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Ginkgo biloba
maidenhair tree
The Ginkgo is the last member of a family of trees common in prehistoric times, and was, in fact, thought to be extinct in the wild until rediscovered in the 17th century in eastern China. It is deciduous, once thought to be a conifer, but now classed by itself. It is immediately recognizable by its columnar shape and graceful fan-shaped leaves which turn a lovely yellow in autumn.

Lighting: Full sun, especially necessary for good autumn color. very young trees may need some shelter in midsummer.
Temperature: Hardy in Zones 5-8, and grown as a street tree even in Buffalo, NY. However, its roots have a high moisture content,and are easily destroyed by frost when exposed to the elements in a shallow bonsai container. Winter protectionof the roots is thus a necessity.
Watering:Needs a fair amount of water during growth, but soil should be kept fairly dry ib winter to avoid frost-damage to roots.
Feeding: Twice monthly, spring-midsummer and in early September-October.
Repotting: Young specimens require annual repotting, older specimens every 2-3 years. Repot in spring, preferably early spring, in basic soil mix.
Styling: Young trees have an open branch structure, but older trees form dense columns. It is best to style Ginkgo according to its natural shape. Ginkgo has large leaves which do not easily reduce, so use it for medium to large size bonsai. Pruning scars will not heal, so avoid cutting large branches. Shoots grow in clusters of leaves - reduce the cluster to 2-3 leaves with topmost leaf on the outside. New branches should be pruned back to 2-3 buds while young. Ginkgo is usually shaped by pruning, but may be lightly wired spring-autumn. Great care must be taken to protect the bark as it is delicate and scars will not heal. Leaf pruning does not produce appreciable results. Leaves will reduce somewhat from exposure to high light levels and controlled watering.
Propagation:Seed can be sown in spring after cold-treatment. The Ginkgo may be air-layered in spring, or hardwood cuttings may be taken in autumn.
Pests:Male specimens are recommended as the seeds from females emit a rancid odor. However, this is much less of a factor in bonsaithan landscaping as bonsai Ginkgo rarely fruit. The Ginkgo is almost pest-free, and tolerates pollution well.
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