Hoʻolāʻau Community Tree Planting Project is an initiative that aims to add more beautiful trees to our streets, with help from you!
Right now, most street trees on Oʻahu are under the care of the City & County of Honolulu’s Division of Urban Forestry. Our City Urban Foresters work hard to make sure our existing trees are taken care of while planting new keiki trees when and where they can. Because Oʻahu is losing a significant amount of our urban tree canopy, a main goal our island is to plant more trees!
In fact, Honolulu has pledged to plant 100,000 trees by 2025! (Res 18-005)
This a huge goal! So how are we going to do it?
It might seem like the answer is to just got out and plant thousands of trees around the city, but our City Urban Foresters are actually limited with the number of trees they are able to plant. This is not because we don’t have enough trees- we have the trees – and its not because there is not space for the trees – we have the space!
In fact, 64% of the city’s land area could be modified to accommodate tree canopy! That is 7,924 acres of urban space where we could be planting trees.
So why can’t we put the trees in the ground? Well, just like with children, the first 3 years of a young tree’s life are the most important! Unfortunately, young street trees are particularly vulnerable to mistreatment and vandalization and the City can’t always be there to make sure all their young trees are protected and cared for. Many of these newly planted keiki trees do not survive!
Hoʻolāʻau Community Tree Planting Project proposes to involve the community by allowing neighbors and business owners to adopt a young tree near them to help ensure they survive their young years!
Young trees require more frequent watering and care to help them establish deep, healthy root systems. This is something residents can do much easier than City Urban Foresters, and residents can give street trees near them much more attentive care, which increases survival rate significantly.
Hoʻolāʻau Community Tree Planting Project is already working with the City & County of Honolulu’s Division of Urban Forestry in two pilot areas on the windward side! Our Citizen Forester volunteers have identified 437 empty spaces that are potential planting sites in Olomana and Maunawili residential areas that need trees.
We invited residents in both areas to adopt a street tree near their home (at zero cost to them) and we currently have several dozen Hoʻolāʻau keiki trees in the ground! The young trees will receive care from a dedicate neighbor/tree parent for the first 3 years with the support from us.
After the trees younger years, our City Urban Foresters step back in to provide long term care and maintenance for the entirety of the trees’ life. Adoptees do not need to prune, they do not need hire any service providers – all we ask is for them to love and water the trees of tomorrow.
Have your area assessed for nearby planting sites (free of charge)
Help us choose your new tree species (free of charge)
Your young tree will be delivered to the planting site near you (~$150 value)
Your tree will be planted by trained professionals, and you will be trained on easy next steps (free of charge)
Just add water! (only ~6 cents of water per month)
The City will pick up care for the rest of its life – with help from you in its early years (free of charge)
Just add water & we take care of the rest!
Are you interested in growing street trees with your community through this program? Though program is in the pilot stage and we are only accepting participants from residents of Olomana and Maunawili at this time.
If you are interested in branching into your area in the future, we would love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like most Hawaiian words, Hoʻolāʻau has many important meanings. The name was suggested because of the variety of important ideas that come from Hoʻolāʻau:
- to gather in trees. For instance, birds gather in trees & forests
- the idea of trees bringing people together
- to form mature wood, implying longevity and care of our trees
Mahalo Alex Puanani Connelly for consultation on the naming of this initiative. Alex serves as the E Alu Pū network coordinator for Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻAuamo and is Kaulunani’s Council President.