Ginkgo Water Requirements: How To Water Ginkgo Trees

By: Mary Ellen Ellis

A ginkgotree, also known as maidenhair, is a special tree, a living fossil and oneof the most ancient species on the planet. It’s also a lovely ornamental orshade tree in yards. Once ginkgo trees are established, they require littlemaintenance and care. But considering ginkgo water requirements will help youensure the trees in your garden are healthy and thriving.

How Much Water Does Ginkgo Need?

Watering ginkgo trees is similar to other trees in thelandscape. They tend towards needing less water and being more tolerant ofdrought than overwatering. Ginkgo trees do not tolerate standing water andsoggy roots. Before even considering how much to water your tree, be sure youplant it somewhere with soil that drains well.

During the first few months after you plant a young, newtree, water it nearly every day or a few times a week. Water the roots deeplyto help them grow and establish. Just avoid soaking the soil to the point ofbeing soggy.

Once established, your ginkgo tree will not need a lot ofadditional watering. Rainfall should be adequate, but for the first few yearsit may need some extra water during dry and hot spells of summer weather.Although they tolerate drought, ginkgoes still grow better if provided withwater during these times.

How to Water Ginkgo Trees

You can water your young, establishing ginkgo trees by handwith a hose or with an irrigation system. The former may be the better choice becausethese trees don’t need regular watering once established. Just use the hose tosoak the area around the trunk where the roots are for several minutes.

Ginkgo tree irrigation can be problematic. With a sprinklersystem or other type of irrigation, you run the risk of overwatering. This isespecially true with more mature trees that really don’t need much more thanregular rainfall. If you water your grass with a timed sprinkler system, makesure it is not watering the ginkgo too much.

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How to Care for a Ginkgo Biloba Tree

When established, Ginkgo biloba grows into a large, decorative tree with few care needs. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, Ginkgo biloba is also called maidenhair tree, and features rich green, fan-shaped leaves that turn bright yellow in fall. The growth rate of a newly transplanted maidenhair tree is slow, though adequate water and fertilizer help the tree establish and grow more quickly. Frost protection isn't needed. The outer pulp of the Maidenhair tree's fruit seeds as well as the raw seed kernels are toxic if ingested, and may also cause dermatitis.

Why is my ginkgo tree wilting?

Regular watering is essential for the first 2 to 3 years. The soils around the tree should be consistently moist. Avoid letting the soils dry out in-between watering. The tree is a hardy species once mature and does not require much watering.

Subsequently, question is, do ginkgo trees have deep roots? General: The Ginkgo is a medium to large tree that reaches 20–35m tall, although some specimens in Page 2 China are over 50m tall. Ginkgo trees often have angular crown and long, somewhat erratic branches. They are usually deep rooted and resistant to wind and snow damage.

Simply so, why are my ginkgo tree leaves turning yellow?

Ginkgo are also subject to chlorosis if your soil is alkaline chlorosis will turn the leaves yellow, but they typically will have a deep green fan pattern within the yellow leaves. If the foliage is falling off without turning yellow first, it is a sign of root stress or of heat stress.

What does a ginkgo leaf look like?

Features simple, fan-shaped bright green leaves that are 2–3" long and just as wide. Provides attractive yellow fall color.

Landscape Uses

Ginkgo biloba trees are attractive enough to be used as specimen plants in your landscaping, particularly because of their golden fall foliage color. They are more tolerant of compacted soil than many other types of trees. They are also disease-resistant and tolerate urban pollution. All of these qualities—along with their small leaves—make them good choices for planting along city streets, where they can grow into tall shade trees. At the other end of the spectrum, they are also used for Japanese bonsai.

Whether for city streets or for people's yards, the male trees are preferred (unless you have allergies), because they are fruitless. Female trees bear a fruit-like product (actually a seed ball) that not only emits a foul odor but also is slippery when it drops down on sidewalks or driveways. Cleaning up after female Ginkgo biloba trees is a high-maintenance task. The problematic "fruit" is about the size of a cherry tomato. Fortunately, all-male cultivars have been created through grafting. Buying one of these cultivars gives you a way to experience the beauty of the tree while avoiding the mess.

