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Albizia's falling limbs have Hilo resident up a tree

By Associated Press


Courtesy Russell RudermanNicknamed "junk trees," albizias can cost $2,000 to $10,000 to remove. An albizia tree on Hawaii island was toppled by wind during Tropical Storm Flossie.

HILO » A Hilo man has spent a year trying to do something about a fast-growing, invasive tree that looms over his home.

Daniel Grant-Johnson, 62, said he's worried the albizia tree, or its expansive branches, will topple on someone.

"Limbs are always falling when it storms or it's windy," he told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald for a story Monday. "Just a few months ago a limb fell and blocked the whole street. The county had to send guys out with chain saws to clear the road."

He added, "God forbid, someone could get really hurt."

Grant-Johnson said he has worked for about a year to contact the owner of the property to cut down the tree, but he's had virtually no luck in getting a response. Hawaii County has also gotten involved by filing a lawsuit in June against the property owners.

And a bill being considered would add unsafe flora to an ordinance governing responses to ref­use and undergrowth on unoccupied lots.

"There needs to be some way for lot owners to be accountable for dangerous trees on their property," said the bill's sponsor, County Councilman Zendo Kern.

The invasive species are among the fastest-growing trees in the world and can climb up to 60 feet, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Nicknamed "junk trees" in Hawaii, their huge branches can easily fall, experts say, and so can whole trees.

Contacting absent property owners has been difficult, said Deputy Corporation Counsel Michael Udo­vic.

"We've had some cases where the county has had to hire somebody just to sit on a piece of property and wait for someone to come by," he said.

According to the lawsuit, the county Department of Public Works hasn't heard from the defendant since January, after she was granted an extension to address the violation concerning the tree.

The Big Island Invasive Species Committee estimated it can cost $2,000 to $10,000 to remove an albizia tree.

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HealthyandHappy wrote:
The County should use eminent domain to condemn properties like the Grant-Johnson one, that way he wouldn't have to worry about these trees.
on August 13,2013 | 03:11AM
Kate53 wrote:
It's the neighbor's property that needs to be condemned, not the Grant-Johnson one. These trees are a nightmare and menace and should be banned.
on August 13,2013 | 03:53AM
Eradication wrote:
How do you ban an invasive? These trees are everywhere in Hilo and Puna. People do not grow them on purpose.
on August 13,2013 | 05:18PM
allie wrote:
on August 13,2013 | 10:18AM
f206 wrote:
"Albizia's falling limbs have Hilo resident up a tree," Really, is that the best you can do for a title?
on August 13,2013 | 07:31AM
Kuokoa wrote:
The very people who brought the invasive species here are now the ones complaining about removing them. Hah!
on August 13,2013 | 07:42AM
Slow wrote:
@Kukpa: Wrong. Please read the facts. "The Puna community has been waiting for some time for concrete action on the invasive tree, which was introduced to Hawaii in 1917 by Joseph Rock as an ornamental and for reforestation, according to the Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii." It wasn't Daniel Grant-Johnson, the big fat complainer like you thought. Or maybe you're right. Maybe he brought them in back in 1917.
on August 13,2013 | 08:21AM
Snator wrote:
No, i think what Kuokoa meant was 'them haoles'.
on August 13,2013 | 08:55AM
Eradication wrote:
Not really. Native people are complaining about these trees as well. There are many invasive species plants throughout Hawaii Island and the other neighbor islands that are detrimental to the overall environment. Hilo has many problems with invasive vegetation.
on August 13,2013 | 05:30PM
Slow wrote:
The trees are huge and dangerous. I suppose it is commendable that Zendo Kern's bill would compel land owners to clear dangerous trees. I live in Puna. The most dangerous streets are not owned by private interests. Can we sue the government like we'll be able to sue our neighbor?
on August 13,2013 | 08:25AM
iwanaknow wrote:
So..........if you rent and you hate your neighbor, plan a albizia before you move?
on August 13,2013 | 08:54AM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
That sounds like a premeditated mulcher to me.
on August 13,2013 | 11:44AM
Eradication wrote:
Solution...don't hate your neighbor.
on August 13,2013 | 05:20PM
s_manuwai wrote:
Falling braches from Albizia trees have already killed people on O'ahu. About 10 years ago, a women was driving on Likelike and a branch fell and hit her vehicle roof killing her. This wasn't an isolated incident.
on August 13,2013 | 01:51PM
Eradication wrote:
I remember a tree falling on a pregnant lady in a car on Pearl Harbor back in the 90's.
on August 13,2013 | 05:21PM
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