Up on the roof and down in the dirt: differences in substrate properties (SOM, potassium, phosphorus and pH) and their relationships to each other between sedum and wildflower green roofs

Renée McAlister, Anja Rott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In urban areas green roofs provide important environmental advantages in regard to biodiversity, storm water runoff, pollution mitigation and the reduction of the urban heat island effect. There is a paucity of literature comparing different types of green roof substrates and their contributions to ecosystem services or their negative effects. This study investigated if there was a difference between sedum and wildflower green roof substrate properties (soil organic matter (SOM), potassium (K) and phosphorus (P) concentrations and pH values) of 12 green roofs in the city of Brighton & Hove. One hundred substrate samples were collected (50 from sedum roof substrates and 50 from wildflower roof substrates) and substrate properties were investigated using standard protocols. Comparisons were made between substrate characteristics on both types of roof substrate with a series of multiple linear regressions. Sedum roofs displayed significantly higher values of SOM, P and pH. There were significant positive relationships between SOM and K concentrations, SOM and P concentrations, pH and K concentrations and pH and P concentrations on sedum roofs. This study concluded that sedum roof substrates are more favourable for plant water use efficiency and also contained a significantly higher percentage of SOM than wildflower roofs. However, higher concentrations of P in sedum roof substrates may have implications in regard to leachates.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0225652
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume14
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 McAlister, Rott. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Keywords

  • Urban Ecology
  • green roofs
  • Soil substratum

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