Ginkgo Propagation Methods – How To Propagate A Ginkgo Tree

Ginkgo Propagation Methods – How To Propagate A Ginkgo Tree

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By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)

Ginkgo biloba trees are one of the oldest recorded species of trees, withfossil evidence dating back thousands of years. Native to China, these tall andimpressive trees are prized for their mature shade, as well as their impressiveand vibrant yellow fall foliage. With so many positive attributes, it is easy to see whymany homeowners may want to plant ginkgo trees as a means to diversify theirlandscapes. Read on for tips on growing a new ginkgo tree.

How to Propagate a Ginkgo

Depending on the growing zone, ginkgo trees can livehundreds of years. This makes them a great option for homeowners who wish toestablish mature shade plantings that will thrive for decades to come. Whileimpressively beautiful, ginkgo trees may be difficult to locate. Luckily, thereare many ways to begin propagating ginkgo trees. Among these ginkgo propagatingtechniques are by seed and through cuttings.

Seed propagating ginkgo

When it comes to ginkgo plant reproduction, growing fromseed is a viable option. However, growing a new ginkgo tree from seed issomewhat difficult. Therefore, beginner gardeners may have greater successchoosing another method.

Like many trees, ginkgo seeds will need at least two monthsof cold stratification before being planted. Germination of the seed may takeseveral months before any sign of growth occurs. Unlike other methods of ginkgopropagation, there is no way to ensure that the resulting plant from seed willbe either male or female.

Propagating ginkgo cuttings

Propagating ginkgo trees from cuttings is one of the morecommon methods to grow new trees. The process of taking cuttings from trees isunique in that the resulting plant will be the same as the “parent” plant fromwhich the cutting was taken. This means growers will be able to selectivelychoose cuttings from trees that demonstrate the desired characteristics.

To take cuttings of ginkgo biloba trees, cut and remove anew length of stem about 6 inches (15 cm.) long. The best time to take cuttingsis in mid-summer. Once the cuttings have been removed, dip the stems into rooting hormone.

Place the cuttings into a moist, yet well-draining, growingmedium. When kept at room temperature, with adequate humidity, ginkgo treecuttings should begin to take root in as little as 8 weeks.

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How to Propagate Ginkgo

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Ginkgo biloba, also called the maidenhair tree, is the sole survivor of the ginkgophytes group from the Jurassic period. The female tree produces a vile smelling fruit, so most homeowners prefer to grow a male tree. While the tree can be grown from seed, the seeds are hard to germinate and the sex of the tree cannot be determined until the tree matures, 30 years later. Propagation by softwood cutting allows you to choose the sex of the tree and reliably produce a healthy tree. Ginkgo biloba is suitable for planting in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3a to 8a.

Mix equal parts peat moss and sand to fill a small container or seedling tray. Moisten the mixture evenly. Clean your pruning shears or a sharp knife with rubbing alcohol and allow to dry.

Take softwood cuttings from a healthy, mature male ginkgo tree in early summer. Choose soft, new growth, just as it begins to mature. Look for shoots with a mixture of mature older leaves and small new leaves. Make each cutting from a terminal shoot, if possible, cutting it 4 to 6 inches long.

Wrap the cuttings in moist paper towels and store them in a plastic bag in a cool place until ready to use. Pot the cuttings as soon as possible for best results. Start more cuttings than you expect to need, since they may not all take root.

Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting, leaving the smallest leaves at the top. Dip the cut end of the shoot into rooting hormone, following the directions on the package.

Insert the cutting into the prepared rooting medium with the leaves pointing up. Push the stem 2 to 3 inches into the soil. Firm the soil around the stem with your fingertips.

Water the shoots gently and cover the pot or tray with plastic. Place the ginkgo cutting in a warm location that receives indirect light.

Check the cuttings daily, keeping the soil evenly moist. Mist the cuttings for added humidity.

Remove the plastic when the ginkgo cuttings have rooted in approximately six to eight weeks. Tug gently on the plants weekly until the roots are capable of holding the plants in the soil.

Transplant each new plant into a 4-inch pot filled with a sterile potting mix. Place it in a sunny spot indoors.

Harden your new ginkgo tree before transplanting it outdoors in the spring. Move it outdoors for an hour the first day, increasing the amount of time by an hour a day, until it is outdoors for an entire day.

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and Web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.

Gingko Biloba Care

Most of the recommended cultivars of gingko biloba grow best in full sun in the North (partial sun in the South), have average water needs, and stand up well to pollution and road salt. In fact, as salt-tolerant plants, they are good choices for those who landscape near the ocean. All bear golden fall foliage, as well.

Many types of ginkgo start out narrow while young but then become quite wide as they age. You can slow down this process a little by pruning them while young so as to force them to produce a single leader. But a much better solution is to select a cultivar known to have a narrow shape.


Plant ginkgo biloba in an area that receives full sun to part shade.

