New Patented Turf Grasses and a Native Grass Offer New Options

Turf grasses today include an array of patented turf grasses that offer your clients unique characteristics. We asked national and local turf grass suppliers to tell us about the latest turf grasses that are available in Hawaii and we received a great response. It’s truly amazing how traditional grasses have been optimized for more drought resistance, lower mowing height, insect resistance, different color shades, greater foot traffic tolerance, shade tolerance, and there’s a native grass that’s now available too. You name it there’s a grass that’s perfect for your project.

Captiva St. Augustine

Captiva ™ St. Augustinegrass is an improved release from the University of Florida. Captiva offers a visual and dramatic improvement to the common St. Augustine grasses found throughout Hawaii.  Captiva has a deep dark green color, shows resistance to the Southern Chinch Bug, and is very shade tolerant. Unlike common St Augustine, Captiva is a true low-mow grass and is a slow vertical grower which greatly reduces the frequency of mowing.  It grows well with minimum water once established.  Captiva is a great low maintenance grass for many types of Hawaiian landscapes. Hawaiian Turfgrass in Hawaii grows Captiva ™ St. Augustinegrass.  For more information visit or


Celebration® Bermudagrass

Celebration® is a striking blue-green bermudagrass that offers proven exceptional performance throughout Hawaii in a wide range of applications.  Celebration ranked #1 in a comprehensive drought study and requires fewer inputs, making it an environmental-friendly grass to the sensitive Hawaiian landscape.  Celebration has also received top ratings for wear tolerance, divot recovery and low surface hardness.  It has an excellent recovery rate from damage and wear and has excellent sod strength due to a dense root system and tight runners.   While being extremely heat tolerant, Celebration tolerates cooler temperatures while retaining its color.  Celebration in both scientific studies and real life applications has a higher degree of shade tolerance than other bermudagrass varieties allowing it to stretch the normal limits of bermudagrass in shaded applications. From professional golf to the NFL, home lawns to sports fields, Celebration is a proven excellent choice for optimal performance and quality for Hawaii.  Southern Turf in Hawaii grows Celebration Bermudagrass.  For more information visit or

MiniVerde® Bermudagrass

MiniVerde® Bermudagrass variety ‘P-18’ is a high shoot density, stoloniferous bermudagrass for production of high quality golf greens. MiniVerde tolerates continuous close mowing, has a dark green genetic color and excellent low temperature color retention. MiniVerde does not exhibit purple leaf coloration due to anthocyanin production typical of Tifdwarf bermudagrass exposed to low, non-freezing temperatures.

   MiniVerde will tolerate relatively high amounts of sodium and therefore is adapted for use with reclaimed water. MiniVerde also tolerates soil pH levels of from 5.5 to 9.0 but will perform best at pH 6.0 to 6.5. MiniVerde has few pest problems and tolerates close, frequent mowing. MiniVerde Bermudagrass is locally grown by Alii Turf Company. For more information visit

Riviera Bermudagrass

Riviera Bermudagrass is an improved common bermudagrass that was released in 2001. Unlike all of the hybrid selections, Riviera is grown from seed. This makes establishment less labor intensive and is much less expensive. Riviera Bermuda has superior density, texture and color as compared to other improved common bermudagrass varieties. It is very wear tolerant and recovers quickly from damage making it an excellent choice for use on many sports field applications. Riviera has been use extensively on golf courses, home lawns, roadsides, and almost every venue of sports.  Riviera Bermudagrass is locally sold by Koolau Seed & Supply Co. and can be reached at (808) 239-1280.

TifGrand® Certified Bermudagrass

TifGrand® is the world’s first Bermudagrass scientifically developed to produce a superior turf cover in full sun and to thrive in as little as five hours of direct sunlight per day. TifGrand® has a natural dark-green color even at lower fertility, promising to make it a very environmentally friendly grass. TifGrand® can be mowed very low, relatively high, or somewhere in-between, making it one of the most versatile options for everyone under the sun. TifGrand® is ideal for sports fields in stadiums and on school playing fields. It’s also well suited for home lawns and commercial properties where shade trees or buildings cast shadows for part of the day. Hawaiian Turfgrass is the exclusive TifGrand® certified grower in Hawaii.  For more information visit or locally


Where paspalum must be flushed with fresh water to move the salts through the soil column, zoysia stores the salt in its leaf tissue. So, to remove salt from zoysiagrass, all you have to do is mow it and remove the clippings. It’s that easy. For its combination of low maintenance, low water, low fertilizer and easy removal of salts, Zoysia can be the future of turfgrass in Hawaii.


