August 25th Social Gathering

On August 25th there was a social gathering sponsored by the HILA board for members and interested people in the landscape industry
The event was held at sunset at the Kalemano interpretive center in historic Ka’upulehu with live music featuring local artist Stephen Cline.
HILA members and guests learned about the history of the area and culturally significant plants that were used by the people in older times.
This event provided a good opportunity for members of HILA to meet the board and share mana’o.
Thank you for those who took time to come out and support this event! We encourage all to join our organization if you have an interest or work in the landscape industry of Hawaii Island.
A hui hou!

HILA President Letter August 2022

Hawaii Island Landscape Association 

PO Box 1594 Kailua-Kona HI 96745 

Phone: (808) 322-4884  

August 24rd, 2022

Aloha HILA Green Industry Members!

The Hawaii Island Landscape Association (HILA) would like to invite you as part of the green industry ohana to join us again in this new year by renewing your annual membership and involving yourself with our numerous training platforms. Your annual membership with HILA will provide the support needed to continue to develop new and exciting opportunities locally and further creating resources we offer to help each of you grow as a professional in the industry.

HILA has pushed every step of the way to push to continue to provide education and training during the COVID pandemic. Last year HILA was able to have (2) hands-on training courses which consisted of Principles of Horticulture & Botany and Equipment Operations & Maintenance and also supported webinars offered thru the Landscape Industry Counsel of Hawaii, Aloha Arborist association and other associations regionally or nationally. The board continued in developing the NEW Tropical Landscape Certificate TLC) program which is another alternative to the prior offered Landscape Industry Certified Technician (LICT) program. This program is being created to educate and provide a certificate showing competence in Hawaii’s green industry. Although the National Association of Landscape Professionals continues to offer an online test for the LICT, board members from HILA and other islands determined that a 12-week educational series with a hands-on test is important to provide our green industry’s entry level and mid-level staff training and validation of horticultural practices.

Since the start of 2022, HILA’s board has been working in developing this curriculum with not just professionals on Hawai’i Island but also professionals from all the major islands’ landscape associations such as Landscape Industry Counsel of Hawaii, Kauai Island Landscape Counsel and Maui Association of Landscape Professionals. Collectively this committee of professionals is working as the Continuing Education Training & Development Committee. The training is called “Tropical Landscape Certificate (TLC)” program and will be offered on each island upon completion. Stay tuned for further developments as we intend on releasing this training in the summer to fall of 2023.

Since the start of 2022, HILA has also been busy continuing to offer the Hands-On Training program which provides hands-on experience on varying topics that help each of us learn our trade better.  HILA’s hands-on course series consists of the following topics in an average 4 hours course that is influenced heavily to provide hands-on interaction with the course’s instructor(s) and the attendees. The course outline is available on our website at and enrollment information can be found here.

We have already had one successful course which was on Chainsaw Maintenance which took a detailed look on how to maintain chainsaws properly and had record attendence. HILA is anticipating three more hands-on courses for this year and early next year focused on fundamentals and the changing environment of the green industry on battery operated tools, water conservation and sustainable planning.

These courses along online webinars, the NALP Boot Camp program and other association’s training programs are offered to provide professionals the opportunity to receive Continuing Education Units (also known as “CEUs”).

HILA is very excited to announce that we’ll be hosting our postponed annual conference this year on October 28th, 2022 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. We plan on hosting a great single-track conference with many reputable speakers including guest speaker Matthew Ritter who will be guiding us on a journey about identifying native/endemic flora and fauna. The conference will also allow each of our members to network during the morning trade show with local sponsors and over lunch while enjoying good food with friends. The goal, although ambitious, is we hope to have our green industry members join us to exceed our last conference’s attendance of 140 attendees! Please note the annual conference will be worth CEUs for LICT certificates and ISA Arborist CEUs are pending request. Please review HILA’s website for confirmation of which courses for the pending CEUs. Our conference is open to green industry professionals, property managers, association managers, private homeowners and plant enthusiasts so please join us on this special day! The following day on Saturday, October 29th HILA will be holding a nursery walk where we will visit three nurseries and see how local nursery operations grow the beautiful flora and fauna professionals install and maintain. Come on down and join us! Enroll at

HILA again offered our annual scholarship awards which we provide to local students every year. We are pleased to announce we awarded (2) $1,000.00 scholarships to Cyrus Ching from Kealakehe High School and Matthew Labasan from Waiakea High School. Congratulations to both of you, this was well earned! For our members, please share this scholarship opportunity with any new up and coming green industry applicants who are graduating high school next year or currently enrolled college for the next upcoming year. This scholarship is available for any individuals studying environmental studies such as tropical horticulture or botany, landscape architecture or other environment-related field. Please visit for more information.

