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Dig This
Friday, October 27, 2000

By Stephanie Kendrick

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
State forestry worker Joy Hosokawa points out a
yellow ma'o flower. Ma'o plants will be sold on
the state Arbor Day, Nov. 3, at the state Division
of Forestry's nursery in Makiki.

Foresters push
native plants

The next time you walk through a bamboo forest, pause and listen. You'll hear the wind in the trees and hollow sound of the trunks hitting one another. But you won't likely hear birds.

"There's nothing that can grow in there," said Karl Dalla Rosa, cooperative resource management forester for the State Department of Land and Natural Resources.

There's no biodiversity in a bamboo forest, he said, not even birds.

Many types of bamboo are among the list of invasive plants wreaking havoc on Hawaii's forests.

"They just take over whole hillsides," said Dalla Rosa, who added the clumping species of bamboo are not as much of a problem.

A week from today, DLNR's Division of Forestry and Wildlife will host it's 30th annual Arbor Day plant sale of shrubs and trees friendly to Hawaii's ecosystem.

"What we're trying to promote, this year especially, is natives or early Polynesian introductions."

The plants are grown in the Forestry Division's nursery in Makiki Valley.

The division is responsible for reforestation, among other duties. It grows plants for that purpose, as well as supplying community groups and others, said Earl Pawn, forestry manager.

As the forestry philosophy has shifted from low-maintenance ornamentals to reincorporating natives whenever possible, the nursery has shifted as well. But both natives and ornamentals are still propagated.

"There'll be a vast array of things," said Joy Hosokawa, an emergency hire who is running the nursery until a full-time replacement can be found. Plants for wet, dry and coastal climates will be available.

Offerings will include:

Bullet Ma'o, or Hawaiian cotton, a shrub with bright yellow flowers that thrives in dry coastal areas.

Bullet Naupaka, the king of all beach plants, which makes a good screening hedge for beachfront property.

Bullet Manila palm is mildly salt tolerant and produces clusters of bright red fruit just in time for holiday centerpieces.

Bullet Areca palm's clumping pattern makes it an ideal screen. The trees require good soil and ample watering.

Bullet 'A'ali'i, which can reach 24 feet or be pruned into a hedge and is wind, drought and salt tolerant. Its papery fruits are used in lei making.

Bullet Wiliwili is prized for its flowers, which drench the tree in colors ranging from white to orange to coral to red. It is well suited to very dry areas

Bullet 'Ohi'a 'Ai, or mountain apple, prefers Hawaii's moist valleys. It boasts abundant red flowers and delicious fruit.

Ornamentals for sale will include ti and ginger in myriad varieties.

Most of the seedlings for sale are 8 to 18 inches high. The plants will be sold at cost with ornamentals fetching $2 to $5, natives $3 to $7 and threatened or endangered plants $4 to $9.

And it's a good time to plant any new acquisitions.

The Forestry Department's Patrick Costales said Hawaii enacted its own Arbor Day because of our unique ecosystem.

The national holiday, on the fourth Friday in April, works for Mainland gardeners who want to plant after the last frost. But Hawaii gardeners want to plant now, in time for the rainy season.

Forestry would eventually like to have two sales, one in April and the other in November, said Hosokawa. But they need to hire a full-time nursery worker first.

Trees for sale

Bullet What: Arbor Day plant sale
Bullet Where: Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife baseyard, 2135 Makiki Heights Drive, behind the Hawaii Nature Center
Bullet When: Nov. 3, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Bullet Admission: Free
Bullet Call: 973-9785

Do It Electric!

Gardening Calendar in Do It Electric!

Stephanie Kendrick's gardening column runs Fridays in Today.
You can write her at the Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802
or email

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