In urban situations or other built-up areas, the microclimate, quality, and comfort of public spaces can be significantly improved by planting or re-naturalising.
However it is difficult to develop plants in such environments if there is insufficient space for root growth, if there are parts of buildings below the ground, if the soil has become compacted and is poorly aerated or drained, or if there are hard surfaces (such as asphalt, concrete, or paving) that are impermeable to air and water.
Nevertheless an ideal environment can still be created in urban areas, making it possible for trees and shrubs to develop with adequate aeration and hydration, even in very man-made environments such as car parks, tree-lined tarmac roadways, or roof gardens on top of underground structures, by using Laterlite Expanded Clay as a component of the substrate as well as in drainage layers and as mulch.
SUBSTRATE – When a substrate incorporating expanded clay is laid underneath a hard-paved area or footpath, or around a plant, this can enable tree roots to grow and expand into a larger volume of soil, thereby providing the optimal conditions for trees to germinate and develop.
The advantages of using a specifically formulated and optimised substrate based on expanded clay are:
DRAINAGE – a drainage layer made from loose expanded clay placed in the vicinity or on top of below-ground structures such as garages, underground lock-ups, green terraces, etc., or at the bottom of holes for plants, prevents the formation of stagnating water that could harm plant development and acts as a valuable moisture reserve (up to 30% water retention) that optimises root growth.
MULCH – Laterlite Expanded Clay used as a mulching layer on top of a substrate is fundamentally important for preventing or limiting the spread of weeds and reducing water and thermal stress in plants.
Because of its inorganic nature and durability, mulching made with Laterlite Expanded Clay does not degrade, requires minimal replenishment or replacement, and does not propagate fire (Euroclass A1 – Incombustible).