SUWON, Oct. 31 (Korea Bizwire) — Efforts to save a zelkova tree over 500-years-old in Dano Children’s Park in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, which lost four large branches during this year’s summer monsoon season have been ongoing for over four months.
Local government officials in Suwon, along with arborists, have been taking care of the new buds sprouting from the tree, but experts are unsure if the stump buds can withstand the severe cold weather that awaits them in the winter months.
The 33.4-meter-tall tree first saw its branches break off on June 26, when the first bout of monsoon rain started falling in Suwon.
Four large branches at the tree’s 3-meter mark broke off all at once due to the monsoon rain and harsh winds.
It is said that limbs from the very zelkova tree in Dano Children’s Park were used as rafters to build the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 1790.
Legend also has it that the tree would let out large bellows whenever the nation was faced with great difficulties.
The residents of Yeongtong have been holding the “Yeongtong Dano Festival” near the famous tree every year on Dano day.
Dano is a Korean traditional holiday that falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar Korean calendar.
Because the tree is of great significance to residents of the area, city officials have been trying their best to restore the tree to its former glory.
Four months in, the buds have grown 50 to 100 milliimeters and are the only hope for the survival of Suwon’s zelkova tree.
City officials have come up with various plans to save the tree by consulting with various tree experts.
Although some experts suggested trunk injections to facilitate the growth of the sprouting buds, the tree has not been injected with any fluid in fear that it could potentially do more harm than good.
Also, installing windshields around the tree as a protective measure against the winter cold was suggested, but was rejected when experts claimed it could bring stress to the buds.
A city official said that the best way to help the tree was to just leave it be so that it would not be stressed from external factors.
“Once spring comes, we will start to take on full-scale efforts to help restore the tree,” said the official.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)