Blooming On Kauai

The 3 Most Damaging Commercial Landscape Pests On Kauai

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Kauai’s tropical climate draws visitors from all over the world who travel to experience the Garden Isle’s beauty. Unfortunately, Kauai also attracts unwelcome guests: landscape pests that can cause costly damage unless they are identified early and managed with diligence.

Knowing about these insects is half the battle. That’s why at No Ka Oi, we strongly believe in educating our team and clients to help them understand how to spot these landscape pests, and what treatment measures can be implemented to keep their plants and turf healthy.

We also keep an eye on landscape pests that are a problem on neighboring islands, such as Oahu, so we can be prepared in case the pest “travels” to Kauai.

Landscape pests can be introduced through ornamental plants, shipping cargo, agricultural trade and even well meaning travelers who don’t realize they’re carrying an extra “passenger” along with them. And, these pests can have a real, negative economic impact on agriculture and tourism.

Here’s what you need to know about four damaging commercial landscape pests we’re targeting on Kauai.

Snowbirds: 5 Landscaping Essentials For A Winter Home On Kauai

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The fragrant flowers, year-round green grass and characteristic coconut palms on Kauai landscapes provide that true tropical escape for snowbirds who enjoy their home-away-from-homes during winter— seeking refuge when the weather at their full-time home is cold and snowy.

For property owners who invest in second homes on Kauai, now is the time to soak in some Hawaiian bliss. The last thing you want is to arrive and find your property in lackluster condition.

But it happens, every year. We get phone calls from property owners who need some “rescue landscape maintenance” on their vacation properties because they were not properly maintained.

On Kauai, there are no breaks from landscape maintenance; our growing season is year-round.  

Now while you are on the island is the perfect time to assess your property, identify any potential problems, and enlist in a reputable landscape maintenance provider who you can trust to care for your grounds while you are gone. That way, when you travel to Kauai to stay for the winter months, your landscape will be in tip-top shape.

Here are five landscape maintenance essentials for your winter home on Kauai.

4 Ways To Keep Down The Cost Of Pest Control On Kauai

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Pests are part of Kauai life, and their life cycle is never interrupted because of the 365 days of warm weather we enjoy on the island. That’s good news for tourists, but bad news for property owners who recognize that pests can quickly destroy their landscapes if constant monitoring is not in place.

To make matters more complex, there are always new pests “landing” on the island—they come by boat, plane, foot and strong winds.

We’re always alerting our landscape crews of new pests that have been spotted on surrounding islands so they can keep an eye out on the commercial properties we service.

All of this means pest management on Kauai is a constant effort. It’s not a summer job—it’s a year-round concern, and prepared commercial property owners will ensure that the landscape firms they employ include a high level of pest monitoring and control measures in the contract.

How To Prevent Bougainvillea Looper Caterpillar Damage On Kauai

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If you spot scalloped leaves on your bougainvillea plants—foliage that looks daintily munched on—then the culprit is a small but mighty hungry caterpillar known as the bougainvillea looper. The green or brown caterpillar is an inch long (earning it the nickname “inchworm”) and blends in with bougainvillea branches and stems, making it a tough pest to spot.

It doesn’t help that this looper likes to feed at night, so you won’t catch it feeding on leaves when landscape crews are generally on your property maintaining or treating plants. It’s like waking up in the morning and finding out that a hungry caterpillar had a midnight snack—your plants!

Bougainvillea looper caterpillars were first reported on Oahu in 1993, and since have spread to Maui, the Big Island, Kauai and likely Molokai. If you’re a commercial property owner in Kauai, you should know how to identify the looper, what its damage looks like and how to control it before their appetites take over and you’re left with naked (as in, no foliage) bougainvillea.

Protect the bougainvilleas on your Kauai commercial property. Here’s what you need to know to prevent bougainvillea looper caterpillar damage.

5 Common Poisonous Plants in Hawaii

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Looks can be deceiving. What appears to be green and lush can actually be poisonous. We’re talking about plants in Hawaii. Even those that look exotic—they practically lure you in—can actually be harmful even with a single touch.

Just as weeds crop up in unexpected places, poisonous plants can also take root on commercial properties that are not carefully maintained. This becomes a safety issue for visitors, staff and passersby on your property.

Kauai’s Top 3 Plant Disease Threats: Spot Them & Stop Them

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There are countless reasons to follow the gardener’s golden rule: right plant, right place. Plants that are placed in an environment with the proper soil profile, sun exposure and rainfall will thrive beautifully with minimal extra “inputs” like fertilizer and other control products. And, this landscaping mantra extends to controlling threatening diseases.

When positioned in the right place, plants have every opportunity to grow strong on their own. When we force a flower, tree, shrub or grass to grow in conditions that are not ideal for its type, that’s when Mother Nature reminds us who’s really in charge. In fact, the three top disease threats in Kauai can be prevented by simply making smart planting choices.

Little Fire Ant: Kauai’s Biggest Summer Pest Threat

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Imagine one of Kauai’s luxury resorts or retail plazas roping off the property with yellow tape because of tiny unwanted guests that have invaded the property.

“Do not enter: Little fire ant infestation.”

The possibility of this, alone, is a nightmare—and it’s a fight that our neighboring commercial property owners on the Big Island have been waging for some time. The fact is, contained little fire ant infestations have been identified on Kauai, and we want to keep those incidents contained, or eliminate the pest from the Garden Isle completely.

Little fire ants aren't just a nuisance on a commercial property — their continued presence and potential infestation could spell disaster for Kauai's lifestyle: tourism, agriculture and the economy. The best insurance against red ants is to prevent them entirely.