Monday, May 11, 2009

Tree Questioned Answered

I did a post awhile ago about the “CuRiOsItIeS” of trees being propped up.  Well, the answer has been found …

I was walking home the other day and I saw large trees being taken out of the ground along a walking path.  Their roots had been bound in canvas to be moved and replanted.  But, I noticed the root ball was no larger than 2 feet in diameter.  Now, these are large trees, so the size of the root ball did not make sense to me.  I didn’t have my camera, so unfortunately I cannot put a picture in right …


But, pretending I did show a picture, now you all share my surprise at the size of roots to the size of the tree. :o)

Later that same day, I was walking around Pungam Reservoir.  They have been improving the walking path, building another bridge – in general, a big face-lift.  I noticed that holes were dug by the newly-built fence, along the edge of the reservoir.  Then, I saw trees being planted into the holes.  FINALLY, it all came together. 

A majority of trees in Gwangju are needing to be propped up because they are transplanting trees (and rather large trees in fact) with a small root ball.  The size of the roots will not support the tree’s height and weight.  So, they prop them up.  Also, they give them feeding/water tubes, since the root system will not be big enough for the tree’s needs.


Notice the black pipes coming out of the ground, they are the feeding/watering tubes.



Once we knew why they were propping up the trees, small root systems, we were able to answer the larger WHY. 

Why aren’t they planting saplings? 

Having lived in Korea for almost 3 months, it is very obvious to us how important appearance and packaging is.  (Our left-over pizza from Pizza Hut was not only put in a box, but had a red ribbon (with bow) wrapped around it) … that’s how important packaging is!)

Korea has had a very tumultuous history, most of which they were controlled by other countries.  The Korean war ended in 1953, at which point Korea has had unbelievable growth.  They’ve had almost instant international economic success.

Back to the trees, we think they need their country to match their success.  Established trees speak of a strong heritage, longevity, etc.  They are making huge efforts to have their country look physically established, to match their continued strivings for a strong economic place in the world.

Trust me, if you were living here, you too would understand why a sapling just won’t do.


  1. Probably can only do this because of adequate humidity to supplement the roots. Don't think this would work in Rufus- or other warm but dry season areas where the water demands would outstrip the supply (by the diminished root structure) and the tree wouldn't survive until it had grown its own new root structure.
    Fascinating...appearances are everything!

  2. Really FASCINATING !!!!

  3. Enjoyed your take on their history and how it may relate. Fasinating.

  4. Sounds tiresome, doesn't it? Sounds like my first 35 years of life, actually... : )

  5. Short, stunted root system, big top.....sounds kind of religious to me. But as long as we can keep it propped up, who knows?