The title sounds a bit like a scientific experiment, but be assured, there were NO controls in this "experiment."
In March of 2018 when I spent time in my garden in Leilani Estates, all was well. The garden was looking decent even though I couldn't do a lot after dealing with a medical issue with my back. It rained a lot. It was green, it was beautiful, I planted palms, I had plans for more tweaks in the garden after being inspired during a visit to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.
Blink. Blink. April; news of hundreds of earthquakes shaking the Lower East Rift Zone -- also known as Leilani Estates, Kapoho, and a few more small subdivisions, plus acres of working agricultural lands -- and it becomes clear that Kilauea Volcano is in the throes of dramatic changes. Cracks in the earth appear; they grow wider, emitting copious amounts of steam. The afternoon of May 3, the residents of Leilani witness the beginning of the eruption. Stones flung high into the air, a roar of gas escaping the earth, and the shocking red lava is fountaining high in the air and flowing down the lines of steepest descent. Evacuation sirens blare, the police are going door to door. A nearly straight line of fissures open along the rift, one after another, and soon homes are being devoured by the lava pouring forth. Leilani Avenue is cut off. Our eyes and brains strain to process the events as they unfold. One fissure dominates the spectacle, pouring out an incomprehensible quantity of lava that forms a river of destruction like nothing seen on this island. The air, unbreathable; the sky, never dark. The roar, intimidating. The aerial photographs, stupendous!
All the while this spectacle is unfolding, the flora of Leilani is coping as best it can. For those plants downwind of the fissure, a hail of tephra and Pele's hair joins the gases to snuff out plant life. The plant life lucky enough to be upwind of the fissure, protected by the sheltering trade winds, suffers intermittently when the trades slack off. The eruption continues for more than 100 days, until finally the volcano sighs and... the flora are granted a "pause."
The assemblage of photos of one such lucky garden demonstrate the power of the earth's plumbing system to invade from the air. Most damage appears to be cosmetic and surmountable. Most palms will recover nicely. Many never noticed anything was happening. Some will struggle to survive. Some became crispy shells of their former glory.
Photos show pre-eruption and post-eruption comparisons.
Licuala peltata var sumawongii
Clinostigma samoense lawn with A. vestiaria
My garden is definitely worse for wear compared to a few weeks ago, but still mostly okay. The palms with the most notable damage are Wettinia and Mauritellia, and I can't really fathom what the common thread between those two palms is, or why they'd be more impacted. As far as dicot trees, Kigelia, ficus, and puakenikeni (Fagraea spp.) are the most damaged. I hope the Kigelia survives, it is completely defoliated. And as for other plants, many of the ginger and heliconia species seem most impacted, I'm guessing because of how thin the leaves are, although I could be totally off.
For those of you who have had to deal with sulfur issues before (Philippines, Indonesia, Central America, etc.), how long did it generally take for the plants to bounce back?
I didn't see any posts on the impacts of the volcano eruption and evacuation of Leilani Estates, and know that some folks who post are either in Leilani Estates or nearby. I was wondering how everyone is doing while hoping for the best? Volcanoes are sort of weather.
Don't we have some Palm talkers from the Leilani Estates area? Are you guys okay?
I wanted to ask for some advice on how to continue growing a monkeypod that I planted a couple years ago in our Leilani estates Property. We wanted to get some foundation plants going so that they would be larger once we "jump ship" and move over there/ build.
The concern for me with this monkeypod is that the central stem is growing really fast and bending over, and I fear that I will wind up with a tree that has very little actual trunk before it umbrellas out. Any thoughts on how I could continue on with this thing? You will see that I have it tied up with a rope about 5' up but of course it continues to grow up and bend over. I know Leilani's ideal climate is a contributor to its speedy growth. Perhaps I am trying too hard? I was thinking to tie it up a bit higher this visit...
Thankyou for the insight I know there is a wealth of knowledge here and perhaps some people could share their experience.
The main stem in the picture is probably 12' overall, mabe longer, if you were to make it vertical. Thanks