Watch the love for your lawn grow
Think of the most inviting lawn imaginable — luxuriously soft and green, the sort of lawn you’d let a baby roll around on. Is such a thing achievable in Hawaii?
Absolutely, said Sean Aukanaii Fong, owner of Hawaiian Turfgrass.
“We have full sun all year round, so we should have the nicest lawns in the world here,” Fong observed. “It all boils down to maintenance — and choosing the right grass.”
With degrees from the University of Hawaii in Hawaiian studies and tropical plant and soil science, Fong has an abiding passion for preserving our unique island landscape — and the knowledge to help make that happen. He began working with sod production while at UH, and registered Hawaiian Turfgrass as a formal business in 2008.
The company that began with 6,000 square feet of leased land now owns a 67-acre sod farm in Mililani, and specializes in turf-grass and sprinkler installation.
Fong understands the challenges of cultivating a soft, lush green lawn in Hawaii. As the exclusive licensed producer of several proprietary varieties of turfgrass, he’s eager to educate homeowners.
“My challenge is letting them know what we have,” he said.
Grasses, Fong explained, are categorized as requiring weekly mowing, twice-a-month mowing, and once-a-month mowing, for lowest maintenance. Aesthetic preference and budget are important considerations, he acknowledged.
“But really it’s all about how many times you’re gonna go out there and mow every month,” he said.
Most homeowners are familiar with paspalam grass (salt-tolerant, cheap, and popularly used on golf courses) and El Toro (drought-tolerant and resistant to disease). Hawaiian Turfgrass sells El Toro Zoysia and is the exclusive Hawaii distributor for SeaStar Seashore Paspalam, but a newer grass called Zeon Zoysia is rapidly gaining in popularity.
This is with good reason, according to Fong.
“El Toro and older varieties of Zoysia were poky and hard to maintain. But Zeon is soft, green, and barefoot-friendly; it’s salt, drought and shade-tolerant; and needs mowing about twice a month. I’m amazed at how beautiful this grass is!” Fong shared.
Thanks to Zeon’s low water use and minimal fertilizer requirements, the International Olympic Committee used it for the sustainable golf course built for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Tiger Woods featured Zeon at his Bluejack National course in Texas. As the state’s exclusive distributor for this very special grass, Hawaiian Turfgrass is offering a 25-percent discount on Zeon Zosia through the end of May.
ADDRESS 94-840 Lanikuhana Ave., Mililani (by appointment only)