Daegu Arboretum

published by Devon Furbush

How does a landfill containing more than 4 million tons of household waste buried in the ground become a natural formation containing hundreds of thousands of plants? If you look at Daegu Arboretum today you would never guess that from 1990 to 1996 it was a dormant neglected waste field. Before then, the municipal landfill operated here from 1986 to 1990. With no definite plan to get rid of the waste, Daegu city decided to transform their trash into treasure. In Spring 2002, the Daegu Arboretum opened up as the first public arboretum registered in the Korea Forest Service. Covering 110,000 square meters of land, you can find more than 200,000 trees and close to a million flowers here.

The entrance road is completely submerged by the vast amounts of trees hovering over. In the blazing summer heat, it can help keep you cool as you head to the entrance. At the fork in the road, there will be two main ways to enter. I recommend going left if you’re on foot since the other way leads to the parking lot.

I’ve been here a few times before but never noticed the café. Behind it is one of the MANY paths to walk. I decided to head towards the Forest Culture Exhibition Hall.

The view on the way is great. I was surprised at how massive the silicified trees were. These Indonesian trees date back about ten million years ago. There are plenty of them spread around the area.


The Forest Culture Exhibition Hall is dedicated to the study and formation of various plantations around the world, including the great strength behind Korean battleships made from pine and oak trees. These ships would eventually be used in dozens of battles against Japanese troops in the 1592 Imjin Invasion. Other information that you can learn about include tree name origins, tree trunk rings, seed germination, and flower structures. All of the information you need about the arboretum is in this building.

Unless you’re like me and can remember the road with no problem, it is quite easy to get lost here. Every path seems to open up to another path that leads to another small path. I would bring a friend if you’re coming here for the first time.


There are several types of greenhouses containing tropical fruits, cacti, bonsai, and more that are open to roam around. This one, in particular, has a great collection of some truly exotic plants and trees. Some of the names are even unique as I saw one named ‘blood banana tree.’ It would be cool to have these at home, right?

A few years ago, when I volunteered here, I thought that I had seen most of the area. However, going back again I realized several places that I missed; the stone garden being one of them. I knew that if I came to the bamboo garden, I was on the right path. This garden is located in the far back area that leads to the hiking trail. This is Bangjiwondo pond which was a representative style pond during the Joseon Dynasty period. It is decorated with an earthen and stone wall and a pavilion. On the other side is Goksu stream.

Before leaving I wanted to see the lawn plaza. It isn’t really common to see green grass like this in an open space in Korea. As the center of the arboretum, this lawn provides spatial stability and it is the first view you’ll see upon entering from the main parking lot.

As much as I would love to show every single flower, plant, and garden in the arboretum, I can’t. I hope you were able to enjoy even this small percentage. There are also various plant-related educational programs open to everyone. On weekdays a lot of schools take field trips here, so if you want a less congested time, I recommend coming on the weekend.

Address: 342, Hwaam-ro, Dalseo-gu, Daegu 

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