Over time, the plane trees in Waterschei have grown large and started producing excess leaf waste remarkable for their plasticity and slow decomposition. This has created a maintenance issue for the residents, especially those of the older generations. Eventually, it provoked groups of residents to organise calls for the trees to be removed, leading the city to approve their cutting in 2016. Other residents and activists confronted this decision with petitions and protests to save the trees. Due to increased politicisation of the tree debate by media and on social networks, the maintenance issue escalated into a polarising discussion in the neighbourhood.
In 2017, the city reversed their decision on cutting and started a long-term participatory study to involve a larger number of residents in deciding the future of the trees. In this trajectory, residents-activists argued that the trees were important for many different reasons: they retain water, clean the air, support biodiversity, provide shade, etc. The heritage-development experts, on the other hand, emphasised the heritage value of trees as a key argument for their preservation. This dissonance between perceiving the trees as complex ecologies and as heritage elements created a new layer in the discussion, revealing the complexities of landscape maintenance and management, which become increasingly relevant in times of climate crisis.