Lets Talk Ginkgo

This Ginkgo is very happy in this location

This ginkgo is very happy in this location.

My ginkgo has not grown much in the last 10 years as it is sitting on a rock out cropping about 2-3 feet under the ground

My ginkgo has not grown much in the last 10 years, as it is sitting on a rock outcrop about 2-3 feet underground.

The leaves will eventually turn butter yellow but I think they are exceptional turning, too

The leaves will eventually turn butter yellow, but I think they are exceptional while turning, too.

Maidenhair tree commonly called by it genus name, Ginkgo, in this area is one great tree with outstanding fall color. BUT, you need to plant it in the right conditions for it to grow into a large tree. The two you see here were planted about 10 or so years ago. Notice the one in my friend’s yard seems to be growing tall, and mine looks nice but is stunted with a more globose foliage shape. Here is the difference. The tall upright one is in the middle of a well drained location that stays on the dry side, and has little or no irrigation. That is what this tree really likes. Mine on the other hand sits in fertile soil, on a rock shelf, and is irrigated. So I don’t expect it to get very large (it was planted about the size it is now and has never been pruned or shaped). So remember, the best time to plant trees is now, but if you have a moist location, even if it is sunny, choose another tree. If you want to enjoy its large tree size, beautiful fall color, and its drought tolerance, a male ginkgo is for you (females fruit and the fruit stinks). In my yard, if I wanted a shade tree, a maple would have been a better choice because of its fibrous roots and love of irrigation.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

4 thoughts on “Lets Talk Ginkgo

    • In the context I used it, rocks that are under a layer of soil that is not totally solid but has a face like a wall of rock. Another word I have some soil but the roots are hitting rock under the soil layer and thus causing the stunted growth

  1. Another characteristic of the Gingko is the habit of dropping almost all of the leaves in less than a week. What a considerate tree! One afternoon raking leaves under this tree and you can call it done.

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