“The grass is always greener over the septic tank” penned best selling author Erma Bombeck. Just for the record, if that is the case at your house, your septic system is malfunctioning! Lush green lawns are the desire of most homeowners but the tropical climate of Hawaii with drought and excessive rain (depending on where you live) make the fulfillment of that desire a little tricky. Don’t despair, the State of Hawaii and local extension offices have toiled for years to find what grasses work the best for your specific area. Although that may sound promising, there are many other factors when choosing the right grass for your personal needs. Is your yard heavily used for sports or in the hot full sun all day or is it mostly shaded? The experts have taken all these factors into consideration and have come up with solutions for your grass choice dilemma based on your criteria.
Bermuda grasses (of which, there are many) are the most commonly grown in Hawaii. They are fast growing and require full sun and can tolerate drought. They are quite aggressive growers and are the perfect choice for high traffic use, making them the most widely grown turf grass. Although, it will not tolerate full shade or even partial shade for long periods of time. It is the happiest and the best quality when thriving in full sun.
If you are looking for a shade grass, Zoysia is your best bet, of which there are dozens of varieties. The color of the leaves and the texture of the blades themselves are choices to consider. This grass will also keep out weeds when well established. The downsides are they form mounds that can be difficult to mow and are high water users.
Another shade tolerant grass is St. Augustine grass, although it does not tolerate drought well. It has a light green, coarse texture with wide blades, is low maintenance and easy to establish.
If you don’t have rich soil, you may consider Centipede grass. It is very low maintenance, but does not do well in heavy foot traffic or poorly drained soil, nor is it drought tolerant.
All things considered, most people opt between Bermuda and Zoysia grasses or a combination of the two in various areas in their yard. For example, grow Bermuda in areas of full sun and Zoysia grass in shady areas. Again, I will stress, there are many choices in both categories. When establishing a successful lawn, do your homework. If your current lawn is simply not working, you may have to tear it out (or have professionals do it) and start over. That may sound drastic and quite daunting (and it is!) but well worth the effort.
Let’s assume you have an established lawn to your liking. Just like anything else, to keep it nice, maintenance is involved. For optimum success, you should follow these rules: Irrigate an established lawn properly. Water to wet the soil at least 4 inches down. Push a shovel into the ground and tilt it forward after you have gently watered for 15-30 minutes. If the soil is still dry, keep watering. Irrigate slowly. Clay soils hold more moisture and dry out more slowly, requiring less frequent irrigation. On the other hand, sandy soils dry out very quickly and may need to be watered more frequently.
Feed your soil by leaving grass clippings on the lawn. They can provide most of the nutrients needed if the clippings are small enough to decompose quickly.
These are the suggestions to mow your lawn for the best results. Remove no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at one cutting, removing more is too stressful for the plant and increases pest and disease problems. Only mow when the grass is dry. Do not cut the grass too short. Cut Bermuda grass at 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches and cut Zoysia at 3/4 to 2 inches. Keep mower blades sharp and clean since dull blades wound the grass. Switch directions each time you mow so the grass does not get pressed down in the same direction every time.
Deal sensibly with weeds. You will have some weeds, decide how many you can tolerate. It is unrealistic to expect a weed-free lawn. Dig up weeds by hand and sprinkle grass seed on any bare spots so weeds can’t fill in. Water regularly. Use corn gluten meal to prevent certain broadleaf weeds from germinating.
For best results fertilize your lawn. Unless your soil texture is sandy, nutrient deficiencies are unlikely and you may not need to fertilize at all. Have your soil professionally tested.
Remember your grass clippings can provide most of the fertilizer. Use natural or slow-release fertilizers such a sulfur or polymer coated urea, which allow the grass to absorb nutrients more efficiently. The best times to fertilize Bermuda grass and Zoysia are April, May, September and October.
If you decide addressing your lawn issues is too time consuming and way too much work, professionals are at the ready to help. I am sure you are aware sod companies can come in, clear out your old grass and sod your entire lawn in a matter or days. They also offer contracts to maintain your well-groomed lawn at a reasonable price.
