Review Category : Landscape Hawaii Magazine

Mala Ua: A Hawaiian Rain Garden

At one time, rainfall percolated into our island aquifers or flowed relatively clean into nearby water bodies as part of the water cycle.  As our lands have become developed, the installation of impervious surfaces, which prevent runoff from infiltrating into the ground, has changed the way water interacts with the environment.  As a result, less water is reaching our aquifers and an increased amount of polluted storm water is reaching our streams and ocean. Following rain, storm water picks up pollutants such as fertilizers, trash, and sediment carrying these to storm drains which empty directly into our streams and near shore marine environments.  Hui o Koʻolaupoko (HOK) is working to address these issues by installing rain gardens and other low-impact retrofits throughout Ko’olaupoko. A rain garden is a shallow, flat-bottom garden bed designed to serve as a collection and treatment site for storm water runoff from rooftops, driveways, walkways, streets, or parking lots.  Through the process of infiltration and phytoremediation, rain gardens can remove pollutants from runoff before water recharges aquifers or... ...

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Native Plant Initiative

LICH LAUNCHES A COMPREHENSIVE 10 YEAR PLAN TO REVERSE DECLINE Formed in 2006, the LICH foundation has provided educational, professional development and advocacy for LICH and has been instrumental in the development of industry advancements. In just five years, the LICH Foundation has tackled three core sustainability initiatives; LICH Invasive Species List & Guidelines, LICH Irrigation Water Conservation and now the LICH Native Plant Initiative. The Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii Native Plant Initiative is an innovative 10 year strategy that seeks to reverse the decline of native plants by promoting the use of native plants in their original range of distribution and within 30 years to increase native plants in the built environment from less than 1% today to 30%. The LICH NPI strategy includes four core goals: ❖      Increase native plant selection and supply ❖      Foster environmental responsibility ❖      Create greater awareness ❖      Nurture future green stewards Each goal includes measurable objectives and desired outcomes. The four goals include a total of 69 objectives. The objectives include such... ...

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Irrigation System Check Up

As we head into the dry summer season, it is absolutely essential that a complete check of your or your clients irrigation system be among your top priorities. The worst thing you can do for your landscape is to wait until the last minute when you need the system operating to find you have problems. Scheduling a thorough inspection and run-through of irrigation systems in advance of when needed will save time, money and headaches associated with malfunctions. Recommended Irrigation Check List • Is the controller working properly? An unresponsive controller may be an indicator of damaged components or improper voltage required to perform successfully. If your controller should be operating at 120 volts, and a simple check if it’s operating at an over or under voltage condition which will cause harm to the controller. On larger systems, check the communications between the controller and the central control system computer to make sure everything is communicating properly. •Check each zone. Valve wiring are generally the first function of the controller system to... ...

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Mother Nature’s Recipe

The Forest Floor.  Decomposition.  Green, lush trees and plants.  The fallen leaves make the ground layer of the rainforest.  Although it is often a dark and humid place with almost constant shade, the forest floor is an important and vital part of the forest ecosystem. How does the concept of the forest floor relate to our landscaping and nursery practices, you ask?  Implementing the use of compost is much like that of the forest floor.  Compost supplies beneficial microorganisms to the soil, it supplies a variety of macro and micro nutrients, and it also supplies significant quantities of organic matter. In Hawaii, we are challenged with very over-farmed soils that are usually very low in organic matter, making them hard packed, low in nutrients, and hard to use.  Plants need food; and most chemical fertilizers are not able to supply complete plant nutrition…that is why the use of compost is much like the theory of the forest floor. Composting is derived through a natural biological process that accelerates the breakdown... ...

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Report Card: Invasive Species Initiative

It’s been seven years since the industry was first introduced to the University of Hawaii Weed Risk Assessment, a tool for predicting the potential invasiveness of plants. In the beginning, the green industry struggled with the weed risk assessment, but a lot has changed since 2004. In 2006, the landscape industry started an initiative to determine which potentially invasive plants have greater risk than benefit. The initiative included broad outreach with numerous meetings on all islands including the Hawaii Island Landscape Association, Kauai Landscape Industry Council, Maui Association of Landscape Professionals, Oahu Nursery Growers Association, The Outdoor Circle, Hawaii Society of Urban Forestry, Aloha Arborist Association, Hawaii Landscape & Irrigation Contractors and the American Society of Landscape Architects. After three years of meetings and lengthy discussion, the industry came together and agreed that of the 168 plants listed as potentially invasive, that 80% would not be utilized. The Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii Invasive Species Guidelines and Invasive Plant List became on effective May 1, 2009. The list and the... ...

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Developing Wilt Resistant Koa

In Hawaii, koa (Acacia koa) is a valuable tree species economically, ecologically, and culturally.  Koa’s natural distribution ranged from lowland to montane areas and dry to wet forests.  As Hawaii’s largest native tree, it provides habitat for many native birds, insects and plants, some of which are endangered and is also the primary nitrogen fixing species in native forest ecosystems. Koa is Hawaii’s premier timber tree and is used to produce furniture, musical instruments, bowls, surfboards, and craft wood items.  Koa has deep cultural significance to the native Hawaiians and was the focal point of many traditional ceremonies.  The resurgence of interest in Hawaiian voyaging and racing canoes using traditional methods has led to a greater public awareness of the scarcity of trees suitable for “canoe koa” and the importance of renewing this depleted resource. With major land use change and declines in sugarcane, pineapple, and cattle production, there is an opportunity and keen interest in utilizing native koa in reforestation and restoration efforts. However, moderate to high mortality rates... ...

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Lyon’s Lasting Legacy – Full of Pride & Dedication

It’s like a green oasis on an increasingly urban island, a mecca of serene beauty and fruitful research over the last century. It was a place that was near and dear to Dr. Harold L. Lyon’s heart and is still held in great regard by many green industry professionals today. We are, of course, talking about Foster Botanical Garden in downtown Honolulu. “Without him, there would be no Foster Garden,” asserted Lyon’s friend and colleague Paul Weissich. “That was the first link in the chain of Hawai‘i’s botanic garden system.” Today, that system, through Weissich’s work as its longtime director, encompasses four additional sites on O‘ahu — Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden, Koko Crater Botanical Garden, Liliʻuokalani Botanical Garden and Wahiawa Botanical Garden, each in its own unique climate. Those, in turn, influenced the highly regarded National Tropical Botanical Garden on Maui, Weissich said. Weissich, of course, acknowledges the impact of that other place named after Lyon, nestled in Mānoa Valley, too. The Lyon Arboretum still shines as a bastion of tropical... ...

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Proclamation: Governor Proclaims July LICH Irrigation Conservation Month

At our October 2009 LICH conference, at the Blaisdell, while still LICH President, I called for a new committee to see what could be done to improve water conservation, especially in landscape uses, for Hawaii.  Several dedicated committee members stepped up, including Alan Schildknecht, of Irrigation Consultants, Mel Villoria of HISCO, Lanky Morrill of DLNR, Cat Sawai of BWS, and Neal Fujii of the State Water Commission. We met every month and discussed what could be done.  I was especially interested in finding ways to encourage the use of simple but effective sensors and new timers that automatically adjust watering cycles to local weather conditions.  Others who came and participated in the discussions included Richard Quinn of Helber, Hastert & Fee, and Matt Flach, the landscape architect for Pearl Harbor, ands at the 2010 conference, Elson Gushiken of Irrigation Technology Corporation.  We participated in the County of Maui’s development of new landscape codes.  We provided text for a possible Hawaii legislative resolution in 2010.  After Chris Dacus came on board,... ...

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