Friday, November 15, 2013

Tree of the week: Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo leaf late in the season 
I have the pleasure of viewing from my office window a spectacular season long display from an unusual and wonderful tree, the Ginkgo. There are several qualities that make this tree very attractive for the home landscape.  In the spring it adds beautiful umbrella shaped light green leaves that stay blemish free all season long.  With age the tree can be rather large reaching sizes between 50' and 80' tall and 30' to 40' wide. Eventually having a more distinct pyramidal shape with large wide spreading branches.  Furthermore, there are litterally hundreds of varieties that will grow to about any profile.  The sizes mentioned above doesn't happen overnight but more like over centuries.

This tree is very adaptable as evidenced in its fossilization findings dating back 150 million years.  The tree was once native to North America and has been reintroduced.  It prefers a deep well drained soil but, will adapt to about any situation.  This adaptability makes it a perfect candidate for streetscapes, new construction sites, and other hostile situations.  Perhaps the most fascinating part for me is its fall leaf drop. The tree I see everyday just dropped its leaves and the process occurred over an eight hour period.  At 8:00 am the tree was dropping leaves like rain fall and by 4:30 pm 95% of the leaves were on the ground.  As you may have concluded this makes it a one rake tree or one mulching tree as I should say which makes fall clean up a breeze.

Warning: Only choose male varieties of this tree because the fruit of the female stinks to no end.