BIISC Plans North Hilo Albizia Control
Invasive albizia tree control is slated to begin along the Mamalahoa Highway from Papaikou to Honoka’a.
The Big Island Invasive Species Committee announcemed Tuesday that the work will begin during the middle of the month and will follow efforts by Hawai’i Electric Light and Hawai’i Department of Transportation arborists who removed trees that were threatening power lines and roads in the area.
Work on albizia control in the area is expected through the end of February.
“The goal is to create a buffer zone in and around the highway easement to prevent albizia from seeding and spreading into the area where large trees were just removed or cut back,” explained Bill Buckley, BIISC’s Albizia Program Coordinator.
Removal of the trees will follow a method developed by University of Hawai’i researcher James Leary. Crews will make an incision in the bark and a small EPA reduced-risk herbicide called Milestone will be injected.
“Depending on the size of the tree, we can use as little as half a milliliter, or several milliliters for very large albizia,” said Buckley.
Albizia is known in Hawai’i for its rapid growth and weak wood, which can easily fall and crush structures, causing property damage, car accidents, and road blockages.
Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014 brought heavy wind that caused the trees to fall onto power lines, leaving many individuals in the Puna district without power for days and weeks.
The state, county council, United States Forest Service, and private grants provide funding for the BIISC albizia program.
Residents are also invited to attend training workshops on how to treat trees in and around their communities. Those interested can attend the next workshop on Saturday, Jan. 16 in Hawaiian Paradise Park.
In addition, a community volunteer day has been set for Feb. 20 near Lava Tree State Monument.
To learn more about the planned control work or community workshops, e-mail [email protected].