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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, July 21, 2001

City to rid park of diseased ironwoods

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser City Hall Writer

City parks officials plan to remove 32 diseased ironwood trees from Kapi'olani Park.

Some of the trees, which line the Kapi'olani Park Carriage Path and Kalakaua Avenue, will be replaced. The majestic ironwoods, although not native to Hawai'i, are monitored annually as part of the city's exceptional trees program.

Many of the park's ironwoods have become damaged or diseased from neglect, said Michelle Matson of the Kapi'olani Park Advisory Council. "It is lack of knowledge of good maintenance and healthy tree care," she said.

Matson said the need to remove the historic trees because of disease should serve as a lesson for city officials to take their duties more seriously to care for the park.

"I'm concerned that this has to happen at all," Matson said. "I think now replacing the trees they are taking responsibility, but it's costing a lot of money."

City Councilman Steve Holmes said the removal of the trees comes as "no surprise" because they were identified as diseased. "If we don't act, the branches or the trees themselves topple over and people get injured," Holmes said. If the city doesn't take them out and someone gets hurt, the city also runs the risk of being sued, he said.

City Beautification Administrator Stan Oka is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Monday with representatives of the Outdoor Circle, the Kapi'olani Park Preservation Society and the state Office of Historic Preservation. Each of the groups has expressed concerns about the ironwood trees.