Think Spring!

Ginghko Tree

No, this tree is not a tree in spring leaf. What I mean is that it’s never too early to begin planning for spring planting. And trees are about the biggest thing one can plant in the spring (provided of course one has room for them). So over the next few posts, I’ll highlight a few trees that have some things to recommend them (although each has some drawbacks as well).

This is one of our oldest trees, the gingko biloba. Some suggest that it dates back to the time when dinosaurs were on the earth. Even if that’s not true, it’s still an ancient tree. It is not a native tree to North America. That does not mean it’s not worthy of being planted.

One thing to be aware of, however. Gingkos come in male and female varieties. This tree is a female. It is self-fruitful. In the fall, it drops not only leaves, but fleshy fruits that look like this.

gingko leaves and fruit

What’s interesting about this is that most articles will tell you how “stinky” these fruits are. A simple Google search will turn up dozens of searches about the legendary stink of the fruit. But I’ve even picked these up and held them to my nose and I don’t really find them objectionable. Perhaps they’ve been on the ground too long–or perhaps “stink” is in the nose of the beholder.

In any event, since these trees do come in male and female varieties, the easy way to avoid all the fuss is to simply get a male variety.

One of the nice benefits of these trees–besides beautiful shape, and lovely fall color–is that the tree drops the majority of its leaves all at once. And I mean all at once. One day I’ll go by with the dog and the tree will be in full leaf and the next day it will be bare–it’s that abrupt!

Finally, if you do mistakenly get a female tree, here is an article in the Washington Post that talks about eating the fruits of the gingko. I can’t personally attest to it since this is not my tree. I do know that my longest lived rescue dog used to love the nuts–and she far out-lived any of the other rescues–or any schnauzer we’ve ever had. I now try to encourage my dogs to eat them, but so far she’s the only one who would touch them!

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