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Moss Mat Green Roof Systems

Moss Acres has now furnished moss for several green rof projects. These have been successfully installed utilizing a variety of different methods, however moving forward we are focused on utilizing our pre-grown moss mat system atop a drainage/water storage layer combined with a soaker hose(s) as desired. Please call us at 866 GET MOSS or by email at info@mossacres.com to discuss your project in detail.

The benefits of using moss for green roofs are numerous:

1) Lightweight – Ideal for green roofs on buildings with load bearing constraints

2) Lower Cost - Moss mats are shipped dry and are very easy to transport, handle, and install. The material, labor and staging expense savings can be significant.
3) Low Maintenance - Moss requires no fertilization, pesticides or even watering to survive. Moss has no roots and receives all nutrients and moisture through it’s leaves from rainfall.

4) Water Retention & Insulating Properties – Green roof systems comprised of moss mats and a water retention underlayment combine for significant storm water holding capacity, protect the roofing membrane, and provide significant insulating capabilities.

5) Versatile: Sun or Shade - Various species of moss are available on our mats for most any type of living roof location – from full sun to full shade.

6) Appearance - The vibrant shades of green produced by moss make it an ideal choice for any green roof design.

If you are considering a specialized green roof system that could benefit from all the advantages that a moss covered green roof has to offer, then please call us at 866 GET MOSS or email us your project details, photos/plans and, or any questions. We can then provide you with an estimate for your project.

Adirondack Fireplace House

In 2015 another moss covered green roof was incorporated into the green roof design for a granite "fireplace house" along the banks of crystal clear Adirondack Mountain lake. The project was collaborated on with green roof specifiers Roof Meadow and was installed by Recover Green Roofs. For this green roof system the Watergrip water retention system was utilized beneath sheets and clumps of various shade loving mosses and ferns. Transplant netting is barely visible, and was also installed atop the moss.

Hobbit House Green Roof

Also in 2015 a wedding and events venue in New Hope, PA - "Holly Hedge" installed a moss living roof on a small children's cottage made of cordwood. The moss was laid directly over synthetic felt capillary mats and Enka Drain Retain & Drain drainage mat. The waterproofing for the green roof is EPDM rubber. There is a drip line at the peak set on a timer. Transplant netting was used to protect the moss from birds that might try to flip the moss over in search of bugs or worms, and to keep the moss from blowing off until it has time to knit to the mats. The sheet mosses are flourishing on this living roof installation.

Another Technique

Between 2008 and 2011 Moss Acres conducted several experiments with moss on a wide range of green roofing soil mediums and on several flat, shady area roofs. The results have been very favorable. We have found that by shredding various varieties of sheet mosses and rock cap (broom) moss and broadcasting these fragments over the expanded green roof aggregate, we have been able to establish moss that not only knits together quickly, but also grows into and amongst the aggregate, locking the moss to the roof.

The keys to success have been keeping the moss fragments moist (gel powder is first lightly raked into the roofing aggregate and mister systems are used the first few months), choosing a relatively shaded location, and utilizing a relatively high coverage rate of 65% - 85%.

Hypnum moss fragments knit to roofing soilMoss has many advantages for green roofs:

  • Requires less roofing soil medium - only 1.5" deep or so
  • Retains 10 x its weight in water
  • Thrives in shade produced by building shadows
  • Drought tolerant once established
  • Rapid growth rate – 6 - 12 months for full coverage

Building on our success with the moss covered spring house roof, Moss Acres began providing moss for additional green roof projects in early 2010.

The first was a shaded section on a flat roof at the Russel Wright Design Center in Garrison, New York. Michael Franco, Landscape Architect for Town and Gardens, Ltd., designed the roof and specified a mix of hypnum and rock cap mosses for the shaded section, and sedum for the section with more sun exposure. The moss roof was installed over a Kemper membrane with a drainage/retention layer by Drainage Products, Inc., and extensive green roof growing medium by Sky Garden. View images of this project.

The next project was at the residence of none other than Dave Benner, moss pioneer and father of Moss Acres owner, Al Benner. (photo shows moss 18 months after "inoculation") This roof, over a section of the house measuring 550 square feet, has a 10° pitch and is well shaded under a large beech tree. Five years earlier, the roof had been covered with an EPDM rubber roof. For this installation, the entire section was covered with a Colbond Enkadrain “retain and drain” mat system, a Rooflite® extensive growing medium, and a mix of pre-shredded hypnum and rock cap mosses that were applied to achieve a 75% coverage rate. Prior to spreading the moss, which was done by hand, a water-retention gel was raked into the growing medium. Special thanks for on-site support to Charlie Miller and his team from Roofscapes in Philadelphia, PA. Check out the excellent web presentation for this project by our friends at RooftopGardens.com

Another green roof application involving Moss Acres was at the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University were four pre-planted rooftop boxes were custom planted and then delivered to the University.

Click to order pre-shredded moss

We also believe the new moss mats may have some applications for green roofs and are anxious to experiment with them. We envision thin stainless steel cables stretched over and across for securing mats to roof. We are also having good success with sun loving mosses for mats and green roofs and are exploring propagation. Please contact us at info@mossacres.com for updates on these exciting new products.

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