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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Step By Step

As you may have seen, the Berry Prairie is undergoing a bit of a face lift. Literally! The entire surface of the Prairie has been removed. With approximately 4,300 individual plants and 62 species to account for (not to mention the tons of substrate) how do we make the necessary repairs and maximize the potential for the Prairie to return to the beautiful native landscape we have grown to love? It’s ‘easy’…Methodically, step by step.

The Fun Part:

With the original design plans in hand, we began by dividing the Prairie into 10 sections and assigning each section a plastic marker color with a corresponding tag. Kyle gave each species a number and with the help of his advisor, Dr. Greg Brown, and the Berry Center’s summer gardener, Joseph, he walked the roof identifying and tagging plants with their designated color and number. Over three sunny days each pant was given a new color and number coordinated name tag. 

All 4300 plants were labeled prior to transplanting

The Hard Part:

Each plant, some very small and delicate, had to be removed, potted and transported to the holding area. Fortunately for us, we had an awesome crew from Highland Landscaping that understood the sensitive nature of the plants and the project. 

Plants being systematically transplanted by the Highland Landscaping crew

In just over 20 hours all plants had been removed and transported, arranged by section and settled into their new home at the golf course. Smiling up at the sun with a fresh drink of water, the first part of their tumultuous trip complete, the plants anxiously await their return to the Berry Prairie. 

All 4300 plants are at the Golf Course for temporary storage, where they are under an irrigation regime.

What to do with the ‘dirt’:

Removing the plants was relatively easy. No new age technology required just shovels and buckets, sore backs and sweat. Then what do we do with the remaining 3,000 plus square feet of substrate? Shovels and buckets…No Way! We get a Badger!

Large vacuum truck to remove the "dirt" from the green roof

The Badger truck is an impressively large vacuum. According to its operator, it generates more vacuum power then an average tornado and can pick up a 100lb boulder at the end of a 400ft stretch of hose. There is more to it than just the awesome power of the Badger, the vacuum technology allowed us to remove the substrate in layers. First we removed the planting material and then the underlying gravel bedding. Removing the substrate in layers allows us to reuse the material saving valuable time and money.  Once the truck was full the substrate was transported to the golf course where it awaits with the plants to return to the roof.  

The process of removing the substrate involves hours of vacuuming
Written by Kyle Bolenbaugh, MS candidate, University of Wyoming


1 comment:

  1. It's challenging to discover knowledgeable folks on this subject, but you sound like you know what you're talking about! Thanks


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