The ginkgo is a truly extraordinary tree, a remnant of our prehistory. It can withstand an incredible amount and is therefore considered a tree that gives strength and is almost revered. If you can use such a power dispenser in the garden, you will learn below how to care for a ginkgo tree and when you can plant it in the garden.


There are male and female ginkgo trees. You female ginkgoes will eventually set scent marks with their seed fruits that you most likely do not want around you. Although this takes several years, it is still the reason why many more male fan leaf trees are planted. You better believe these people, the female ginkgo just stinks pathetically.

Getting used to the ginkgo tree in the bucket

Young ginkgos are anything but hardy when young, they are even quite sensitive to frost. If you buy a ginkgo tree, you should therefore keep it in a bucket for the first few years. In summer it should be in a sunny location, but protected from the strong midday sun, in winter in a frost-free room.

Then you can decide whether the fan leaf tree stays in the bucket. Perhaps you have already purchased a spherical ginkgo or dwarf ginkgo that does not grow higher than two meters and is intended to spend its life permanently in a bucket on the terrace or balcony. Or you can grow the ginkgo tree in a tub for a few years until you can plant it in the garden.

Care in the bucket

The care of the fan leaf tree in the tub is not particularly difficult, ginkgo trees are actually quite frugal.

They are planted in normal, humus-rich garden soil and watered evenly and regularly. Waterlogging should be avoided in any case. In order for you to succeed, it is best to only water the ginkgo when the soil ball is already quite dry.

Ginkgo trees in pots are regularly given complete fertilizer during the growing season. Best slow release organic fertilizer, at least twice per season.

Unless it’s a dwarf ginkgo, the fanleaf tree will need a larger planter every two years to repot into after overwintering. To do this, you take the fan leaf tree out of the old bucket, slightly scratch the root ball until it is open and carry out a root cut to the width of the crown. If the soil on the root ball is musty or matted, remove it. Drainage is placed in the new pot, and when the ginkgo is planted, it is filled with fresh soil. Then the ginkgo tree is doused with plenty of water, later kept moderately moist as always.

After a few years, the normal fan leaf tree in the tub is so big that you can put it in the garden.

Location for the ginkgo tree

When choosing the right location for a fan leaf tree in the garden, you should consider the dimensions that a ginkgo tree can later assume. If you follow the recommendation and choose a male ginkgo tree for reasons of smell, it can grow up to 30 meters high. Rather, it will evolve into a slender, columnar shape. If you have bought a female tree because you are eager to harvest the ginkgo nuts, which are considered a delicacy, you must expect that the tree will later develop a broad crown of up to 8 meters in diameter. You would have to take this into account when choosing the location. The trunk of a fanleaf tree can be up to four meters in diameter, so give a ginkgo tree some space to commemorate it.

The site should be in full or partial sun. The soil at the site should be moist and deep (a ginkgo extends its roots far down) and well drained. A ginkgo tree gets along very well with sandy loamy soil. However, it is quite adaptable and usually grows quite well on poor or compacted soils.

Otherwise, a fanleaf tree is fairly tolerant of its location. It tolerates almost any soil pH, air pollution and road salt in winter, heat and drought.

How to plant your ginkgo

When your ginkgo tree is old and strong enough, you can plant it out in the garden at the chosen location.

Planting outdoors should be attempted at the earliest when the fan leaf tree has spent at least two years in your bucket. However, he should have developed splendidly by then. If it still looks pretty tender, you’d better wait a little longer.

It is best to start planting in the spring. The ideal time for planting is when the tree is just about to get its first leaves after wintering. This gives the fan leaf tree the whole summer to grow well before it is confronted with the winter temperatures outdoors for the first time.

If you want to plant a ginkgo outdoors in the fall, it is better to wait a little longer. It is usually recommended that only ginkgoes that are at least six years old are hardy enough to withstand a German winter immediately after planting.

A ginkgo tree wants to be planted at its location in a well-prepared planting hole. To do this, before planting the tree, dig a much larger planting hole than you need for the ginkgo. Mix the excavated soil generously with good, mature compost.

Then the support posts are inserted, and the ginkgo tree is later tied to the sides of the deep pit so that it grows upright and straight. If you don’t give the fan leaf tree any supports, you have to expect that it will grow diagonally to one side. The branches of the ginkgo tree grow out of the tree at an almost exact 90-degree angle, horizontally to the sides. This growth characteristic usually causes the ginkgo to become lopsided at some point. If you tie him down to the vertical post for the first few years of his height development, that can’t happen. Then it will grow shapely vertically.

When the support posts are in place, put part of the mixed soil back into the planting hole under the ginkgo as substrate and moisten this substrate a little. Then the fan leaf tree can be planted in the ground, if not already done, with the root pruning described above for repotting. He’s being smothered in well. Usually a little more soil has to be refilled. Then the freshly planted tree and its surroundings are well watered.

The care of the fanleaf tree

If you’ve grown the ginkgo to a gardening age, you pretty much already know all about caring for a fanleaf tree.

Of course, you should water it well and evenly the first time after planting. Otherwise you only have to watch the freshly planted tree carefully at first. Because transplanting is stressful for the ginkgo tree. In the beginning it needs all its strength to form roots. During this time he should really be left alone except for the necessary water supply. After planting out, the ginkgo needs some time to recover.

Only when the first new shoot in the upper area shows that the fan leaf tree has successfully rooted can you slowly start fertilizing. Once or twice complete organic fertilizer per season should be sufficient. It is better not to surround ginkgo trees with a layer of mulch, they prefer open, well-aerated soil.

Young trees need additional watering for a long time during dry periods. You should keep this up until the ginkgo tree is about six meters high. This will take some time. If conditions are favorable, a ginkgo will grow approximately 30 cm per year during its first 30 years of life, between early June and early September. If you bought the ginkgo at 1.50 meters tall, it will be around 3 meters tall when you put it in the garden. So you can water for another 10 years if there is a risk of drought. It can also happen that your fan leaf tree does not grow at all during a season. However, it also shoots up a full meter once a year, almost like children in puberty.

However, the ginkgo tree has the specialty that it forms long shoots and short shoots. Some grow between 20 cm and 1 meter a year, others only a few millimeters, whereby the short shoots can suddenly develop into long shoots without warning. Even with many short shoots mutating into long shoots, a ginkgo remains a tree for patient gardeners. For this he is also about 1,000 years old.


In the first few years, the ginkgo should be pruned lightly and evenly all over in the spring. In this way you promote the development of a beautifully dense, bright green crown of leaves, which should develop flowers, fruits and seeds from around the 20th year of the ginkgo.

When your ginkgo tree has developed a beautiful crown after a few years, pruning is no longer necessary.

A fan leaf tree does not know diseases

The ginkgo tree has been able to assert itself on our earth for so long. He’s probably already encountered every pest and pathogen the world has produced. No one knows exactly how old he is. Some scientists give it an age of 300 million years and that it predates the dinosaurs. So older than 225 million years, that’s an established consensus.

During this time, the ginkgo survived some more or less strong ice ages. In more than 225 million years, he really had enough time to optimally develop his powers of resistance.

In any case, it is never actually attacked by diseases or pests. Its truly amazing resilience is also noticeable in other areas. A ginkgo withstands insect plagues and fungi, fire and air pollution, snow storms and the greenhouse effect, and even after being burned under an atomic bomb it responds with unperturbed sprouting some time later.

The ginkgo tree is a beautiful and amazing tree. Easy to care for once established, and you will certainly never need pesticides on it. Only the location should be really well considered. With a tree that is more than 1000 years old, a mistake cannot be corrected so quickly.

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