Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources posted a video to Instagram showing fresh leaves sprouting from blackened branches, a moment of positive news amid the ongoing recovery in Lahaina. A devastating blaze swept through the town last month, killing at least 97 people and all but obliterating entire blocks of homes and businesses.
“Groups of leaves are spreading on the Lahaina Banyan Tree,” the agency wrote on social media. “Arborists, volunteering their time and expertise to saving the 150-year-old tree, indicate these are positive signs for its long-term recovery.”
The tree is 150 years old. It was planted in 1873, and over the years, residents have tended to its growth, hanging jars of water on some aerial roots to help it spread symmetrically. It now stands more than 60 feet tall with 46 major trunks and serves as a local gathering place, according to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.
The foundation says it is the largest banyan tree in the country.
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources said landscapers have been providing “tender loving care” to help nurture the tree back to health after the fires, at times watering the tree every few hours. Hawaii Magazine added that some volunteers have administered “tree-loving soup” to help it heal.
In an aerial view, the 150-year-old Banyan tree is seen scorched on Aug. 11 in Lahaina, Hawaii.
“With the compost tea we are seeing good results and as long as we give it enough love, I think it’s going to be fine,” Chris Imonti, a landscape contractor tending to the banyan, told the magazine. “I’ve been here for years and years so, like many others, I have a personal attachment to the tree.”
“To me, it’s a symbol of hope,” he added. “We’re taking it to heart to try to bring back the tree, to give some hope to Lahaina.”