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Plant and Soil

, Volume 430, Issue 1–2, pp 263–276 | Cite as

Sedum root foraging in layered green roof substrates

  • Peng Ji
  • Arne Sæbø
  • Virginia Stovin
  • Hans Martin Hanslin
Regular Article

Abstract

Background and aims

Layered profiles of designed soils may provide long-term benefits for green roofs, provided the vegetation can exploit resources in the different layers. We aimed to quantify Sedum root foraging for water and nutrients in designed soils of different texture and layering.

Methods

In a controlled pot experiment we quantified the root foraging ability of the species Sedum album (L.) and S. rupestre (L.) in response to substrate structure (fine, coarse, layered or mixed), vertical fertiliser placement (top or bottom half of pot) and watering (5, 10 or 20 mm week−1).

Results

Water availability was the main driver of plant growth, followed by substrate structure, while fertiliser placement only had marginal effects on plant growth. Root foraging ability was low to moderate, as also reflected in the low proportion of biomass allocated to roots (5–13%). Increased watering reduced the proportion of root length and root biomass in deeper layers.

Conclusions

Both S. album and S. rupestre had a low ability to exploit water and nutrients by precise root foraging in substrates of different texture and layering. Allocation of biomass to roots was low and showed limited flexibility even under water-deficient conditions.

Keywords

Green roof Sedum Vegetation Root foraging Substrate texture and layering 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by the Regional research fund for Western Norway (project 239039), a strategic institutional programme to the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) through the Research Council of Norway (project 248349/F40), the National Natural Science Foundation of the People’s Republic of China (No. 31401892) and the Doctoral Foundation of Heilongjiang Bayi Agricultural University (xdb2013-02).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. Funding parties had no role in planning, conducting or publishing the study.

Supplementary material

11104_2018_3729_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.4 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 2489 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agronomy CollegeHeilongjiang Bayi Agricultural UniversityDaqingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Urban Greening and Environmental EngineeringNorwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (Nibio)ÅsNorway
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Structural EngineeringUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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