The Tree
Many Lives

Rooting for the Future
A particular Banyan Tree in Paya Lebar had become a landmark in the neighbourhood for decades. The tree provided shade and harboured many fond memories for picnickers and passersby alike over the years. However, the land that the tree grew on had been earmarked for development. To meet the needs of future stormwater management efforts, a canal in the vicinity had to be widened to adhere to stormwater maaprilnagement requirements. Determined to find a way to preserve the magnificent tree, developer Lendlease embarked on a voluntary mission that would ensure that the legacy of the tree, as an endeared asset to its community, lives on.


Making Way for the New

The Banyan Tree stood about 15m high and 20m wide. Standing at the edge of the Geylang Canal, it had served as a playground, meeting point, picnic spot and more for the community for decades. With the surrounding land earmarked for development, the tree had to be managed for a canal widening as part of stormwater management efforts.

Recognising the significance of the tree in the context of the neighbourhood and the lives of the people, Lendlease knew that it could not simply be removed – more had to be done to ensure that this special local landmark lived on.



Our Considerations

Lendlease explored various options in honour of the tree


Our Ideas Take Root

With relocation out of the question, Lendlease decided to propagate the tree – that is, to take stem cuttings from the parent plant and grow new saplings. The saplings can then be planted around the new development and even in different locations throughout the island, giving the original tree a chance to become more trees that will in their time enrich more environments and lives.

In total, 80 saplings were replanted – 40 were sent to a nursery, and the others were cared for by Lendlease staff in their homes or at our site office.


Lendlease held a competition, where some of its staff “adopted” saplings to nurture at home or onsite/around the PLQ office – and the best-grown sapling would be planted back on the site. Find out more from PLQ Managing Director Mr Richard Paine about the competition.

Coincidentally, Mr Paine’s banyan sapling, which he named “Winner”, was the winner of the Lendlease Banyan Tree Competition. His tree has been replanted at PLQ 3.


Ms Williams, one of the first Lendlease staff to adopt a sapling, with her Banyan. She has adopted her sapling in her home permanently.

Alvin with his Banyan sapling, which he named Amelia2011 after his daughter.

“I remember picking the sapling up from the Lendlease site office in April 2016 when it was still in a pot! Being a “foster parent” of the Banyan is just my way of giving back to the sustainable environment in PLQ.”



New Lease of Life

The “testing process” for this particular project was a unique one – with the saplings being live organisms, the team had to devise a plan that could ensure a high success rate right from the start. Grant Associates, Lendlease’s appointed landscape architect, shares:


After we identified suitable stems for propagation, we cut and treated them with a rooting hormone. The stems were then transplanted to the off-site nursery, where they underwent a thorough aftercare process in a nursery which was specially adapted to provide the right balance of light and shade and the most ideal humidity levels.

The propagation’s success was also thanks to factors such as irrigation, regular monitoring, pruning and the application of the correct “recipe” of nutrients. Once acclimatised, the saplings were then transferred to full sun to continue their growth.

Sheltering New Lives

The Banyan Tree continues being part of Paya Lebar – and beyond.