‘Preventative maintenance is the best,’ Hawaiian Electric system arborist discusses storm preparation

Resources for Severe Weather

Workers cut up fallen albizia trees after Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014. A new law allows people to protect their property by following certain steps to remove the introduced, invasive tree from adjacent, vacant property.

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaiian Electric vegetation management crews provided advice on what people can do regarding tree maintenance before and after hurricanes — especially those who have albizia trees.

Are you ready for hurricane season, find local resources and preparation advice here.

Desiree Page, Hawaiian Electric system arborist, noted that people should familiarize themselves with what albizia trees look like, even more so when they’re small.

“It grows so fast, about 12 to up to 20 feet a year that it doesn’t have time to put on its reaction wood or for the wood to compress,” said Page. “So you get these really long branches that grow in size really, really quickly on weak wood, on weak attachments.”

Page recommended people to get rid of these trees and pull them out by the root. She said that the longer these albizia trees are planted, the chances of failure and damage increases.

Additionally, according to Page, the best course of action is preventative maintenance because that can be done all year-round.

“Keep your trees free of dead wood. Keep your trees free of structural defects,” said Page. “If there’s debris on the ground, try to get that cleaned up or secured down if you can, garden tools, and just make sure there’s nothing that can become a projectile.”

Although there have been no storms during the last two months of the 2021 hurricane season that have posed a threat, Hawaiian Electric crews stay on alert. These crews work all year to inspect trees along power lines and look for potential issues that may occur in windy, stormy weather.

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