3 weeks after Lahaina wildfire, the town’s famed banyan tree shows hopeful signs of life
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Aug. 8, the wildfire that swept through historic Lahaina town scorched iconic landmarks, including the famed banyan tree. But three weeks later, the 150-year-old tree is beginning to show signs of hope — and life.
According to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, just days after the fire, volunteers organized for water tankers to douse the tree with hundreds of gallons of water every few hours.
Since then, Maui arborists, landscapers and volunteers have been coming together to care for the tree.
On Thursday, a landscape contractor said they’re seeing positive results through all of these efforts.
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“We did root samples last week and we had very good news as far as new life in the roots,” said landscape contractor Chris Imonti.
Imonti said in addition to watering the tree, arborists have been performing a process called aeriation, in which large holes are dug through the soil to help the tree get air, water and nutrients.
They’re also treating it with “compost tea” — a mix of natural ingredients being shot into the ground around the tree — as well as small blocks of alfalfa.
“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,” Imonti said.
The banyan tree has always been a special place for both residents and visitors alike, and has lately been viewed as a symbol of hope in the fire-ravaged town.
“We’re taking it to heart to try to bring back the tree, to give some hope to Lahaina. We don’t know what’s down the line, but I think it’s going to be a new beginning for everybody,” Imonti said.
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