Maui ranch uses koa trees to fight invasive plant species

Updated: Jul. 31, 2018 at 5:33 AM HST
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WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - A Maui ranch has planted thousands of acacia koa trees to help stave off the spread of an invasive plant species.

The Maui News reports the Haleakala Ranch has planted nearly 15,000 koa trees in the past three year to impede the growth of the thorny gorse shrub.

Jordan Jokiel, the ranch's vice president of land management, says the European plant was introduced to Hawaii in the late 1800s and has flourished, creating impenetrable thickets that harm native plant growth.

He says gorse has covered more than 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of the ranch's mountain side pastures. The ranch aims to use the trees to shade the gorse, hindering the shrub's growth.

The ranch plans to continue planting the trees in small amounts each year.

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