Rains leach nutrients from Hawaiian soils

The contrast between dark green coconut palms in the distance and the orangeish green of the palms in the foreground show symptoms of mineral deficiencies, mostly magnesium. (Voltaire Moise/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Although heavy periods of rainfall in some parts of our island have caused the loss of essential nutrients, other areas have experienced dry conditions. This makes it difficult to make general recommendations that apply to all. Parts of the windward side received enough precipitation to remove nutrients like nitrogen and actual top soil as well. West Hawaii received much less but with our excessively porous rocky areas, even 5 or 6 inches of rain can leach important elements essential to plant growth.