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This blog chronicles my journey through the Hawaii County Master Gardener program and beyond...


>> Monday, August 09, 2010

Yesterday, I removed a medium sized stand of beach naupaka about 60 feet from the ocean sea cliffs.  What a chore!  Some might ask why remove it?  Three reasons:

  1. The local mongoose like to use it to hide out in.  Not sure I want to give them shelter.
  2. It began to intrude on areas where it was unwanted (the neighborer's yard)
  3. A root fungus is turning it yellow and eventually it will die.  Not a pretty picture!
naupakaScaevola sericea is a native Hawaiian plant common to the shoreline and low mountains. The brilliant green foliage is quite beautiful next the contrasting black lava rock which makes up much of the shoreline on Hawaii Island.  

There is an interesting Hawaiian folktale explaining why the white flower is only a "half" flower (pedals missing).  Check out the story at Aloha-Hawaii

Unfortunately, even this beautiful native can fall victim to disease!  A soil born fungus will slowly wipe out that which once was healthy and beautiful! We first saw it in my neighbor's yard.  He thought someone had sprayed his naupaka with Roundup!  However, soils containing the fungus, Verticillium dahlia, effects the root system of many plants by blocking the uptake of water from the roots to the foliage.  And our neighbor did import soils from the Hamakua coast to establish turf grass. The turf grass butts right up against an establish naupka bed. I suspect this is where the problem started.  And it seems to be spreading!!!  Although the process it slow, it isn't pretty!!!
You can see the yellow leaves and die back on the left!


Darren August 9, 2010 at 12:23 PM  

Very Interesting. I would think that having mongooses (Mongeese..LOL) around would be a good thing. Do you not have trouble with snakes?
Such a shame that your neighbor (it sounds like) basically killed the plant. It is rather pretty.

Susan August 9, 2010 at 5:00 PM  

The good news - there are no snakes in Hawaii! The bad news - the mongoose were brought in to take care of the rat problem. However, rats are nocturnal unlike the mongoose!!!

Anonymous August 20, 2010 at 9:17 AM  

Aloha Susan,

Any way to amend the soil with good compost, frequently, and abundantly, to overwhelm the fungus and give the naupaka a chance? Maybe some organisms in good compost can fight the fungus...

I have a beach naupaka (growing in clay soil - go figure) that's been doing well for 7-8 years without much care... I'll keep an eye on it from now on!


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