17 January 2019
Dear Parents and Students,
A lot of collective memories are connected with people and trees.
The Delonix Regia in Pooi To has grown for sixty years. It is not only the witness of many school milestones, but also an important landmark in Pooi To. When alumni from different generations return to their alma mater, they visit the Lotus Pond and Delonix Regia area to take pictures, recapping their unforgettable and precious memories.
The strong and powerful Delonix Regia, with its canopy covering a large area, used to have many branches and leaves, giving the Pooi To Family a strong feeling of support and protection. Students used to chat, rest and have fun under the tree. Relationships among students were built. However, the tree is no longer as strong as it used to be. In May 2016, the school asked a professional arborist to evaluate the health of the Delonix Regia. The report alerted us to the fact that the tree had a weak and unstable structure, even though it is now flowering. When the tree was planted it had to grow in a very restricted planting area with the trunk collar covered by piles of soil. Internal decay spread from an open wound of a co-dominant branch down to the trunk base. We followed the expert’s recommendation, and a cobra cabling system was installed on the tree branches and trunk unions to support the tree.
After typhoon Mangkhut attacked in September, it was found that the phoenix wood had a slight tilt. To ensure the safety of students, staff and guests, the school hired two individual arborists in November and December 2018 for a detailed inspection, and the branches were removed. They also recommended removing the tree. If we do not remove the tree, it is recommended we use a very strong steel frame to fix the tree for long-term support. However, the cost is extremely high and the engineering very complex.
For the time being, the school has closed off the whole area of the Delonix Regia and the Lotus Pond. I understand that this tree has been a part of many memories for students, alumni and teachers, but safeguarding people in campus is our top priority. With that in mind, we have decided that in order to protect our Pooi To Family, the Delonix Regia will be cut down.
Recollection is a part of life. Although the Delonix Regia has come to an abrupt end, the stories of Pooi To Girls will continue to be written down. We hope to plant a new tree in the original location, in order to continue our next six decades of memories.