Gingko biloba is commonly called “The Maidenhair Tree”, its foliage shaped like a giant replica of the Maidenhair fern.
‘Autumn Gold’ receives its name from the particularly uniform and gorgeous golden yellow of the autumn leaf color. As a landscape tree, it is superb; growing 40 to 50 feet high with a spread of 25 to 30 feet, excellent in shape and growing conditions for city use. ‘Autumn Gold’ is an all-male cultivar, an important feature since the one drawback to growing Gingko trees is the fleshy, stinky (described as smelling like “vomit”) fruit of the female trees.
If planting an unnamed variety the autumn color may be more of a “chartreuse” color, instead of the clear shining yellow of ‘Autumn Gold’ and other cultivars chosen for their dependable fall hue.
Gingko Tree Facts
Narrow, columnar growth
Very long lived
Prefers full Sun
Dioeciousplants having separate sexes
Well drained soil
Has no known insect or disease pests
The Gingko biloba is an interesting tree, both in look and in history. It is a “living fossil” having survived with very little change except for an ever-narrowing range of habitat in the wild. It is native only to certain parts of China, although quite hardy and tolerant of a range of conditions. In the wild it grows along disturbed stream banks, and that fact clues the gardener to plant it in a well watered place with good drainage. This tree tolerates clay soil, air pollution, and browsing deer, which makes it a good choice for much of Ohio.
In fact, as a child I often passed by a fine tall growing specimen on my way to Kindergarten, growing in the “hell strip” in the Ohio State University area.the look
The graceful fans of the Gingko tree leaves haveinspired Oriental artists for centuries and still hold our interest captive today. Its leaf most often has two lobes (from whence ‘biloba’ comes to its nomenclature), attached to branches in regularly spaced intervals with some growing at spurs on the tree, as well. With its leathery, fan-shaped leaves -prominently veined, this deciduous conifer grows in a number of cultivars. They range from very slow growing ones ideal for containers to the tall finely-shaped ‘Autumn Gold’, featured here. A gingko is a tree that gardeners should consider more.
The Gingko biloba has a short period of autumn glory, the leaves turning a sunny golden color before dropping suddenly into a golden pool on the ground.
During its growing season the foliage is a medium green color, with a structure that causes the leaves to flutter in even a light garden zephyr.
Despite its narrow spread in youth, this is not a tree for restricted areas unless using a selected dwarf cultivar. Eventually it grows to very large proportions. See other cultivars at the end of this page.
in the landscape
As mentioned, it is a tree for a city street; as sentries to a driveway, or grouped as well as single specimens in a large yard. Within a large garden, or at the verge of a wooded area (remember it needs sun). Beside a stream or pond, underplanted with Kerria shrubs for an outstanding golden autumn show.
It is a slow-growing tree and likely will take at least 50 years to develop to its full mature height and spread. fun facts
- The Ginkgo is a living fossil
- A Gingko tree survived the atomic bomb dropped at Hiroshima in the Second World War. Though destroyed above ground, it sent up shoots after the war and now a shrine is dedicated to it in Hiroshima
- Extracts from Gingko are used as memory and concentration enhancers
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‘Princeton Sentry’ has a tall columnar form, slightly wider at the base. Used for a vertical accent, it is male, maturing at about 70′ tall by 10′ wide.
‘Magyar’ is a male form discovered growing in front of the Magyar Bank in New Brunswick, New Jersey. With a narrow upright form that has ascending branches, it matures to as tall as 60 feet and 30 feet wide; which makes it an ideal street or urban garden shade tree.
‘Jade Butterflies’ is a slow-growing, dwarf, male tree. With an upright, vase-shaped form it eventually becomes anywhere from 6’ to 12′ tall over the first 10 years. This makes it a fine ornamental tree for a garden, even a small one.
Artistic Gingko Leaves
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*Medium growth rate
*Ginkgo was discovered in 1691 by the German botanist Engelbert Kaempfer, in Japan. It was a tree cultivated in China and Japan by Buddhist monks for its useful properties for long centuries. Kaempfer brought Ginkgo seeds to Europe from Japan in the early 1700’s.
Video of the Oldest Gingko biloba tree planted in the West, at Utrecht, Netherlands.