Ginkgo Species, Maidenhair Tree

Family: Ginkgoaceae
Genus: Ginkgo (GING-ko) (Info)
Species: biloba (bi-LOW-buh) (Info)
Synonym:Ginkgo macrophylla
Synonym:Salisburia biloba
Synonym:Salisburia macrophylla


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 °C (-40 °F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From seed direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Seed does not store well sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Citrus Heights, California

Desert Hot Springs, California

Rowland Heights, California

Stockton, California(2 reports)

Walnut, California(2 reports)

Maryland Heights, Missouri

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina(2 reports)

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Summerville, South Carolina

Mountlake Terrace, Washington

Gardeners' Notes:

On Sep 5, 2019, RandyAllen from White House, TN wrote:

Love the living fossil - Ginkgo.
I planted my first one in 1972. I purchased at Kmart in Nashville, TN. It would be approximately 90’ tall now and 3.5’ dbh if the successive landowner didn’t hate raking leaves. So he cut it down even in top notch health. One in Nashville I measured at 90’ tall and 5’ dbh in 2017. That one reminds me of the great Hiroshima survivor in that it has developed evident vertical flutations around the trunk. They can become as big as any tree in TN. I’ve planted many in Nashville and here at my Level 4 Arboretum, . Unlike most commercially planted Ginkgos, under good conditions they are not open and spindly, yet become thick and dense . read more crowned. With beautiful, full, pyramidal crown. I’ll try to round up a few of my pictures to post. Randy Allen

On Oct 24, 2016, duescher22 from Two Rivers, WI wrote:

Love the tree! Last spring i bought 100 seeds and 60 of them germinated. Most of them were planted in bargain poting mix. Some in a premium mix. They did experience some neglect but most of them are 8" tall now in the late fall. There's a few "runts" about 1 1/2". For germating i kept the soil evenly moist and compared to other trees i germated at the same time they seem temperature sensitive. All but the ginkgos didn't germaninate till the soil temperature was near 65°f then they came up like corn. mine were in a cold frame.

On Feb 5, 2015, alexgr1 from Dunnellon, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

On Jan 5, 2015, idahocactus2 from Boise, ID wrote:

Many of these ginkgo trees are planted along Capitol Blvd. in Boise and are doing very well. I think they are 25 years old or so, and put on quite a display in the fall.

They are planted in various parts of the Boise Valley and don't seem to be too fussy about soil types.

On May 16, 2014, bobbieberecz from Concrete, WA wrote:

I have all the right conditions for this tree: lots of rain, sandy/loam soil, etc. I didn't have full sun. It has grown about 6 inches in 3 years. It looks perfectly healthy but just kind of hangin' out there. I just transplanted it into a flower border where it will get regular watering, full sun, and nutritious mulch with the other plants. My only concern is that it will out-grow its spot, providing too much shade for the other plants. I bought it for the foliage, both green and yellow, and for the dainty leaf shape and movement. It hasn't disappointed me on that corner.

On Mar 13, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

One of the most distinctive and beautiful of all deciduous trees.

If you're growing it only as an ornamental, buy only bud-grafted male cultivars, as the fleshy seed covering that females drop is messy, stinks of vomit and contains the same resin that causes poison ivy rash. Seed-grown plants take 20 to 50 years before their sex can be determined. Freed of their coverings, the seeds are considered a delicacy by the Chinese, and are used in both traditional and modern medicine.

Males make a great street or shade tree where there is room for the stout trunk. In their youth, they may be gawky and sparsely branched, but in maturity they're magnificent. They can reach 100' tall or more and grow wider than tall with age---and live over a thousand years. Their leaves. read more turn a luminous gold late in the fall color season.

Tough and adaptable, tolerant of salt, heat, poor soils, and air pollution, their most important requirement is good sun. No significant pests or diseases. Capable of fast growth under optimal conditions, but usually slow-growing in the landscape, about 1' per year. This is one of the toughest of urban trees.

These were among the first east Asian trees encountered by European plant explorers and cultivated in the west, because every Confucian temple or monastery had to have at least one. They have been found growing in the wild only in the last decade.

This tree is a living fossil, and a kind of (no longer) missing link between the conifers and the other flowering plants. Plants that are recognizably ginkgos appear in fossils dating back 250 million years, 2 1/2 time the age of that other famous living fossil, the dawn redwood.

On Aug 30, 2012, Mike_W from Sterling, MA wrote:

I have been growing this tree in my Sterling, MA yard (zone 6) for a few years and have nothing but good things to say about it. Currently it is about 3 feet tall and grows about 6-8 inches per year. It seems to tolerate low rainfall to some degree as we had very little rain this past summer, but it thrives when the soil is kept moist. The only caution I have is in regards to animals sampling the tree. I had another Ginkgo that was about 12 inches tall and each years growth was snipped off by rabbits and chipmunks, so if planting a small seedling, I would advise protecting it with some sort of fencing, etc. until it grows tall enough to be out of reach.

On Jul 3, 2012, manza from Long Beach, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I heard that it can take 20 years until the ginkgo tree produces fruit, so you can tell what sex the tree is. Can anyone confirm this?

