Fallen Banyan tree was weakened by termite damage

Kalanianaole Hwy. on May 14, 2014

A Banyan tree that partially collapsed onto Kalanianaole Hwy. in Kaneohe last week was weakened by termite damage, state officials said Wednesday.

The tree fell at around 1 p.m. between Kamehameha Hwy. and Kapaa Quarry Rd. It initially blocked all but one lane of the highway and snarled rush hour traffic as workers spent hours cutting down and removing the debris.

After checking the area, crews discovered that three other banyan trees along the highway also had the same problem. So on Thursday, May 15, the state will do some pruning work and remove damaged branches to ensure the trees don’t fall and injure anyone driving on the highway.

The Outdoor Circle says it works with the state and city to make sure the proper steps are taken to care for the trees while keeping people safe.

“State and county officials have arborists on staff and other crews that keep an eye on our trees, make sure they’re well pruned, well-managed and to ensure the right tree is planted in the right place,” said Marti Townsend with The Outdoor Circle.

A heads up for drivers: one lane in the town-bound direction of the highway will be closed Thursday, from 7 a.m.-2 p.m., while crews do the work.

The city has its own arborist and says they don’t usually come across trees infested with termites. They learn of possible termite infestations from their crews and from the public.

If you know of a tree that seems a bit unstable to you or has an insect infestation problem,  call the city at 971-7151 or the state at 831-6714.

Two other trees previously fell onto roadways on Feb. 17 and March 17. Officials said those incidents were wind-related and the trees did not show signs of insect damage.

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