– GREEN WALLS : Winter Maintenance Winter watering

With the exceptionally warm weather this past winter,  watering during the winter months was  of heightened importance. Here are some observations of  green wall installations   Two green walls didnt get the recommended winter watering, Sugarhouse casino and The West Phila gateway wall. Despite this oversight on maintenance the walls have recovered quite well. Sugarhouse ,being a 6″ deep system and capable of retaining more moisture,  is doing better. The gateway is a 4″ deep system and will dry out faster.

SugarHouse Green wall

Lismachia didn’t fare well at sugarhouse,but is making a comeback, however the Hostas, Heuchera, Blue Star Juniper did exceptionely well considering that February had an extended period of very warm days and these walls were not watered.

Sugarhouse green wall May 2012

The Heuchera has made a strong comeback. This is probably due to warm weather in Feb and March and strong root establishment in the 6" deep wall system considering that watering was limited in the winter months.

Sugarhouse - Purple Phlox pops up early April 2012

Bare areas are Lismachia is struggling to recover. Winter watering could avoid these bare areas or select hardier species.

Sugarhouse - Hostas coming on strong - April 2012

 

West Phila Gateway Green Wall - April 2012

The Weihenstephaner Gold Sedum at the gateway didn’t do well, sedum Angelina, blue spruce sedum, and Grasses all recovered. Winter maintenance was could use more watering on the warmer winter days.

 

Hanson Martin Green wall - Cambridge MA - Shady area plants -May 2012

Alternatively, Our green wall in Cambridge was watered in the winter and has full growth. Strawberrys are blooming still green though, but the wall filled in fully.

Most plants go dormant in Winter yet, many still need some moisture. When planting conventional landscaping on the ground snow and rain provide the minimum moisture requirements for perennials in winter, but  green walls won’t benefit from snow or winter rains. Philly Green wall has maintenance plans that when followed Plant loss is minimized.

g_space Green Wall - Feb 2010

In some rare cases we have observed snow collecting at the top of the walls, then melting into the green wall, but you cant count on this.

Vinca Vines, Peppermint and plants with long leafs and long stems seem to have some ability to catch some snow and direct some water back into the wall.

Conclusion: If choosing to install a green wall be prepared for a serious maintenance commitment, since the water drains down and out of the wall maintenance plans need to be made for the winter as well as all four seasons. Our opinion is that if you are going to go to all this effort to have a green wall it pays to grow food in the wall. You get a better ROI.

 

 

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