Garden Guy: Bulldozing now can create albizia problem later

A building boom is gearing up in my neighborhood in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

A building boom is gearing up in my neighborhood in Hawaiian Paradise Park.


Property owners are clearing acre lots for houses. I see that while the state is replanting native forests, property owners are bull dozing native rain forests on their lots. It’s counter-productive because once the land is denuded, the owners have to pay thousands of dollars to haul in gravel, more gravel, soil, and fertilizer. Then the owners have to pay thousands, if not tens of thousands to plant trees, shrubs, etc. To see the revered ohia, palms and bamboo orchids plowed under is sad. Isn’t there some way we can urge new builders to leave the native forest by clearing only a driveway and house plot plus some land for a garden? Can our government, community activists, nurseries, farmers, Realtors and builders encourage owners to leave the native forest alone? I can’t stand seeing bare land in one-acre plots. And more to come! Thanks for your comments. — K.B., Hawaiian Paradise Park

Thank you for your letter. These are excellent points, and well taken, and as you’ve stated, preserving the forest can save new homeowners a substantial amount of money.

I will add one additional comment concerning the albizia issue. I stated in a previous column concerning albizia trees, which are a major problem, that people sometimes hire a bulldozer to clear their land. The native ohia/uluhe forest is cleared, which is somewhat resistant to the albizia invasion. If they are absentee landowners, they may not return for a few years, and when they do return, an albizia forest has sprung up. Albizia is much bigger and faster growing than ohia, so the native trees cannot compete. To complicate matters, there is now a source of seedpods for the alibizia to invade the neighbors’ land.

Dr. J.B. Friday, extension forester with the University of Hawaii, advises not to clear the native forest on your lot unless you have another use planned for it.

Otherwise, albizia will come in and take over and you’ll have a huge problem.

Obviously, education is the answer.


Hi Nick, thanks for the great article about the carpenter bees. It was quite enlightening to me. I never knew that they were properly known as Sonoran carpenter bees.

Anyway, I’d like to share something about the control of these carpenter bees. Attached is a photo of my carpenter bee trap. It’s just a piece of 4-by-4 lumber attached to a Mason jar. Use old, untreated 4-by-4 lumber — the bees seem to like it better because it’s the kind of wood they like to attack. The 4-by-4 block has 9/16 hole drilled into the face with another hole drilled up from the bottom intersecting it at a 90-degree angle. There is a matching hole in the jar lid and the block is screwed to the jar lid. The bees will go in the face hole and down into the jar were the clear jar will trap them. This trap is easy to make, cheap, non-toxic, and self-resetting, all you need to do is to clean out the dead bees once in a while (mine go into the compost pile).

I’ve got three of these traps around my house hung up high so the bees can see them and it’s been great in keeping the bees from drilling into my house lumber. — N.K.


Eat bananas every day! They help fight depression. They are high in iron.

Bananas can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Bananas are extremely high in potassium yet low in salt.


Bananas can also help people who try to give up smoking. It seems the B vitamins, along with potassium and magnesium found in bananas help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Read more about the tropical fruit on