For innovative, cost-effective, long-term solutions for horticulture projects, professionals often turn to lightweight aggregates. From creating an ideal planting media to designing a soil for an athletic field, Arcosa Lightweight is the logical solution.
For horticulture and landscape design applications, Arcosa Lightweight's aggregate is environmentally inert, generally neutral pH, and absorbs water and nutrients, making them available to the root system as the surrounding soil dries out. Landscape pros prefer its lighter weight to reduce dead loads and improve ease of handling. This ceramic material made by calcining clay at temperatures in excess of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, so it does not degrade.
Natural sand and soil are heavy. Native soils have silts and clays that may clog the filter materials or drainage layer and reduce effectiveness. The physical properties of natural volcanic aggregates vary widely with source and location. Organic materials may degrade and compact over time, and require additions to or replacement of planting media. Some horticultural products used in greenhouses and container planting, such as vermiculite and perlite, are extremely light in weight and do not offer adequate anchorage and support for larger plants. In exterior applications vermiculite and perlite often float to the top of the planting media where they can be carried away by wind or water.
Lightweight aggregate has a higher absorption rate than competitive products and helps neutralize acid rain runoff and maintain pH levels in the growing medium.
Combining lightweight aggregates with varying amounts of organic matter creates a lightweight planting media for intensive and/or extensive rooftop gardens. These designer soils can be created or altered to meet design specifications or address precise project requirements. Designer soils are often required for rooftop gardens, raised planters, containers and urban tree plantings.
Incorporating lightweight aggregate into heavy clay soil can provide permanent aeration and drainage within the root zone. This can improve the properties and qualities of existing soils to meet the requirements of the landscape design. When it comes to Turf applications, lightweight is combined with peat, sand and other amendments to form root zone soil mixes for golf courses, athletic fields and related turf surfaces. It is also applied as topdressing over established turf.
SELECTED CASE STUDIES
EXPANDED SHALE USED AT DALLAS ARBORETUM
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanic Garden is home to one of the largest floral planting displays in the Southwestern United States with over 2.9 million annual bedding plants, yearly attendance exceeding 500,000, and visitors from 50 countries.
This parcel is the gem of the Metroplex and its mission is to build a public garden and arboretum which promotes the art, enjoyment, and knowledge of horticulture, while providing opportunities for education and research. It is situated on 66 acres and houses the DeGolyer Estate and Camp Estate.
Living proof of their commitment to education and research is the plant trials garden and testing program. Under the direction of Jimmy Turner, its main focus is to grow and evaluate many different plants in the drastic climate of the Metroplex and North Central Texas, and develop new plant selections. His staff tabulates data on 3,000+ plants yearly, from annuals and perennials to tropicals and bulbs, trees and shrubs.
Unlike other research gardens it is open to the public with the research information freely provided to growers, landscape professionals, breeders, and general plant enthusiasts. It is recognized both regionally and nationally for the service it provides.
LIGHTWEIGHT AGGREGATE PROTECTS NEW ORLEANS LIVE OAK TREES
In New Orleans, live oak trees are as important to the city’s identity as its distinct architecture, unique culture, and vibrant history. Arcosa Lightweight is being used to ensure these iconic trees stay healthy for future generations.
Maintaining the health of thousands of trees scattered throughout New Orleans falls to the city’s Parks and Parkways Department. And that’s a big responsibility according to Hailey Bowen, the city’s chief landscape architect.
“We have many historic trees, particularly our live oak trees and we’ve actually been in involved in a lot of restoration projects,” says Bowen. “We have an urban forestry division here at Park and Parkways and they’re focused entirely on working with the city’s canopy. We have over 500,000 trees that we manage in the city.”
Bowen has been in the field of landscape architecture for over 20 years. The last ten years of her career have been with the City of New Orleans. She joined the city’s Parks and Parkways Department in the years following the massive rebuild following Hurricane Katrina. After the storm surge, many of the city’s live oaks were damaged and dying. And, more than a decade later, repairing the scars of the deadly storm is still underway.