In The Field: Grass Routes Mowing Services Tackles Steep Hawaiian Hillsides

In the last of a three-part series of case studies, Grass Routes Mowing Services uses a remote-operated, gas-powered robotic mower to tame the tropical hills of Kauai.

Compiled by Turf Editors
From the April 2024 Issue
  • Landscape Company: Grass Routes Mowing Services
  • Location: Steep Hawaiian Hillsides
  • Goals: Safety, Cut Through Tough Grass
  • Solution: Remote-Operated Robotic Mower For Slopes & Brush (Gas-Powered)

Tyler Shields has been cutting his own path in the landscaping business since he was a scrappy middle-schooler in Philadelphia, PA. From this early beginning, Shields has been pushing and riding every mower make and model you can imagine. From the highly-manicured precision of country club work to the flexibility of parks and recreation cutting, Shields knows grass and grass cutters.

Today, as owner and operator of Grass Routes Mowing Services, Shields now works in the tropical hills on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. Here he cuts the hard-to-reach, difficult-to-deal-with terrain of the island’s property owners. How does he do it efficiently and effectively, not to mention safely?

With a remote-operated, gas-powered robotic mower. His cleverly-named business, “Grass Routes,” is actually a reference to his R-Series from RC Mowers machine which he claims can, “cut a route through anything.”

Grass Routes Mowing Services, RC Mowers
The R Series from RC Mowers is a remote-operated mower that allows Grass Routes Mowing to cut tough grass on tough slopes in Hawaii. (Photo: RC Mowers)


The “anything” of Kauai often refers to Guinea, which is also called White Buffalo Grass. This is highly invasive fibrous cattle grass can grow to seven feet high and up to half an inch in diameter. Fortunately, Shields’ remote-operated robotic mower can cut
material up to 1.5″ in diameter and climb up to a 50° incline on the wet Winter hills of paradise.

“In 25 minutes, this machine will clear a job that used to take me nine to 12 hours with a weed whacker. I dare you to write that because it sure sounds like B.S. But it’s true,” admitted Shields.

“In 25 minutes, this machine will clear a job that used to take me nine to 12 hours with a weed whacker. I dare you to write that because it sure sounds like B.S. But it’s true.”

— Tyler Shields, Grass Routes Mowing Services

Shields originally discovered RC Mowers at a demo. “This mower was built for this island,” he comments. “It replaced my big, unwieldy boom and tow cutters, transforming my business. I placed a couple of videos on Facebook Marketplace and the phone started ringing.”

Like Taylor and Joe at John Carroll University, Shields gets lots of interest when running his mower. “It’s a bad*** machine and people are always stopping me to ask about it,” he comments. And, at age 37, Shields also appreciates his mower for another reason. “It’s done my back wonders. I don’t spend the day banging on a mower or balancing on hills with string trimmer whizzing,” he comments. “I end the day full of energy and don’t go limping into my house.”

Start at the beginning: Focal Pointe deploys electric commercial mowers at Wash U

Do you have a comment? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, or send an e-mail to the Editor at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here