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150-year-old banyan tree inspires hope as it thrives after Maui fires

After taking a few root samples following the fire, arborists found that "a lot of new roots" were also sprouting.
150-year-old banyan tree inspires hope as it thrives after Maui fires
Posted at 2:18 PM, Sep 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-21 15:18:28-04

Weeks after being scorched during the Maui wildfires last month, a 150-year-old banyan tree in Lahaina is displaying signs of life.

According to Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, the tree has several new leaves sprouting.

In a Facebook post, the department noted, "Arborists, volunteering their time and expertise to saving the 150-year-old tree, indicate these are positive signs for its long-term recovery," and shared a video of the tree.

After taking a few root samples following the fire, landscape contractor Chris Imonti said "a lot of new roots" were also sprouting, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a press release

“We tested the moisture, and arborist Steve Nims, who is the unofficial leader of the Banyan Tree Hui, has analyzed all the treatments," said Imonti. "With the compost tea, we are seeing good results, and as long as we give it enough love, I think it’s going to be fine.”

Nims also found that there was live tissue in the tree's cambium under the bark and no burnt soil below.

Arborist Timothy Griffith told the Honolulu Star Advertiser that he saw at least a "dozen new shoots" ranging from 6 feet to 20 feet high in the tree.

Initially standing at a mere 8 feet in 1873 when planted, the tree has now soared to over 60 feet, providing shade over two-thirds of an acre, and now the new buds are seen as a symbol of hope for regrowth after the fire claimed thousands of homes, businesses, and over 100 lives.

SEE MORE: Residents slowly return to Lahaina for next phase in rebuilding effort


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