About the author  ⁄ Cheryl Dacus

We’re going to have a quick sesh (session) and debrief here before we jump into the real article. So, who rushed out and searched Puku’i & Handy’s Hawaiian Dictionary or  wehewehe.org to understand the notion of “Mahina La’au”?  No worries.  We’ll do it together.  Let’s see what WE can conjure up in terms of a broad image and nomenclature  (image not so much definition) for Mahina La’au.  (btw: la’au is spelled with a macron over the first “a”).  Go to wehewehe.org as we step through this. mahi – to cultivate; a farm; a farmer; plantation patch; Cf. mahi’ai, mahina, mahiku (hint: always good to look up the Cf.’s) mahina -moon, month, moonlight; 2. crescent shaped fishhook; 3. eye of the snail at the end of its horn; 4. farm, plantation, patch; 5. variety of onion similar to silver onion; 6. a variety of sweet potato (you see, I didn’t know this one!) la’au – tree, plant, timber, wood, stick, pole, rod, splinter, thicket, club, blow of a club, strength, rigidness,... ...

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HAPPY NEW YEAR READERS!!  Are you off to a good start?  Let’s all commit to becoming more knowledgeable about what we do and how we can do it better.  I’m ready to help in any way that I can, so if you have questions, feel free to ask.  For this issue, let’s start with everyone’s favorite topic, when is a warranty not a warranty? The story I am about to tell is true.  Earlier this year I was making a sales call to an experienced, professional landscaper.  He had purchased a chain saw one month earlier, and I asked him how the saw was working.  It is here that the story begins.  After purchasing the saw, he explained that they brought it back to their shop, took it out of the box, and put fuel in it.  They went to start the saw; it started but would die when they tried to “rev” it up.  They tried several times and the same thing happened; no high rpms.  They took it... ...

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Opened in 1949, Leilehua Golf Course has always been considered one of the finest military golf courses worldwide, and a favorite to the local Hawaiian golfing community. So one might ask, “If Leilehua is such a great golf course, why was it recently renovated?”  The answer is a simple. Although the golf course layout was solid, Leilehua had been showing its age for many years and it was evident that it was time for a change.  The large trees had overtaken the fairways, bunkers were holding water, putting surfaces were slow and uninteresting and more tee space was needed. So, in 2010 a professional design/ build team was hired to work with the Army and Leilehua personnel to refurbish the golf course and bring it up to high quality, modern-day standards.  The team comprised of Stellar, golf course architect Mark Miller and DHR Construction, was given a “wish list” and a budget.  Although the task seemed daunting, the team’s main focus from the start was to deliver the entire wish... ...

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How long do you run your controller for? It’s amazing how often I walk up to an irrigation controller and look at how long each station is scheduled to operate.  Regretfully, it’s more of the norm to see spray heads set to water 15, 20, even 30 minutes every day, applying up to an inch of water, when they only need to run 6 or 7 minutes per day. So how long should you run your systems:  Today, most spray-type sprinklers apply 1.5” to 2” of water per hour?  The average evaporative losses on Oahu are about 0.18” so on an average day, in theory you need to irrigate less than 7 minutes per day to replenish the full ET.  However, not all plants need full ET and not all areas will be the same. A protected shady area of your property may only have losses of 0.12” or less while a dry, windy area that exposed to full sun will be higher.  Each plant type has a different crop... ...

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While we’re all aware of a number of recognized economic indicators, probably the most conspicuous for the Kona side of the Big Island is the number of private aircraft now parking at our airport. What this means to us in the landscape industry is not just the arrival of a well-heeled clientele, but even more importantly the basis upon which to confirm a vital message to our elected officials. These visitors and part time residents will not accept a second class setting to invest either their time or money on, and they will go elsewhere in the future if we do not provide for their expectations. It is critical that the landscape industry build on this message and convey its significance to those who are elected to determine the future of these islands. If there is one certainty we need to remember about legislative activity it’s that elected officials almost always give their attention to issues they believe affect or concern the majority of their constituents.  This often involves perspective... ...

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At the University of Hawaii in Manoa, we operate a fungal disease laboratory and confirm the pathogenicity of new fungi on local plants.  Healthy disease free plants are needed for these tests and plants are propagated by employing clean seeds or cuttings.  These healthy plants are required to test the infectivity of new fungi, to document early symptoms and to record disease progress. For ohia or Metrosideros polymorpha, we commonly use seeds for propagation.  However, it takes many years to produce a plant ready for pathogenicity testing, as well as for retail or for out planting for commercial operations.  Alternatively, by using vegetative cuttings, propagation is faster and clones can be made from valuable plants.  The following describes basic procedures used to propagate ohia from cuttings. Gathering cuttings:  When going into the field to obtain cuttings of ohia plants, it is important to keep the cuttings hydrated and vigorous.  Thus bring a bucket of water to place the cut ends of the cuttings in it.  If specific trees are selected,... ...

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Proper mowing height is important in maintaining the health and overall appearance of turf grasses. Each kind of turf grass has its own recommended range of upper and lower mowing height. Mowing near the lower end of the range in some species can be beneficial by causing an increase in the growth of the stolons and rhizomes, resulting in increased turf density.  However, mowing too low will reduce the amount of leaf area which will decrease photosynthesis. This will decrease the root mass resulting in a reduced tolerance to foot traffic and to heat and water stress, resulting in a brown lawn. Mowing near the lower end of the recommended range is tolerated better during the summer months in Hawaii when our warm season grasses are at their highest growth rate. Home lawns should not be cut lower than ½ inch, very low mowing at ¼  inch or below should be restricted to golf greens and tee boxes, where turf species adapted to low mowing and special professional care and... ...

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It used to be that the Hawaiian ecosystems with the highest diversity of plant species were moist and wet forests.  Today, the highest plant diversity can be found in our yards and botanical gardens, and the number of plant species introduced to Hawaii grows each year.  Although the vast majority of Earth’s 250,000+ plant species would not be invasive if imported and grown in our islands, a small percentage would be superweeds that alter the ecosystem or natural resources.  Plants are not checked for their potential to become invasive when they are imported, and our noxious seed and weed rules regulate less than 100 species of plants, most of which are already present in Hawai‘i. Now, there is a new website that can help everyone make informed plant choices.  Plant Pono (www.plantpono.org) provides planting information on non-invasive ornamental plants (pono plants), to help you select the right plant for your yard.  These pono plants were selected by noted horticulturist Heidi Bornhorst, and were screened by the Hawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment... ...

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