According to CNN on September 24 (local time), new green shoots of a 150-year-old banyan tree bring a lot of hope to the people here.
Located on the famous Front Street of Lahaina City, Maui Island (Hawaii), this banyan tree was planted in 1873 and is the largest tree in the Americas, reaching more than 18 meters tall with a very wide canopy and dozens of side branches.
Lahaina people often gather under the banyan tree whenever there are ceremonies, events and even marriage proposals. It is also a “magnet” that attracts tourists to Lahaina.
Mr. Chris Iamonti, a local tree expert, said the banyan tree has been a symbol of Lahaina for more than a century, and seeing the leaves grow means a lot to the people here.
“People see it as a sign of hope, a sign of a new beginning,” Imonti said.
Imonti worked with Hawaii State Arborist Steve Nimz and a group of volunteers to help preserve the banyan tree.
He said, “I can say that about 75% of the trees are now seeing new growth and we are very happy. The northeastern corner of the tree is the most affected by the fire so we are still keeping a close eye on it. “
According to Imonti, the wildfire caused the soil to become extremely hot, which changed its ability to hold water. Tree staff and volunteers poured around 19,000 liters of water every day to revive the roots of the trees. They also use worm tea (a liquid organic fertilizer) to help water penetrate the parched soil.
In addition to this ancient banyan tree, volunteers are also caring for several other historic trees in Lahaina. One of them is the Kumu ‘Ulu tree, which Ku, the Hawaiian god of agriculture and fishing, is said to have turned to in order to feed his family during a famine (the fruit of this tree is rich in nutrients).
Meanwhile, people are returning to the ruins of their homes to rebuild their lives.
“The city will have to be rebuilt and it will take many years,” Iamonti told CNN. “We need time to heal and hopefully this tree will come back to life and we can start moving in a positive direction.”
In early August 2023, a series of wildfires erupted in the US state of Hawaii, primarily on the island of Maui. The fire forced more than half of Lahaina’s 13,000 residents to evacuate, causing widespread damage and killing at least 110 people.
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