March 4, 2011 at 9:13 pm #164514Sara KirkParticipant
Does anyone have experience with using buffalo grass on a green roof, in particular with shallow soil depth, like probably less than 6″ in places? I’ve read that since it’s roots tend to grow deep it’s not good for shallow soil situations. Didn’t know if anyone has had any first hand experience?March 4, 2011 at 10:20 pm #164519Douglas M. RooneyParticipant
Sara….I have no personal experience with buffalo grass but be aware that it is a warm season grass that goes dormant in the winter. Depending upon your climate, your “green” roof may be “beige” for much of the year. Not a problem for a place with seasons, but in parts of the sun belt where some people expect plants that are green and blooming 365, it can result in a unhappy client.March 4, 2011 at 11:12 pm #164518Wyatt Thompson, PLAParticipant
Buffalo grass also takes longer to green up in the spring than other turfgrasses. The advantages are that it is drought tolerant, stays relatively short, and can be installed as plugs, so it may do well in a rooftop application. I’ve not worked with it with limited soil depth though so I’m not sure how it would fair. The one greenroof photo on this website is a pretty sad example, but maybe the company can provide more information for you.March 7, 2011 at 9:50 pm #164517Michael McGrewParticipant
I would not utilize buffalograss in a green roof application. It’s major issue is that it has a narrow precipitation window: too dry and it will expire like any plant, too wet and it will be out-competed by invasive species. Buffalograss also prefers dense clay soils contrary to the lightweight sandy soils you typically see on a green roof. I would check with a structural to determine the weight of your green roof profile if you changed your soils.
Buffalo also has an extended “browndown” period and a physical texture that many find unappealing. I would possibly utilize buffalo only in areas where it would work naturally (i.e. shortgrass prairie ecosystems) and in areas that would not be seen or used. If you’re looking for aesthetically pleasing, functional grass on an extensive roof, I would look at another grass type.March 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm #164516Sara KirkParticipant
I totally agree with you, I didn’t think it sounded like a good idea at all for the situation. You’ve confirmed my thoughts. Thanks!March 8, 2011 at 7:37 pm #164515Rob HalpernParticipant
And (to add to your evidence) while it is drought tolerant in the right landscape, it will not be on 6″ of roof mix.
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