As a friendly reminder, HILA’s membership period has now changed as of 2020 from following the calendar year starting January 1st and ending December 31st to now being based upon your enrollment date (ie, you become a member on May 20th then your membership will need to be renewed on May 19th of the following year). Enrollment is easier than ever and HILA’s website helps keep track and sends membership reminders so you don’t have to worry about remembering. Its fast and its easy! Please visit and click on the “Join Online” or you may download your membership form and mail it in to our mailing address.

With that, I would like to extend a big mahalo to each of you and we at HILA look forward to having you more involved, seeing each of you more at our training opportunities and having your support as we continue to grow!

Mahalo nui loa,

Christian Renz 

HILA President

2022 Landscape Continuing Education Hands-On Training Program

On June 18th, 2022, at 8:30 am to 11:30 am, at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Mauna Kea Beach Drive, Kohala Coast, Instructor and HILA Board member Tony Savarese, taught 22 landscape technicians, four who were Certified Arborists, do a complete hands-on maintenance service on a chainsaw provided at the class. Some brought their own chainsaws!  With tools and practice chainsaws provided by the instructor. Topics included a hands-on maintenance demonstration; common chainsaw failures and how to avoid them; matching chainsaw chains; chainsaw sharpening tools; and a buying guide for understanding specs and features when purchasing a new saw. Included were other machines; string trimmers, 21” mowers, hedge trimmers and Blowers.  CEUs were given to Certified Arborists, and LIC Technicians. Work gloves and fresh bottled water were provided for each person, and students were encouraged to bring pen and paper for taking notes, sunscreen, and hats.

Extension Agents Ty McDonald, Hannah Lutgen took part in the class.  and UH Extension Agent Russell Gallanti, attended the class and took photos and videos. Larry Borgatti, County LICT Chair, came all the way from Kuai to watch the class. Larry will be getting a Class together on Kauai in the near future.  A round of applause was given for Tony Savarese who provided a great class. Everyone attending came away with lots to learn and information to take back to their jobs. See you next time for Class!

Equipment Operation and Maintenance

Back in the Saddle Again …. Again

HILA re-convenes new Continuing Education classes

Last fall, I reported on the attempted deployment of the Hawaii Island Landscape Association’s and University of Hawaii Kona Cooperative Extension’s new continuing education series of face-to-face workshops, despite the disruptions and uncertainty caused by you-know-what.

As it turned out, after successfully completing two of the four workshops we decided to postpone the remaining events until 2021 – with the expectation (glass half full) that the “situation” would improve significantly by then. So, here we are already, well into 2021 with a reboot of the series of four hands-on classes underway.

With restrictions for outdoor gatherings recently relaxed somewhat, we set a limit of 24 attendees – a significant increase from the 10-person limit required at our last workshop held in 2020. Of course, now-standard six-feet physical distancing and face coverings are required by all participants.

We conducted the first workshop, Equipment Operation and Maintenance, on a glorious Saturday morning in early April at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s luau grounds and North Pointe lawn area fronting the South Kohala coastline.

The two lead instructors and collaborators for this class were Tony Savarese from All Tool Kona and Clifford Vianzos from Golden Eagle Distributing. These gentlemen, along with Gary Ramos (Mauna Kea Resort) and Ken Sugai (Keauhou Nursery) provided instruction on proper equipment fluid mixing and storage, as well as safe operation and maintenance practices for a wide variety of landscape equipment, including both gas-powered and commercial-grade battery operated.

Stations were set up for weedeater, lawn mower, blower, and hedge trimmer, as well as turf aerator and verticutter. With an emphasis on hands-on learning, all participants had an opportunity to operate each piece of equipment. Interactive discussions included topics such as buying tips, common equipment failures, and examples of poorly maintained power equipment.

This new HILA workforce development program is geared toward both entry level technicians as well as providing opportunities to earn recertification CEUs for existing certified landscape professionals .

The second workshop, Basic Botany and Horticultural Principles, is scheduled for Saturday morning, June 4 at the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort. Following the classroom portion, resort Landscape Director, Erin Lee, will lead the attendees through the resort’s ornamental plant gardens for a hands-on show-and-tell to demonstrate best horticultural practices in tropical landscapes. Online registration is available at

Irrigation Hydraulics, Design and Troubleshooting (date to be determined) will be instructed again by Lynnett Tohara, from Diamond Sprinkler and Farm Supply. Topics include hydraulics and design; water pressure and elevation changes, elements of an irrigation plan, point of connection, backflow prevention devices, mainline/ laterals, valve types, flow rates, friction loss, precipitation rates, selection of sprinkler heads and spacing.

The final class of this series, Proper Pruning Techniques, instructed by Diana Duff will be held at a later date this year. All classes are about three hours and approved for 3.0 CEU by NALP. For more information about the classes and to register online visit or contact me at

Ty McDonald, Kona Cooperative Extension, UH-Manoa.