GIMHAE, SOUTH KOREA April 28 (Korea Bizwire) – Metasequoia, a large type of fast-growing deciduous tree, has gained popularity as a street tree in South Korea in recent years for its tall and imposing appearance.
However, growing concerns over the appropriateness of the species as a street tree are seeing a number of local governments do away with metasequoias, also known as dawn redwoods.
As metasequoia trees can grow at least 200 feet (60 meters) in height, and have a rich history dating back millions of years, they have been turning up on South Korean streets including in Gimhae, a city that recently announced plans to build a tree-lined road stretching for more than five kilometres.
After trees planted as part of the four major rivers project under the previous administration withered, Gimhae city officials chose metasequoias, as they grow well even in unfavorable conditions.
In Changwon City however, complaints have been growing over metasequoia trees as their affinity for water sees roots spread and penetrate into drain pipes, causing an inconvenience to local residents.
As nearly 6,700 metasequoia trees are planted on the streets of Changwon City, damage to the pavement resulting from aggressive root growth has been also reported.
Another issue surrounding metasequoia trees is their large size, which can sometimes cast a shadow over residential buildings.
“(Metasequoia) trees are so big they block sunshine during the winter and cause problems,” one resident in Changwon said.
In response to growing criticism, both Changwon and Gimhae city officials revealed that they would no longer plant metasequoia trees, starting this year.