiversity in the city, and ultimately begin the effort to create “green corridors” that will connect our fragmented natural areas. With the creation of these habitats we hope to see an increase in pollination activity, bird foraging and nesting, and storm water capture. The green roofs will also provide cooling benefits to the host building and surrounding micro-climate.

Parks will be working with Matt Palmer, ecology expert at Columbia University, in collecting data on how native habitats on roofs compare with roofs planted with sedum, the most commonly used plant on green roofs. Data collection will include digital monitoring and weather stations to test and evaluate surface temperatures, soil temperatures and moisture levels at various depths in the soil medium. Data will also be gathered on the performance of the soil and plants in these ecosystems.

Each system will include 12 experimental plots, 85 square feet each, with soil depths ranging from 4 to 6 inches.

Each plot will be planted with a species mix from two native plant communities, the Hempstead Plains (Long Island) and Rocky Summit Grasslands (e.g. Bear Mountain) of the New York City region. These models were chosen because they are meadows, have plants that can tolerate the desiccated soils and high winds typical of roof conditions, and provide prime foraging for native insects and birds.
The eight different plant species will include:

Hempstead Plains
Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans), Yellow wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria), Gray goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis), Butterfly-weed (Asclepias tuberose), Hyssop-leaved boneset (Eupatorium hyssopifolium), and North Dewberry (Rubus flagellaris).

Rocky Summit Grasslands
Pennsylavania sedge (Carex pensylvanica), Poverty-oat grass (Danthonia spicata), Common Hairgrass (Deschampsia flexuosa), Bush-clover (Lespedeza capitata), Whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia), Stone-mint (Cunila origanoides), Licorice-goldenrod (Solidago odora), and Low-bush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium).

Installed monitoring systems and periodic field inspections at each of the 10 recreation centers will analyze and compare environmental conditions at each site. Maintenance of the green roofs will be provided by the Million Tree Trainees of the Green Apple Corp.

The 10 Recreation Centers that will receive green roofs are:
1. Jackie Robinson W147th & Bradhurst, Manhattan
2. Hansborough W134 bet Lenox & 5th Ave, Manhattan
3. Chelsea W25th bet 9th & 10th, Manhattan
4. Brownsville Linden & Christopher, Brooklyn
5. St. John's Troy, Bergen & Prospect, Brooklyn
6. Sunset Park 41st & 7th Ave, Brooklyn
7. St. Mary's St Ann's & E149th, Bronx
8. Sorrentino 18-48 Cornaga Rockaway, Queens
9. Lost Battalion Queens Blvd & 93rd st, Queens
10. Lyons Pool Victory Blvd & Pier #6, Staten Island

Written by Anthony Park


“What the world really needs is more love and less paper work.”

Pearl Bailey
(1918 – 1990)

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