About the author  ⁄ Cheryl Dacus

Many industries offer consumers a variation on the Better Homes & Gardens Seal of Approval, a J.D. Power rating, or some type of third-party verification that what they’re buying is the real deal. In the turf industry, our method is Certification. Here in Hawaii, grasses are certified by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Why is this important? The hinge-pin to Certification is determining the genetic purity of production fields of a given turfgrass variety. Let’s look at El Toro Zoysia, for example, a long-time standard for lawn grass in Hawaii. Just a few years ago, the Patent for El Toro expired. Once a variety’s Patent expires there is no way to enforce Certification requirements, thus any producer anywhere and at any time can expand production from any source, to any field, without the source field or the expansion field having to be inspected for off-type grasses and/or mutants within the population. Without Certification, there ceases to be any oversight as to the quality and purity of the grass that is... ...

Read More →

The Hawaii Dept of Agriculture, Commodities Branch of the Quality Assurance Division is the official designated agency of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) to certify vegetative propagated turf grasses such as Bermudas, Centipede, Zoysia, St. Augustine and Seashore Paspalum.  The life of the stand for classes of foundation registered or certified turf grasses will continue as long as the varietal and mechanical purity for the class is maintained. Why certify turf grasses?   To assure buyers that they are getting the variety of turf grasses that is of genetic purity. It is usually a requirement by the licensing agency for turf grass varieties to be certified.  Varieties that are certified are usually Mainland certified or registered sod sprigs. The following are procedures for the applicant to get the turf grass to be certified.  The applicant will submit to the certifying agency (Hawaii Dept of Agriculture): the name and address of the applicant requesting for the service, the name of breeder of the variety, the variety name, the origin... ...

Read More →

Since Riviera Bermuda grass was released in 2001 it has taken the turf industry by storm. Riviera has now been planted on all but one of the seven continents and let’s be realistic, grass is not an option in the Antarctica. Riviera has been use extensively on golf courses, home lawns, roadsides, and almost every venue of sports. Initially recognized for its exceptional winter hardiness for a Bermuda grass variety in more Northern climates, Riviera has proven itself in other climates. Riviera has excelled in a vast array of turf applications in United States, China, Australia, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, and the Mediterranean, just to name a few. Riviera Bermuda has superior density, texture, color and early spring green-up make it a winner among turf professionals. And don’t let Riviera’s natural beauty be an indication for the lack of toughness. Riviera gets its share of plays on Sundays in the NFL and its share of hits on weekdays in the Major League. Wear tolerance is not an option for these... ...

Read More →

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... ...

Read More →

There are two general kinds of turf grasses available. They are called Cool Season and Warm Season for obvious reasons. Only the Warm Season grasses can be used in Hawaii. Cool Season species like Kentucky bluegrass, fescue and rye will not survive the hot summers in Hawaii even though the seed is sold here as shade grass. The Warm Season species are Bermudagrass, Paspalum (Seashore and some newer varieties), Zoysia (several varieties), Centipede and St Augustine. Bermuda grass was once the most popular choice for home lawns in Hawaii. The traditional common Bermuda grass was widely used until the late 1960s when the first hybrid, Sunturf Bermuda, was introduced. Decades later other Bermuda hybrids became more popular. Common Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) can be grown from seed. There are many new improved seeded selections that are of much higher density and better color than the original type used several decades ago. However these seeded selections do not yet compete with the hybrids for top quality. The main advantage with these... ...

Read More →

In the past decade, we’ve seen and heard a lot of new “Buzzwords” in the landscape industry.  Words such as LEED, sustainability, low-impact, urban sprawl, being Green, and many more have become commonplace. Another “buzzword” which has been around for a while, but has never really discussed much in Hawaii is “Drought Management Plan”. Ancient Hawaiian’s had drought management plans, which date back hundreds of years. These laws that governed water usage were known as the Kanawai or “laws of water” and were enforced by a strict Kapu.  Damaging an irrigation system or harming a water source was punishable by death in cases.  Water conservation was the preeminent law of the land and was very successful in supporting Hawaii’s population. Officially, The State of Hawaii implemented the development of their initial modern day “Hawaii Drought Plan” in 2000 and this was updated in 2005, but has really never been implemented on a statewide level.    Prior to then, drought was addressed as a temporary emergency and actions that were taken in... ...

Read More →

The Monkeypod, is a popular landscape tree in Hawaii.  It grows in many other tropical areas of the world, although it‘s native range is the northern region of South America and Central America south of El Salvador.  The Monkeypod is recognized for its umbrella-like canopy and leaflet closure which allows sunlight and rain to filter down to its roots so that the grass grows right up to its massive trunk.  Because of the tree’s dominant place in the landscape, it becomes readily apparent if this giant is under siege and looses its foliage.  Unfortunately, since the 1970’s, this is what occurs nearly every year somewhere in Hawaii’s landscape when the Monkeypod defoliators strike. The triad of defoliators which attack the Monkeypod tree are the Monkeypod-kiawe caterpillar (Melipotis indomita (Walker)), the black witch caterpillar (Ascalapha odorata (L.)) and the caterpillar of the Monkeypod moth (Polydesma umbricola Boisduval).  Of the three, the most severe pest of Monkeypod is the Monkeypod-kiawe caterpillar which usually makes up more than 98% of the larvae collected... ...

Read More →

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” – Winston Churchill The legislative session opened January 16th and LICH is tracking and testifying on 11 legislative bills that could benefit or harm our island environment and the landscape industry. The bills propose changes to the laws for nuisance trees, leaf blowers, landscape architect’s license, graywater usage, permeable paving and irrigation water conservation. As an expert on these issues, legislators want to hear from you on these important issues. If not you, then who? It’s up to each of us to be engaged and take time during the legislative session too weigh in on these issues. LICH is testifying on the legislative bills below. By the time you receive this magazine these bills may have changed or died. LICH supports the following bills: GRAY WATER – Senate Bill 454 Encourages the department of health and the counties to promote widespread use of gray water in the interests of water conservation. Clarifies that guidelines for the use of gray water... ...

Read More →