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Eucalyptus struggling to stay alive

Turning silver as it sheds both leaves and limbs, a large grove of eucalyptus trees looks to be in dire straits along Crater Road last month. The fast-growing species introduced from Australia and known for its towering heights and hard, oil-rich wood once-thought impervious to insects has been experiencing die-offs across swaths of Maui, including Olinda, where the county has had to remove numerous trees from roadsides. In 2017, a motorist barely escaped major injury when a 70-foot eucalyptus tree fell across the hood of his truck during a storm. Researchers say insects, such as the eucalyptus tortoise beetle and eucalyptus snout weevil, are likely to blame for the die-offs.

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo