Monday, June 2, 2008

Native Plants in Landscaping: How Much Does it Cost?

It is common for Hawaii's land use and planning commissions to require landowners to use native Hawaiian plant species for landscaping.

In, The green behind the greenery, today's Maui News reports that "State officials estimate it could cost nearly $1 million a year to maintain the native plant landscaping along the newly widened Mokulele Highway."

The article further reported that,

Bermuda grass, the common grass used along most state highways, is a perennial grass that can be grown by seed and also is commonly used on playing fields. The akiaki grass, or Sporobolus virginicus, is a native perennial grass. As a cost comparison . . . the akiaki grass along Mokulele costs about $57,700 per acre, while the traditional Bermuda grass costs could range from $21,900 to $35,500 an acre.
Most residential and commercial projects are not responsible for maintaining 6.5 miles of native grasses, shrubs and trees like with the Mokulele Highway project; however, at twice the cost of traditional landscaping species, a requirement that a landowner use specific species of plants for landscaping becomes a weighty factor.

Time will tell if the upfront acquisition and maintenance costs for native plants will be off-set by lower maintenance costs in the long run, as most advocates believe.

Bermuda Grass
Akiaki Grass

No comments: