Botanic Gardens' iconic Tembusu tree gets better support

A view of the Tembusu tree at Singapore Botanic Gardens. -- ST PHOTO: LENNE CHAI
A view of the Tembusu tree at Singapore Botanic Gardens. -- ST PHOTO: LENNE CHAI
The Tembusu Tree, located at the Botanic Gardens, is one of the trees under the National Parks' (NParks) Heritage Tree Scheme. -- PHOTO: NPARKS
The Tembusu Tree, located at the Botanic Gardens, is one of the trees under the National Parks' (NParks) Heritage Tree Scheme. -- PHOTO: NPARKS
The Tembusu Tree, located at the Botanic Gardens. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE
The Tembusu Tree, located at the Botanic Gardens. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE
More than 150 years old, this heritage tembusu tree at the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a favourite with kids and newlyweds. -- PHOTO: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD
More than 150 years old, this heritage tembusu tree at the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a favourite with kids and newlyweds. -- PHOTO: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD
A group of friends pose for a photo after climbing onto a Tembusu tree's low-lying branch at Botanic Gardens on April 3, 2009. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
A group of friends pose for a photo after climbing onto a Tembusu tree's low-lying branch at Botanic Gardens on April 3, 2009. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
This 30 meter tall, long-living, evergreen tree is distinctive to Singapore because it is featured on the back of our $5 note. The iconic Tembusu tree at the Singapore Botanic Gardens now has better support for its low-hanging branch. -- ST PHOT
This 30 meter tall, long-living, evergreen tree is distinctive to Singapore because it is featured on the back of our $5 note. The iconic Tembusu tree at the Singapore Botanic Gardens now has better support for its low-hanging branch. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI 

SINGAPORE - The iconic Tembusu tree at the Singapore Botanic Gardens now has better support for its low-hanging branch.

A team of eight - two engineers from ST Kinetics and six staff from the National Parks Board (NParks) - worked for a year to develop the dynamic support system with an in-built suspension method to prop up the branch at three points without hindering its growth.

Previously the branch had been supported by wooden props which, while effective for the short term, restricted the movement of the branch. These can cause the tree to be unable to bear its own weight over a longer period.

The new system allows the branch to gradually adjust to the wind conditions, regain strength to support itself and help it to grow at the same time.

More than 200 years old and featured on Singapore's $5 note, the tree is one of the Gardens' more than 40 heritage trees.

It was fenced up in December last year to prevent visitors from treading around it and affecting the growth of its roots.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam visited the tree on a trail on Tuesday at the Gardens, which is Singapore's first nomination as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Dr Tan also launched the first book on the Gardens' heritage trees. The book put together by NParks features 29 of these trees.

Meanwhile, the Gardens has submitted its documentation for its Unesco Heritage Site bid, and will likely know if it is successful by June next year.

NParks chief executive Kenneth Er said in a speech at the event: "The heritage trees are one of the many aspects of the Garden's rich heritage... They are a symbol of our collective history and the legacy of the Gardens."