Expanded Shale, Clay and Slate (ESCS) plays a valuable role in today’s horticulture, Green Roof and landscape design. For innovative, cost-effective, long-term solutions to modern horticulture and landscape design challenges, design professionals have turned to ESCS. Whether it is creating an ideal planting media for a rooftop garden, designing a soil for an athletic field or improving an existing soil to sustain a plant design, ESCS is the logical solution.
What is ESCS?
ESCS is a lightweight, ceramic material produced by expanding and vitrifying select shales, clays and slates in a rotary kiln. The process produces high quality ceramic aggregate that is structurally strong, physically stable, durable, environmentally inert, light in weight, and highly insulative. It is a non-toxic, absorptive aggregate that is dimensionally stable and will not degrade over time.
Rooftop Garden Planting Media
Combining ESCS with varying amounts of organic matter creates a lightweight planting media for intensive and/or extensive rooftop gardens.
With ESCS, 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 ESCS into heavy clay soil can provide permanent aeration and drainage within the root zone. ESCS can improve the properties and qualities of existing soils to meet the requirements of the landscape design.
ESCS 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.
Storm Water Management
ESCS amended soil reduces surface runoff by permitting storm water to percolate and infiltrate the soil surface. Rain gardens, vegetated filter strips and turf pavers are examples of storm water management tools that benefit from ESCS.
Infield Conditioner for Ball Fields
Adding ESCS to the infield mix prevents the skinned surface from becoming hard and compacted. It also improves drainage, allowing the infield to dry out quickly after inclement weather, reducing down time.
At nearly half the weight of common fills, ESCS provides an ideal lightweight fill for backfilling retaining walls, reducing loads over structures or insulating thermally sensitive elements.
Compared to ESCS, natural sand and soil are heavy. They frequently require that structural modifications be made to the project’s design. 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. Natural 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.
Weight reduction and product performance are the primary reason ESCS is so versatile and used in so many different applications: