Boningale study finds green roof micro-organism secret of success

A Boningale GreenSky-funded PhD study has found that applying arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inoculum directly throughout the substrate is expensive and not very effective way of ensuring micro-organisms thrive on green roofs, but applying SRD inoculum to the plugs, or growing plants in pre-inoculated plugs, ensures the micro-organisms establish successfully and form a biological relationship with the plant.

The research is part of findings that Maggie Fennell, head of Boningale GreenSky, has revealed of a first-of-its-kind PhD study that was recently conducted with University of Sheffield’s Animal and Plant Science Centre to identify the best way to ensure that beneficial micro-organisms thrive on green roofs.

How to introduce micro-organisms on to a green roof in a beneficial and cost-effective way has long been a problem for green roof specialists.

These microbes, bacteria and fungi combine to improve plant nutrient uptake, which means that flowering performance on a green roof is likely to benefit. They can also help plants develop natural resilience to stressful conditions, to which they are subjected in a rooftop environment. Beneficial soil organisms perform many functions which influence soil fertility and plant health. Substrate mixes are known to have a low level of biological activity which makes plants more susceptible to stress and disease.

In the first analysis of its kind, Boningale GreenSky sponsored PhD researcher, Dr Tom Young, to scientifically investigate with experts at University of Sheffield’s Animal and Plant Science Centre, how microscopic creatures can best be introduced to a sterile roof substrate.

AMF is a specific type of micro-organism that helps plant roots take up nutrients and our production team combine it with additional beneficial bacteria and organisms that make the plants more naturally resistant to disease. The inoculum is watered onto the plants as they grow, beginning a symbiotic relationship that sustains both the plants and the microbes.

Boningale uses a range of "Species rich diversity" (SRD) products which redress the imbalance in the green roof growing medium. 

Fennell said: "The findings from the study are an exciting development because they provide further information on the organic building blocks of a natural, healthy ecosystem, which is one of the key drivers of green roofs".

The results are published at: Young et al. Using AMF inoculum to improve the nutritional status of Prunella vulgaris plants in green roof substrate during establishment in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening Vol 14, issue 4. doi:10.1016/j.ufug.2015.08.012


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sisyrinchium

Sisyrinchium

This huge but slightly odd genus offers multiple choices for the rock garden or alpine house, says Miranda Kimberley.

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Raised levels of investment in horticulture education and increased student take-up is welcome news for the industry, says Rachel Anderson.

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Choosing the right plant, correct planting procedure and best aftercare are the three basic rules for sucessful tree planting, Sally Drury explains.


Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Welcome to this bumper 72-page July edition of Horticulture Week magazine, packed with exclusive analysis, insight and expert advice on the biggest issues impacting all sectors of the UK horticulture industry right now.

Edwards: Will a weak pound and tariffs on imported stock be good for UK nursery production?

Edwards: Will a weak pound and tariffs on imported stock be good for UK nursery production?

At the time of writing - a few days after the general election - sterling has weakened and we still have no idea of what Brexit means.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production
 

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles