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Source: SOTA.

Angsana tree beside SOTA to be removed for safety of public

School of the Arts Singapore (SOTA) has announced that the Angsana tree located beside the vicinity will be removed on Sunday (21 January) for the safety of students, staff and members of public as the arborist’s report on 11 January showed that condition of the tree has deteriorated and it has significant decay and a cavity at its base.

"Affectionately known to many students and staff of the School of the Arts Singapore (SOTA) as the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ or the ‘SOTA Tree’, the majestic Angsana tree protrudes out of the School’s stone steps and can be seen towering over the walkway," the school wrote in a public release, noting that during the construction of the school eight years ago, efforts were made to keep the tree and incorporate the tree into the design of the school façade.

The tree is estimated to be about 40 years old and has battled the harsh weather and thunderstorms over the years.

"With the help of arborists, the School has endeavored to sustain and keep the tree," it said.

In 2010, a huge branch of this tree fell off and the Singapore Civil Defence Force was called in to help the School manage the situation.

In 2013, after an inspection by an arborist, it was reported that the tree showed signs of decay at its base.

The school said that over the years, the School has gone to great lengths to care for the tree. Noninvasive cables were installed in 2014 to support and hold the tree up. The School has closely monitored the tree’s health and pruned it regularly to reduce the load on its trunk.

The SOTA community will gather near the tree this evening, Friday 19 January at 5:30 pm to create a mural of leaf prints to commemorate the "Tree of Knowledge" and as the tree remove, SOTA will preserve its memory by creating art from parts of its trunk.

It also said that anew sapling will also be planted at a later date

"We had hoped to keep the tree standing on our steps for as long as possible, but there is only so much we can do. While it saddens us to bid farewell to the Tree of Knowledge, we hope that its legacy lives on and a new sapling will be planted," Ms Lim Geok Cheng, SOTA Principal.

Angsana trees grow up to 40m in height and were introduced to Singapore in the early 19th century, according to the National Library Board's Infopedia site.

The fast-growing trees were widely planted during the initial phase of Singapore's Garden City campaign launched in 1967, but lost favour as their drooping branches required frequent pruning and are prone to breaking in heavy rains.

According to Wikipedia, angsana tree is a large deciduous tree growing to 30–40 m tall, with a trunk up to 2 m diameter. The leaves are 12–22 cm long, pinnate, with 5–11 leaflets, the girth is 12–34 m wide. The flowers are produced in panicles 6–13 cm long containing a few to numerous flowers; flowering is from February to May in the Philippines, Borneo and the Malay peninsula.

The fast-growing trees were widely planted during the initial phase of Singapore's Garden City campaign launched in 1967. However, they lost favour as their drooping branches required frequent pruning and are prone to breaking in heavy rains.