LiveRoof, LLC is a subsidiary of Hortech, Inc., a west Michigan wholesale nursery specializing in ground covers. In business since 1983, Hortech has built a reputation for innovation, high quality, and superior service, with a loyal client base throughout the Midwestern states.
As a ground cover specialist, Hortech had been well acquainted with low maintenance, drought tolerant plants. For this reason, when the concept of green roofs arrived in the Midwest, Hortech was a natural "go to" source for plant material and information.
At first, the sale of green roof plants was an anomaly, but after growing 250,000 plants for the Ford River Rouge Facility, green roofs became a significant part of Hortech's reality. From that point on, Hortech began formal testing of green roof plants and eventually developed the LiveRoof brand. Composed of diverse, colorful, ultra-durable, superior green roof plants, Hortech has provided and continues to provide LiveRoof plants in the form of plugs (mostly 50 and 38 cell), and unrooted cuttings throughout North America (available by calling 1-800-875-1392). The LiveRoof modular green roof system is an expansion of these efforts, with its origin in Chicago.
During the fall of 2005, Hortech's general manager David MacKenzie received a call from a large Chicago based landscape contractor. What ensued was a meeting whereby the landscape contractors expressed frustration with their current options for green roofs. It was put to him this way:
"Plug- or cutting-planted green roofs can create dissatisfied building owners because the roof is initially brown (soil), and has to be farmed to make it green. It is also prone to wind and weed problems, and may take years to become fully green.
On the other hand, the existing modular green roof systems are convenient, but unsightly, unnatural looking, and literally form a metal or plastic grid on top of the roof. They are also unwieldy, typically planted with only 1 to 2 plants per square foot, and require the same amount of growing with the same challenges as the plant in place plug- or cutting -planted systems."
The landscape firm then gave us a challenge;
"Find a better way to do green roofs, and preferably combine the convenience of the modular system with the look and function of the plant-in-place method. And, for good measure, reduce the rooftop growing time to nil."
This seemed like a tall challenge, but the solution was actually quite simple. By combining a break through method of plant propagation with a unique "disappearing module" design, the LiveRoof system allows for short-cycle growing (6 to 16 weeks instead of years) to create fully vegetated, instantly mature, easily installed green roofs.
The timing of LiveRoof seems to have been good with plenty of interest, but prior to releasing our system we had to undergo the process of patents, (propagation system, modules, soil elevators, etc.), trademarks, and the formation of LiveRoof, LLC. We have also assembled a team of industry leading growers so the LiveRoof system wouldn't be limited to the Midwest (see growers map).
Finally, after a very hectic year and half, we released the LiveRoof system. We are excited about this and hope that you will find the LiveRoof system to be a sensible problem solving option for your green roof projects. We invite you to call the LiveRoof grower closest to you for a personal visit, so that you may see first hand everything LiveRoof can do for you.