Many people have gardeners who come weekly or bi-weekly to maintain their lawns. If you choose to manicure and care for your lawn by yourself, keep these few tips in mind:
1. Choose the proper grass for your location.
2. Water properly. You can hand water or in this day and age, they offer sprinklers that are computer controlled, integrated, automated systems and the sprinklers do all the work! You just have to set up the program and place the sprinklers! Easy Peasy!
3. Mow to the right height, often.
4. Control the weeds and fertilize as needed.
Whether you hire professionals or tackle your own lawn, the goal is a lush green lawn so you can enjoy the surf and your turf!
LET’S EAT OUT!
My son Alex told me about Fook Yuen Seafood Restaurant twenty years ago. It has been a stable fixture of the McCully Shopping Center near Waikiki. His favorite was the sizzling beef platter. Honestly, I only tried it once so no comment. I really and repeatedly enjoy the tofu stuffed with small shrimp that is served with a slightly spicy sauce. It is crispy on the outside and soft almost soufflé like on the inside. Along with this dish I typically order fish maw soup with crab meat. I will add a few drops of red vinegar to increase the savoriness. You should definitely get their “Maine” lobster special for $14.99 per person if you order another ala carte dish even bok choy with garlic. I enjoy both the salt & pepper and ginger & green onion lobster preparations Make sure you have all the parts on the second lobster. Sometimes they may miss the body on the second lobster. Actually the east coast lobster are brought to Hawaii and stored in deep cold waters off the Kona coast. The lobsters are on display in a tank in front of the restaurant. Another dish with great umami is braised black mushroom with vegetables. Many locals and tourists love this restaurant so you should call for reservations or you may be disappointed. They are open for both lunch and dinner.
Open, 11AM–2PM, 5:30PM–3AM for lunch daily and Monday-Sunday for dinner
Recommend calling for reservations
1960 Kapiolani Blvd #200, Honolulu, HI 96826
Free parking in the McCully Shopping Center lot or underground parking structure.
WHAT HAPPENING THIS MONTH ON OAHU?
March 10th…Honolulu Rainbow Ekiden Run, which involves a 5K team relay of 3 or 5 runners. The course will follow scenic Diamond Head Road. To register, go to their website: flprereister.com.
March 30th…It is finally time to get your game on for the Hawaiian Rubber Duckie Race. There will be 20,000 rubber duckies cruising down the Ala Wai Canal. It should be good fun.
March 2nd… comedian Augie T will get you laughing with his “Last Stand”show at the Blaisdell Arena.
March 8th-10th…The Honolulu Festival which features a parade down Kalakaua Avenue, dance performances at Ala Moana center stage and educational and interactive activities at the convention center. For more information, check out their website: www.honolulufestival.com.
March 9th and 10th…The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra will perform the works of Brahms with Ran Dank on Piano.
March 16th… If you love dance, don’t miss the L.A. Dance Project at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.
March 16th-17th… the Vintage Collectible and Hawaiiana Show along with the Great Guns Show will be held at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. There you will see Hawaiian collectibles and memorabilia in addition to vintage firearms, knives and military collectibles.
March 22nd-24th…If you love orchids, don’t miss the Windward Orchid Society Show at the King Intermediate School on Kamehameha Hwy. in Kaneohe. There you will find beautiful orchids, many are available for purchase. There will also be prizes awarded for the best orchids in the show.
March 23rd and March 24th…the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra will perform Chopin and Schumann with Orli Shaham on Piano.
March 23rd…Thomas Rhett, a country singer and songwriter, performs at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.
March 29th-31st… The International Auto Show will be held at the Hawaii Convention Center. This is always a fun event with polished automobiles and lots of vendors for all your car care needs. For more information, check out their website: www.autoshowhawaii.com.
March 29th-31st… American Super Circus shows will be held the Blaisdell Arena. This is a one ring show with award winning performers from around the world. Check it out.
March 30th…Honolulu on Tap will be held at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall where you can sample craft beers from over 50 breweries. This will be a festive atmosphere with live music, yummy food and lots of beer! Get your tickets early.
March 30-31st… Enjoys the music from your favorite Disney films at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.
Cathy, Mary and Jeff