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System developed to support iconic Tembusu trees

SINGAPORE — A dynamic tree support system was launched today (May 27) at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, as part of a joint conservation effort by the National Parks Board (NParks) and Singapore Technologies Kinetics (ST Kinetics).

SINGAPORE — A dynamic tree support system was launched today (May 27) at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, as part of a joint conservation effort by the National Parks Board (NParks) and Singapore Technologies Kinetics (ST Kinetics).

The inbuilt suspension system was developed to support the lateral limb of the iconic Tembusu tree (Cyrtophyllum fragrans), said Singapore Botanic Gardens in a press release.

The Gardens said the new, world’s first system developed by NParks and ST Kinetics “enables the branch to move naturally under varying wind conditions while still providing full support”.

“This facilitates growth of the tree’s new supportive tissues. Built with easily available off-the-shelf parts and materials, the system can be raised and lowered as required to allow the branch to grow.”

The iconic tree was fenced in December last year to alleviate soil compaction caused by heavy human traffic and “minimise damage to the roots”, the Gardens said.

It added that previous efforts to preserve the Tembusu tree were made in 1992 and 2003, but these static support systems were only “effective for the short term” and restricted movement of the tree branches, stripping the trees of ability to bear their own weight as they grow heavier.

The launch was attended by President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who noted that “the Heritage Trees are living records of the Gardens which are treasured by all Singaporeans”.

Dr Tan was also the producer of Tall Tales: Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Trail Guide, a book on heritage trees which encourages readers to discover various Heritage trees on-site.

Meanwhile, about 30 students from Jurong Primary School and Kranji Secondary School also joined the President to learn about the botanical and cultural significance of the Gardens’ Heritage Trees at the launch.

“We are heartened that individuals, schools and corporations like ST Kinetics recognise the intrinsic value of protecting our Heritage Trees and have expressed their appreciation and support in various ways,” said CEO of NParks, Mr Kenneth Er. “We hope that more will develop a love for these trees and join us in conserving the living legacy of the Gardens and Singapore.”

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