Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hard Freezes and Florida Green Roofs - Winter (Hard Freezes - one of the many 'H's GRs face in Florida)

Judy and I have been scurrying most every afternoon to cover plants as temperatures have been dropping into the twenties here in Jacksonville. Looking at the Weather Dot Com it appears that around Tallahassee the mercury has hit the low twenties several times. Walking by our green roofs, I look up with frost blanket in my hand and want to climb up and cover the plants. But I don't.

Our green roofs serve as our best trial panels as we've said many times before. I have finally reached the confidence level that allows me to know the plants will survive. Still though, many of the plants on our green roof are hard to find varieties and the cold north winds are desiccating, unrelenting and potentially fatal to humans, animals and plants.

I am always proud the next day to see the plants stand straight and soak up the sun's warmth. Balancing the choice between those plants, like the sedums that can tolerate extreme cold but melt in the fierce pressure cooker like humidity laden summer heat - and the succulents that can take the tropical heat but not the cold has been the key to success.

There are not alot of plants that fit into the category of withstanding both of the above limiting factors. Then you add long periods of drought and long periods of innundation to the model as inputs and the list of plants that will survive shrink even more.

Finally add the requirement the plants must still look good and not be dormant to the above and the list really becomes small....

So as I await days light to see what damage, if any has been done and add the findings to our resource base - I hope the coldest night so far of 2009 will produce the same positive results as those before.

Happy green roofing in Florida!

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