The Q&A Archives: Dwarf Ginkgo

Question: I recently bought a miniature ginkgo. I don't know whether it is male or female as it is still immature. Can you give me any information about the growing habit I should expect. Will it remain small enough to plant near the house foundation?

Answer: Most Ginkgo trees available from nurseries are males, which is good, because the females produce messy, fleshy, ill-smelling fruit. Ginkgo trees have a similar growth habit to conifers (they're related), in that they'll taper at the top and be broad at the bottom of the tree. They are slow growing trees, and if yours is grafted onto dwarfing rootstock, it should attain a mature height of 12-15 feet. The alternate name for ginkgo is Maidenhair, which describes the leaf shape's similarity to the Maidenhair Fern. Ginkgo trees look attractive in any season, but especially in the fall when the green leaves turn gold. If you plant your tree near the house, give it enough room to branch out without crowding.

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