Ginkgo Trees – Can you help?

I know that not everyone who sews is an avid gardener or horticulturist, but I’m hoping there is some crossover out there among my readers who could give me some advice about Ginkgo trees.

I’m looking to plant a Ginkgo tree as a memorial tree and I want to know the best variety to plant.  I know that I want a male species due to the foul smelling berries from the female species.  I realize that these grow SUPER slowly (the tree pictured above is at least 100 years old) but they also have very long life spans.  They are the oldest living species of tree, having existed during the times of the dinosaurs and saw the arrival of mankind on earth. (they’ve been around a while…let’s just put it that way)

But I’m having some difficulty deciding on the correct variety to plant and how old the tree can be and be transplanted.  I’ve been given the species name Saratoga Ginkgo but I am finding many more pictures for the Autumn Gold variety.  The plan is to have a bench under the tree and I am looking for a shape more like the one pictured above (though it obviously would not be that large perhaps even in my lifetime)

Can anyone help me?

14 thoughts on “Ginkgo Trees – Can you help?”

  1. All I can tell you is that I love Ginkgo trees. I plant one at every house I move to. Maybe one day I'll move into one that already has a huge one!

  2. My advice would be to seek help from a local reputable nursery. They will be able to help you pick the variety that is best suited for your planned location, area, and size of tree. Also, I know my municipality plants them to replace trees in the city right of way. Your city may have some available. They grow very well in urban environments. I also love them.

  3. I would contact your local agricultural extension office and see if they have recommendations for what variety grows best in your area. Then make sure you get quality nursery stock, bare root is best because so many potted trees are root bound.

    Most Gingko trees I've seen here (Western Maryland, zone 6c) have a much more vertical canopy shape. To get the shape of the picture above might require an aggressive pruning regimen… Are you looking for Gingko for the specific reasons of longevity and history, or just for the foliage and canopy shape. You may also want to consider a native species to your area… while Gingko trees are non-invasive, they are also not native to North America so they don't provide a preferred habitat for wildlife. There may be other trees that have a similar look that might do better in your specific area or require less maintenance to get the "look" you want.

    (I'm a certified Master Gardener here in MD, don't want you to think I'm just blowing smoke ::grin::)

  4. Hi Angela, I live in south-central PA and am a landscape designer and amateur quilter…so, you were right, you do have some readers that crossover. In fact a number of my sewing/crafty buddies are avid gardeners.
    My zone here is 6B and I'm not sure where you live, but if you are in a cold weather climate, the following ginko cultivars have the shape you desire and the lovely, golden fall color . Hope this helps.
    Ginkgo, Autumn Gold – Ginkgo biloba 'Autumn Gold'
    Ginkgo, Fairmont – Ginkgo biloba 'Fairmont'
    Ginkgo, Shangri-la – Ginkgo biloba 'Shangri-la'

    1. Thank you very much! I'm South Bend, IN so I am indeed in a cold weather climate. I appreciate the specific species you listed. The Autumn Gold seems to be the one I have seen the most of, but I will look into the others.

  5. The one thing you want to make sure of is you want to plant a male tree. Female plants bear fruit, and they are SUPER stinky. If you ever step on them, they smell like dog doo. Good luck…aside from the stench of females, they are my favorite tree. I love how all of the beautiful golden leaves all fall at once!

  6. In researching willow trees last weekend I came across this website:
    Just looked now and they have 4-5 foot Ginko trees on sale. Don't know if they are females or males! It also looks like they grow about a foot to a foot and a half each year. Beautiful trees. Good luck in your search!

  7. Lovely tree and a lovely idea for a memorial. All I can add is to again encourage you to talk to your local plant nursery or greenhouse to make sure you get one that is hardy for your zone. You can also talk to your local college or university plant or forestry departments as well as gardening club and city/county/state government office that deals with trees for advice.

    1. Thank you! I did talk extensively with a local nursery but wasn't loving the pictures of the species I saw that he suggested. It seems like there are several options, so hopefully I'll find one with just the right shape!

  8. I unfortunately can not help you with the tree, BUT I can really use your help as I want to make your butterflies quilt out of your book "A Quilter's Mixology" After an hour search trying to find the background, light blue fabric I thought ask Angela. My daughter really likes Eiko by birch fabric in the gray, but I like your choice a bit better as it doesn't have the flowers. My email is Thank you for your help. If you want to shout out all your fabric choices feel free. I also want to make it a bit bigger but I do not anticipate a problem. Love to book!!!

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