By Wendy Osher
Four Monkey Pod trees will be removed from a stretch of South Kihei Road because of hazardous conditions created by growing tree roots. The rising roots have uplifted the sidewalk fronting the Maui Schooner Resort and damaged a nearby parking lot as well.
An unspecified number of tripping incidents have also been reported to both the landowner and the County of Maui, which has jurisdiction over the right-of-way.
County Aboriculturist, David Sakoda said the trees were planted in an area too small for growth of Monkey Pod trees.
While he acknowledged the value of the urban and community forest along with the benefits that trees provide in keeping communities liveable, Sakoda said, “The County regrets that this design conflict has created a loss of our urban forest canopy.”
Removing tree roots near the sidewalk was ruled out as an option, because of the affect it would have on the anchoring of trees, and the subsequent risk of thier toppling during strong winds.
The county parks department will begin the 2-3 week tree removal process sometime this month. The area along 980 South Kihei Road will be re-planted with smaller replacement trees that will be further away and are not expected damage the sidewalk area.