LIHUE — Work began Tuesday morning to remove diseased and termite infested Norfolk trees lining the Haleko Road entrance to the Kukui Grove Center.
Wade Lord, general manager for the Kukui Grove Center, said the shopping center conducts annual safety inspections around the property to ensure a safe shopping experience for its patrons.
During the last inspection, employees from No Ka Oi Landscape Services, the shopping center’s landscaping partner, noticed the Norfolk trees lining the Haleko Road entrance were in declining health, Lord said.
An arborist, who was brought in to fully assess the trees, said most have been damaged through termite infestation, while others have been disease-ridden for several years.
“While we love the pine trees that have been a part of the Kukui Grove Center scene since the mall’s inception, we were forced to come up with a plan to address the problem,” Lord said. “The result is our beloved Norfolk trees will be removed and replaced with a new beautiful landscaped entrance feature.”
The landscaping will involve more than 20 foxtail palm trees, orchids, spider lilies and a variety of other plants, Lord said.
“It has always been the goal of Kukui Grove Center to maintain and preserve the beautiful trees located throughout our property and we’re looking to local nurseries to source the new trees and plants,” Lord said.
Abby Santos, owner of No Ka Oi Landscape Services said the trees being removed will be recycled.
When the Kukui Grove Center was initially developed, each entrance to the mall was given a different specimen tree lining the roadway.
In the early 2000s, an infestation of the African gall wasps killed off the state’s wiliwili tree population and Kukui Grove losing 33 of them.
These losses were replaced with a variety of other specimen trees including the ko, crepe myrtle, pink tacoma, gold, monkeypod, and lowland koa trees.
Foxtail palms will replace the disease and termite-riddled trees during the summer, Lord said.
• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.