Ginkgo Trees Buying & Growing Guide
Ginkgo biloba trees are known as maidenhair trees. They bear a striking resemblance to the ferns of the same name. Their unique, fan-shaped leaves, flutter in the slightest breeze and grow up to six inches long. Dark green until fall, the leaves will turn into a stunning yellow color almost overnight. This flashy fall showing is one of the many reasons to grow your own ginkgo tree. Here are a few more:
- Once established, ginkgo trees need minimal care and maintenance.
- Ginkgo trees are resistant to disease, pest, pollution, and wind.
- Ginkgos provide visual interest, as well as a cool, shaded refuge from the heat.
Ginkgo Trees for Sale
- Fast Growing Trees – Starting at $89.95
- Brighter Blooms – Starting at $89.99
- Garden Goods Direct – Starting at $79.95
- Nature Hills – Starting at $53.95
- NWilson Bros Gardens – Starting at $69.97
Planting and Care
Ginkgo trees grow in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8a, but do not care for hot, dry climates. They are not particular about their soil and pH level, as long as it drains well and is deep. They are hardy trees that can withstand the poorest of soil, even with high salinity or pollution. Full sun to part shade is preferable, with young trees doing well in shadier locations. It is best to plant ginkgo trees in the fall so they will establish themselves before the summer heat.
Ginkgo trees are one of those rare trees that can be grown near sidewalks and pavement. Unlike others, their roots cooperate and stay down, so they will not lift the walkways or damage your patio. However, it’s important to choose a male tree as the female version of a ginkgo tree produces an offensive smelling fruit that can be slippery when trampled on the pavement.
Dig a hole twice the size of your tree’s root ball and the same depth. Place the tree in the hole and backfill. Be careful with the roots as you tamp down the soil to remove air pockets. When the soil is level with the top of the root ball, water the tree deeply. Build a ring, or berm, of mulch about four inches high, around the edges of the planting hole. The berm will help keep the moisture around the tree until it is well-rooted.
Watering and nutrients
Newly planted ginkgo trees need regular watering until they have set, deep roots. Once that happens, only water during the dry summer months and any drought conditions. They prefer to have the soil wet but not soggy. Older trees may not need any supplemental watering at all as they will rely on normal rainfall. Mulch is unnecessary for mature ginkgo trees as it can interfere with pore space in the soil and the absorption of available nutrients.
There is no need to give your self-sufficient ginkgo trees fertilizer. They will draw any nutrients they require from the soil. Allow the leaves to decompose into the ground under the tree to aid in this process.
Older ginkgo trees need only minimal pruning. They grow a balanced, uniform canopy without much help. You can perform a springtime shaping or thinning. It is best to do this when the tree is young and dormant, right before budding. Early shaping of the tree can prevent the need for unsightly pruning later on. Removal of dead or diseased branches is done any time of the year.
Pests, diseases, and animals
Ginkgo trees are very hardy, resistant trees with few natural enemies. The leaves, roots, and wood of the ginkgo tree are poisonous to most insects, making it highly resistant to pests, including the gypsy moth. Ginkgo trees can suffer injury from rodents, such as hares, rabbits, and voles. Damage from voles will be reduced when you line the hole with wire mesh or netting when planting the tree.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much space does a ginkgo tree need?
Ginkgo trees have an upright growth pattern for their first three to five years. After that, they will start to spread outward, forming an expansive canopy. Ginkgos are a slow-growing tree, only adding 12 to 24 inches a year to a height that will eventually reach up to 80 feet. Their beautiful roof is equally impressive with a 30 to 40 foot spread. Keep this in mind when planning where you are going to plant your ginkgo tree. They need their space.
Can I grow a ginkgo tree in a pot?
Ginkgo trees are often grown and treated as a bonsai tree or a houseplant. Provide a pot with good drainage, have enough light, water well, and your ginkgo will thrive indoors or on a patio. They adapt to home temperatures with ease. Prune lightly any time of the year to shape the tree. Heavier pruning should only occur when the tree is dormant in the winter.
Why should I add a ginkgo tree to my yard?
Ginkgo trees are prized for their beauty and unique form. They provide a stunning focal point to any sized garden or patio with a variety of plants to choose from. Their dense canopy offers a shady, sheltered area to sit and escape the summer heat. The bright yellow leaves of fall provide a blanket of color for sleepy gardens.
How old can a ginkgo tree get?
Ginkgo trees are also nicknamed “fossil trees.” Fossilized ginkgo leaves have been found that are close to 300 million years old. There are records of individual living trees in China that date back over 1,800 years. These ancient trees have been treasured in Chinese and Japanese gardens for over 1,000 years. When cared for properly, your ginkgo tree will easily outlive you and your children’s children.