Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture, Virginia Tech

(Ginkgo biloba)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 80 feet

Spread: 40 feet

Shape: Spreading, a lot of variation in the species

Ginkgo is a large shade tree that is tolerant of adverse growing conditions and has a bright yellow fall foliage color. One should only plant male trees since female trees bear fruit that smell like vomit.

Plant Needs:

Zone: 4 to 9

Light: Partial shade to full sun

Moisture: Wet, moist, or dry

Soil Type: Sandy, loam, or clay

pH Range: 3.7 to 8.0


Suggested uses for this plant include shade, street tree, and specimen plant.

Planting Notes:

Transplants readily, and is easy to establish.

Buy only grafted, male (non-fruiting) cultivars because the fruit of female trees has an obnoxious odor.

Prefers sandy, deep, moist soil but is very adaptable to wide range of soil types and pH.

Tolerates city conditions (air pollution and road salt).


Easy to grow and maintain because of its adaptability and resistance to insects and pests.

Prune in the spring.


No serious problems.


Consult local garden centers, historic or public gardens and arboreta regarding cultivars and related species that grow well in your area.

Cultivars of Ginkgo biloba:

`Autumn Gold' is a male cultivar with good fall color.

`Fastigiata' and Princeton Sentry® are columnar male forms.


Ginkgo is a deciduous gymnosperm and geological evidence dates the age of this species to 150 million years. The fall color (bright butter yellow) of this species is truly magnificent but can be brief if there is a hard frost in which case most of the leaves will drop.

This tree readily adapts to city conditions.

Ginkgo is suited for bonsai.


This material was developed by Carol Ness as part of the Interactive Design and Development Project funded by the Kellogg Foundation.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

May 1, 2009

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