The Q&A Archives: ginkgo vs. platanus acerifolia

Question: I am trying to decide which of these trees to plant in my backyard (yes, my yard is big enough!). How would you compare the growth rate of these two trees? Which one would you recommend? I think I like the ginkgo best but I'm afraid it will take too long to get any shade from it. My yard really needs some shade! Would it be worth it to invest in a larger ginkgo to start out with?

Answer: Although the ginkgo is an interesting tree, it is slower growing than the plane tree and will look rather awkward in youth, eventually developing a broad enough canopy to provide shade. On the other hand, Platanus is a fast-growing tree with broad leaves and a broad canopy, even in youth. If your plan is to have an attractive shade tree in a relatively short time, Platanus is the specimen of choice. The leaves are large enough to provide dense shade, and they're easy to rake up because of their size. I'd vote for Platanus!

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