Between 30 and 40 new chutes have appeared on the tree in recent weeks, according to Duane Sparkman, Chairman of the Maui County Arborist Committee
A historic tree in Lahaina is showing signs of life weeks after it was scorched during the Maui wildfires in August.
On Sept. 13, a video from Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources showed the 150-year-old Banyan tree has several new buds. Arborists “indicate these are positive signs for its long-term recovery,” according to the department's post on Facebook.
Experts believe “two large” monkeypod trees helped protect the Banyan, Duane Sparkman, Chairman of the Maui County Arborist Committee, told ABC affiliate KITV.
“It brought the heat way up high and it pushed the fire over the top of the Banyan tree,” Sparkman explained to KITV, noting that even the benches and light posts underneath the tree went untouched. Now, between 30 and 40 “new chutes” have appeared on the tree in recent weeks, he said.
Alfalfa was used to help revive the tree’s leaf system, and special monitors were placed on tree limbs to determine where water is moving within, per the report. Oxygen was also added to the soil.
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“It worked,” Sparkman said. “We’ve got life on the tree."
The Banyan tree was planted on April 24, 1873, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the town's first Protestant mission, according to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. It is now over 60 feet tall, and it has become the focal point of Lahaina’s courthouse square.
Though most of the tree is in good shape, about 10% of the Banyan may need to be removed following the blaze, Sparkman told KITV.
Annelise Cochran, a Maui resident who helped neighbors escape the fires, previously told PEOPLE that the tree represents how she feels.
"Our branches are very badly burned, and it's going to take a really, really long time until everything feels normal," she said. "But the roots are so strong here."
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