The ginkgo is not fussy about soil type or most soil conditions and will tolerate both acidic and alkaline soil as well as compacted soil. It prefers well-drained sandy soil or loam.


Water as needed to keep the soil moist, provided the site is well-drained. Moisture is particularly important when the tree is young it is relatively drought-tolerant at maturity.

Temperature and Humidity

Ginkgo bilobas are commonly grown in urban sites in many regions, proving their tolerance of a wide range of moisture conditions and temperatures. However, they can struggle in hot, dry climates.


Young ginkgo biloboa trees can benefit from a spring feeding of tree fertilizer. Mature trees typically do not need to be fed.

Plant Library

* This is a "special order" plant - contact store for details

Other Names: Maidenhair Tree

A true 150 million year old relic with uniquely fan-shaped leaves absolutely beautiful form and habit of growth, golden fall color female plants produce fruit which smells foul when decomposing, be sure to choose male plants for landscape use

Ginkgo has emerald green foliage throughout the season. The fan-shaped leaves turn an outstanding yellow in the fall. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant. However, the fruit can be messy in the landscape and may require occasional clean-up.

Ginkgo is an open deciduous tree with a distinctive and refined pyramidal form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a high maintenance tree that will require regular care and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration

Ginkgo is recommended for the following landscape applications

Ginkgo will grow to be about 70 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 60 feet. It has a high canopy of foliage that sits well above the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. As it matures, the lower branches of this tree can be strategically removed to create a high enough canopy to support unobstructed human traffic underneath. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live to a ripe old age of 150 years or more think of this as a heritage tree for future generations!

This tree should only be grown in full sunlight. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under average home landscape conditions. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is not originally from North America.

* This is a "special order" plant - contact store for details

Plants→Ginkgo→Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba)

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8a
Plant Height : 60 to over 100 feet
Plant Spread : 30 to 40 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Fruit: Other: a naked seed covered by a brown fleshy covering
Fruiting Time: Fall
Flowers: Other: not flowers, but male catkins and female ovules
Flower Color: Green
Flower Time: Late winter or early spring
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Shade Tree
Medicinal Herb
Edible Parts: Seeds or Nuts
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Pollinators: Wind
Miscellaneous: Dioecious
Conservation status: Endangered (EN)

This Maidenhair-tree is a living fossil that has fossils going back to about 270 million years, really unchanged. Botanists are still checking out fossils of what looks like several species of Ginkgo. About 144 million years ago was the greatest diversity of this genus. In the Tertiary Period of about 65 million years ago, one source says that there were four species left of Gingo biloba, G. adiantoides, G. gardneri in Scotland, and G. jiayinensis. Ginkgo disappeared from North America about 7 million years ago and from Europe about 2.5 million years ago. I think that Ginkgo biloba was found growing in places all over the Northern Hemisphere, but just survived in two valleys in China. Chinese monks were growing it about 1100 AD and spread it to Korea and Japan. A German botanist, Kaempfer, discovered it in southern Japan for western science and used a Japanese name for it, though he was a little off on the real word for "silver apricot." Ginkgo is commonly planted over a good part of the world with a number of different cultivars. In the Midwestern & Eastern US it tends to be used more in parks, campuses, business & industrial parks, and as a street tree in parkways and in sidewalk wells than in most people's yards. It grows about 1 foot/year or maybe a little more as a younger tree. In nature in China there are trees about 3,000 years old. It is easy to transplant and to establish. Ginkgo likes moist, well-drained soil that can be acid or neutral in reaction. It is grown and sold by many larger nurseries. In landscapes in eastern North America it usually grows about 6o feet high by 30 to 40 feet. I was looking at a wholesale nursery catalogue of a large nursery in Hinsdale, IL and Ginkgo is the most expensive shade tree to buy, more than a Crimson King Norway Maple or a Bur Oak. It is dioecious with separate male and female plants. The female plant bears the naked seed covered by a fleshy covering so it looks like a brown plum, and it stinks like vomit when the fallen fruit begins to rot. East Asian people like to eat some seeds as a delicacy. For landscape situations, nurseries grow male plants and male cultivars so that there won't be stinky, rotting fruit in November-December. It takes 20 to 50 years for a tree to produce seed or pollen, so sometimes nurseries have gotten it wrong and I've sometimes seen rotting fruit on sidewalks, pavement, parkways, and lawn, though, they are getting better at separation.

Increases blood circulation to the brain. Very slow to break dormancy in spring. Very slow growing. I've never heard anyone ever refer to this as a 'maidenhair tree' - could be a regional thing I suppose. It's always just been a gingko.

This tree holds its leaves long into the fall and they are a beautiful clear yellow.
Ginkgo trees are slow growers and can be male or female.
The ripe fruit of the female tree smells very bad, like vomit.

Watch the video: Gingko Biloba cutting propagation Spring 2019