Kailua Landscape Tips

Kailua Landscaping Tips
by Dorothy Mulkern

It’s all about Soil Prep for landscaping in Kailua. Soil prep is a combination of cultivating the soil, bringing in compost and adding the right fertilizers before ever installing new plantings. There is no substitute for adequate preparation and this dramatically impacts how quickly new plantings grow, and how healthy they are. Remember, never layer soil or compost on top without extensively mixing together. This will create a solid mass of soil that traps moisture in the upper layer and contributes to watering issues and disease problems like fungus.

Choosing the Right Plant for the Right Place. Native, non-native, organic or whatever plants you choose make sure the variety is right for your area. Are you in an area with full sun, or right on the beach with lots of salty winds? Make sure you communicate this to your landscaper or nursery specialist who is helping choose your plants. One great way to figure out which plants grow well near your home is to look around your neighborhood. What plants do your neighbors have that are healthy? Do you like any of them? Think about incorporating them into your landscape.

Click here to check out the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture’s (CTAHR) article about Salt Resistant plants for ideas on varieties for your location.

Understand Your Watering Needs.  Sandy soil has great drainage and water percolates quickly through all the soil’s pores.  This means Kailua homeowners should water shorter durations at more frequent intervals.  Some of our Kailua customers water daily but only for 5-minute intervals.  Consult a landscaping professional to develop a watering plan but remember seasonal adjustments are necessary.  Consider adding a moisture sensor to your sprinkler system that automatically stops watering when irrigation needs have been met.

The Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii (LICH) has a great article about sprinkler systems and conservation, check out their article by clicking here.

Investing in Slow Release Fertilizer.  Start a quarterly program with slow release fertilizer.  Because of the type of soil Kailua and Lanikai properties have, fertilizers that release all at once won’t be effective.  If you don’t buy slow release, fertilizer will diffuse into the soil all at once and quickly filter to our groundwater and oceans.  Slow release fertilizers solve that problem by releasing a little fertilizer at a time that your plants can absorb.

Throwing an Annual Compost Party.  Unfortunately, the compost you prepped your soil with gets used up.  Apply compost to your plants annually or biannually for the happiest plants on the block.  Compost has important micronutrients not found in fertilizers and gives good extra kick to your landscape’s immune system.  Compost also helps the soil retain moisture and usually reduces watering needs.

For DIYers check out Hawaiian Earth Products by clicking here.  Homeowners can buy compost and soil blends in bulk for reduced prices and there are multiple locations on Oahu and throughout the state.

Talk to People! Make sure to talk to your landscaper about his soil prep SOP and maintenance plan specifically for your yard. Landscaping contractors in Kailua should have a specific plan that takes into account your geography. And don’t forget to talk to your neighbors!  What are they doing that works?  What’s their maintenance plan?  Have they had problems with one plant or another?

Good luck Kailua DIY landscapers!  Don’t forget to have fun!