Maui News

More ROD Cases Reported on Kauaʻi

August 30, 2019, 9:00 PM HST
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The Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death fungal disease, which has killed about a million trees since 2014, has been reported in two more locations on Kauaʻi. 

Six trees in the Līhuʻe-Kōloa Forest reserve tested positive for Ceratocystis lukuohia, the more virulent of the two fungal pathogens that cause ROD. Five of them were in the Kalāheo-Lāwai section and one was found in the Wailua section of the forest reserve.

A team of scientists first detected the strain in Anahola just last year. A total of 22 trees in three separate locations across Kaua‘i have now tested positive for the fungus. 

According to Department of Land and Natural Resources representatives, the fungus can be moved around in the mud and spread through vehicles, boots, and clothes. 

Even though the fungus was first detected a year ago, genetic testing suggests it may have been present on the island for several decades. 

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Since there is no known cure for the disease, experts encourage the following practices:  

  • Avoid injuring ʻōhiʻa by pruning, making contact with heavy equipment, or cutting new trails in ʻōhiʻa forests and stepping on their roots. 
  • Clean gear and tools, including shoes and clothes, before and after entering the forest and areas where ʻōhiʻa may be present. Brush all soil off tools and gear, then spray with 70 percent rubbing alcohol. 
  • Clean all soil off of your vehicle and tires with a high pressure hose or washer if youʻve been off-roading or picked up mud from driving. 
  • Don’t move ʻōhiʻa wood or ʻōhiʻa parts, including adjacent soil. The disease can be spread to new areas by moving plants, plant parts, and wood from infected areas to non-infected areas. 
  • If you see ʻōhiʻa with a limb or crown turning brown, take a picture and send it to the Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee via email ([email protected]) or phone (808-821-1490) and describe exactly where you saw the tree.
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Boot brushes have been installed at numerous trailheads around the island. 

KISC is also giving away bio-sanitation kits, while supplies last. Anyone interested in getting a kit should email [email protected] or call 808-821-1490

For more information, click here.

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