Hazardous trees being removed on Oahu and Big Island - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hazardous trees being removed on Oahu and Big Island

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

More than 30 trees fell on the Pali Highway over Presidents Day weekend. Crews are still cleaning them up and a big problem in a non-native tree.

Albizia trees like this one are the fastest growing trees in the world. In just nine years they can grow to 100 feet tall, but that also means they're weak and it doesn't take much to knock them down.

"Our crews were up there working from 3:00 in the morning to 11:00 at night," said Caroline Sluyter, State Department of Transportation.

Then next week they'll move over to the H3 freeway where a lot of trees have fallen. Some are still lying on the shoulder. Others damaged fences.

"It's a lot of the trees that have the shallow root system so they grow too big, the rains come and they just can't stand up," said Sluyter.

Even with a thick trunk the trees snapped like twigs, yet are still taller than light poles.

"It's definitely a safety issue," said Sluyter.

The state has also identified potentially hazardous trees hanging over the highways and will cut them down.

"Of course the trees can topple down and block highways, land on homes, land on power lines," said Springer Kaye, Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) Manager.

This week crews will also remove the albizia trees along Upper Puna Road on the Big Island. This after trees there have damaged homes and blocked roads.

The non-native trees were introduced a century ago at a time when the forest management priority was just getting vegetation back on the mountain.

"It was a time when our watershed had been completely devastated by feral goats and feral cattle," said Kaye.

Now our knowledge has grown too and albizia trees are getting taken down before they fall down.

From the Pali Highway crews will work on the H3 Freeway then the Likelike Highway.

Copyright 2014 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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