State quarantines Big Island ohia trees due to fungus

State quarantines Big Island ohia trees due to fungus

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - The state Board of Agriculture is banning shipments of ohia trees from leaving the Big Island in hopes of curbing the spread of a deadly fungus.

West Hawaii Today reports that beginning in 12 days, there will be a one year quarantine of ohia plants, leaves, seeds, untreated wood, mulch and other products. Beginning in January, the movement of soil off the island will also be restricted.

Ohia plants in East Hawaii forests have been suffering wilt. The fungus causes a yellowing and browning of leaves, followed by sudden die-off of more than half of the trees it infects.

Ohia wood products will still be shipped off the island with a permit. State agriculture inspectors are being trained to spot signs of wilt in wood products.

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