EMPIRE Turf® is an improved medium-bladed zoysia grass perfect for the Hawaiian climate as an alternative to El Toro and Myer zoysia, having less disease issues and a greater resistance to some problematic insects.  EMPIRE Turf is known as “The Proven Zoysia Grass®” on the mainland and has been in Hawaii for several years.  EMPIRE adapts to a wide range of soils and climates, is a drought tough turfgrass that grows particularly well in the soils of Hawaii. EMPIRE Turf is easy to mow and tolerates a wide range of mowing heights, as it can be mowed as low as ¼ inch and up to 2 inches

It is a standout performer for a wide variety of uses EMPIRE’s lush blue-green color and compact leaf growth make it visually appealing while its hardwearing nature gives it outstanding durability.  EMPIRE is the most viable medium-course zoysia for Hawaii. Southern Turf in Hawaii grows EMPIRE Turf.  For more information on visit,, or

Geo™ Zoysia

Geo Zoysia is an exciting fine-textured Zoysia that will soon be available in Hawaii.  A unique cross between a Zoysia Japonica and a Zoysia Tenuifolia, it offers an excellent alternative to emerald zoysia. Geo has a beautiful emerald color, fine texture, is extremely wear tolerant and has minimal thatch.  Geo is extremely shade tolerant, it performs well with only a few hours of direct sunlight. These unique characteristics make Geo Zoysia an excellent choice for use in Hawaii  from golf to homes, commercial applications and landscapes of distinction.   Geo Zoysia is grown by Southern Turf in Hawaii.  For more information visit or

JaMur® Certified Zoysia

JaMur Zoysia is the most drought tolerant zoysia available.  JaMur Zoysia produces a lush, dense turf and offers excellent recovery from traffic and wear. With its adaptability to full sun and moderate shade sites, JaMur is one of the most versatile turfgrass varieties available.  JaMur Zoysia is a medium textured grass, similar in look to El Toro grass, but it’s a lot easier to manage, needing less water and less fertilizer. Its attractive blue-green color is the ideal choice for high visibility and high traffic residential and commercial applications.  JaMur is considered by many to be the most versatile of all the warm-season turfgrass varieties.  If there were ever a single turfgrass cultivar that every homeowner, landscape professional, and sod producer should be considering, JaMur Zoysiagrass is the one.  Hawaiian Turfgrass is the exclusive JaMur Zoysia certified grower in Hawaii.  For more information visit or locally

L1F® Certified Zoysia

L1F Zoysia is extremely fine textured, ultra-exclusive, high-end, unique dwarf type Zoysiagrass unlike anything else commercially available.  L1F Zoysia is extremely shade tolerant and is a great option for Sporting Fields and Golf Courses as it requires lower inputs compared to Bermuda and SeaShore Paspalum. For sports fields and golf courses requiring a fine blade Dwarf Zoysia variety, L1F Certified Zoysia is a great option. L1F is coming soon to Hawaiian Turfgrass in Hawaii.  For more information visit or locally

Zeon® Certified Zoysia

A beautiful turfgrass, Zeon is a fine-bladed Zoysiagrass, it has a beautiful dark green color and soft leaf texture making it a true “barefoot lawn grass.” Zeon Zoysia’s extensive root system allows it to quickly recover from drought, it can handle full sun, and has excellent shade tolerance only requiring as little as 3 hours of direct sunlight. Compared to Emerald, Zeon has a faster rate of spread. Expect coverage from plugs on one foot centers in about twenty to twenty-four weeks which is considerably faster than Emerald’s normal growth rate. Zeon does not produce the heavy layer of thatch, which makes Zeon easier to care for and can be mowed with a standard rotary lawnmower.  If you are looking for a fine textured, dense turf with exceptional “eye appeal”, Zeon Zoysia is the grass for you. Hawaiian Turfgrass is the exclusive Zeon Zoysia certified grower in Hawaii.  For more information visit or locally


Pili Grass

Piligrass is a native grass and indigenous to Hawaii.  It’s use is mainly as a no-mow type ground cover. It is an erect perennial native bunch grass and is found on all major islands. It mainly grows in arid and sometimes rocky areas from sea level to over a thousand feet. Pili grass was once the main thatching material used by Polynesians for the construction of their homes. Under natural conditions in Hawaii, it grows between 1 to 3 feet in height., The long-awned seeds are sharp and pointed, forming tangled masses as they mature. This makes it very difficult to enter a mature stand of Pili grass. Pili grass is locally grown by Alii Turf Company. For more information visit


SeaDwarf® Seashore Paspalum

SeaDwarf  is the only true dwarf seashore paspalum. SeaDwarf® is suited for use on golf courses tee-to-green and on sportsfields such as soccer, baseball, softball and football. If you’re looking for the finest texture, fastest ball roll, lowest mowing heights and tightest knit in a Seashore Paspalum, you’ve found it with SeaDwarf. SeaDwarf is the premium Seashore Paspalum turfgrass. SeaDwarf is locally grown by Alii Turf Company. For more information visit

The variety of new turf grasses offers new choices with unique characteristics. So next time you’re considering a turf grass for a project consider all the choices available today and contact the local turf grass representatives to help point you towards the turf grass that will work the best for your clients.

Chris Dacus compiled this article written by national and local turf grass experts and suppliers. Chris Dacus is a landscape architect and arborist for the Hawaii Department of Transportation and the president of LICH.

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