Exceptional tree cut down on Keeaumoku Street - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Exceptional tree cut down on Keeaumoku Street

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The life of a 128 year old tree has come to an end and it's bound to have a lot of drivers on Keeaumoku Street asking what happened to the big tree?

If a tree falls in the forest who knows if it makes a sound. But if a tree falls in the city it doesn't need to make noise because there are plenty to talk on its behalf.

"It's really sad. It's one of my favorite trees in the whole city," said Kirk Elder, of Honolulu.

"It looked like a piece of art that is going to be really sad to not see anymore," said Rose Cordes, who works near the tree.

"I come by here 5 days a week and I always walk on this street because I love all the trees here. It's so refreshing and even if the light tells me I have to go across the street I always wait and come this way because of the trees so it means a lot to me," said Jan Barosh, who works near the tree.

The huge earpod tree was 128 years old and about 10 feet in diameter. The sprawling canopy hung over Keeaumoku Street.

The tree had been sick. Marti Townsend, The Outdoor Circle Executive Director, says there were efforts to rehabilitate it for years, but it was rotting from the inside out. Townsend says there was no way to justify risking public safety.

The State says two arborists deemed it a public hazard because of the internal decay. We were able to see some of the hollow branches when crews removed the huge pieces.

Not everyone who lives in the area is sad to see the tree go, some say it was haven for the homeless.

"With that tree there a lot of homeless actually use it as their little home place, hiding drugs, stuff like that," said Andrew Urness, who lives near the tree. "I'm actually glad they did it before it's too late."

There are more than 150 trees on the exceptional list in Hawaii. Some others are on the chopping block as well as they reach the end of their lifespan.

The Keeaumoku earpod tree, which was not indigenous to Hawaii, will be recycled. The mulch will be used at nurseries and the large pieces will be turned into furniture.

The other exceptional tree near it, which is a Kapok tree, will be left alone. It may even be healthier with more room to branch out. Although it's tough to see that silver lining when the earpod tree that touched the sky is no more.

"I'm going to miss the tree," said Elder.

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