On Jul 11, 2010, mums_legacy from Albany, CA (Zone 11) wrote:

I live in Albany, California a smallish on San Francisco Bay bordered by Berkeley, El Cerrito and Richmond. This area has historically been prone to Oak Root fungus and during the 70's the city planted a multitude of MALE Gincko trees on certain residential streets in the affected areas. The tree outside our house was perfect and healthy and we took very good care of it. My negative rating is due to Mother Nature, and her ability to allow our gincko to become fertile, and begin producing the Gincko fruit. That is also fine except for the putrid stench of the fruit would emit upon falling and/or being stepped on. I can describe the smell exactly as a combination of Vomit and Dog Poo. As these trees were along the street and branched over the street and the sidewalk, the city had to rem. read more ove our tree after receiving a signed petition from neighbors, local business owners and, YES, us. Be very careful. At least we had 15 years of beauty and shade.

On Jul 7, 2010, velveteena from Seattle, WA wrote:

I LOVE this tree---reminds me of my childhood, as well as visits to Japan. My neighbor and I each have a ginkgo growing in a pot, and doing nicely after three years or so. Very good, steady growth, but I do wonder how long before it MUST go into the ground.

On Jul 5, 2010, cvece from San Diego, CA wrote:

I learned about ginkos in my science book in 4th grade, and to my delight found 2 beautiful trees growing in front of a church near my house in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This was in the mid 1950's. Every fall ,even after I moved away from that neighbor hood, I somehow managed to visit the trees and their wonderful golden display. Standing under them, I felt so touched by time and connected to it.Then I moved to San Diego, married , and had 4 children I .My oldest son, knowing my passion for this mythical tree, took me down to the old meat packing district in Manhattan when I was visiting a few years ago. They're everywhere, though pruned so as not to branch too far into the street,and so are more columnar .Earlier, I had debated finding one to plant at our house because I was afraid of killi. read more ng it through neglect- my family consumed so much time. Finally, after all this time, I saw one at a local nursery in a 4" pot, just waiting for me ,it seemed. I planted it, and it's flourishing- in a large plastic pot. It's about 4 years old. I've been debating where to put it in the garden. From the comments, I guess the answer is anywhere. Thanks all.

On Jul 5, 2010, kydrummer from Silver Spring, MD wrote:

There is a very large Ginko on the grounds of the Crawford Museum in Devou Park, just outside Covington, KY. I asked a staff member and they believe it's of sufficient age that it may have been sent to the family that owned the property by Thomas Jefferson, since they were know to be in contact with him and he had acquired some ginkos for Monticello.

On Jul 13, 2008, AlchemillaSkin from Oregon City, OR wrote:

Ginkgo has long been grown as a sacred tree in China and Japan and is often referred to as a "living fossel" - a single tree can live as long as 1000 years and the trees alive today are almost identical to those in fossil records predating the evolution of mammals!

We use extracts from the leaves of this beautiful tree to make organic skin care. Ginkgo leaves contain flavonoids and terpenoids - all potent antioxidants. For this reason the extracts are used in skin care as a free radical neutralizer (anti-aging treatment).

On Sep 3, 2007, Ragley from Ragley, LA wrote:

About 10 years ago, we planted a ginkgo here in SW Louisiana, not knowing a thing about it except that it's pretty. Since then we've had drought, freeze, rain and hurricane. It's been almost totally ignored, with occasional cow manure compost tossed around it. The hummingbirds, bluebirds and warblers like the branches and the woodpeckers have rows and rows of holes poked around the trunk. When we first got it, it was almost burned down by a nearby fire and another tree fell on it. I'd definitely call it a hardy tree that's easy to grow! It's about 12 - 15 feet tall, in spite of us.

On Sep 3, 2007, weedylady from Springfield, MO wrote:

I have a neighbor with two massive , very old ginkgo trees. They are gorgeous BUT. --they are female ginkgo trees and produce the most terrible fruit. The odor is horrible. Please be sure you plant a male tree to avoid the terrible smell of the ginkgo fruit.

On Nov 30, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

These trees have the most beautiful golden foliage in the Autumn. They hold their leaves longer than a lot of trees, so they are easy to spot going down the road.

Most have a nice regular shape with alternating branches that looks well in a landscape. The leaves are small, and do not make much of a mess when dropped.

On Jun 4, 2004, OhioBreezy from Dundee, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

I live in OH, a friend lives in WV, went there of a weekend, and she sent me home with a 6 foot tall tree, we dug it right before we left, it came home in car, not in any water or anything, planted next day some 16 hours later! It was just fine, a very very hardy tree. It has survived my Ohio winters and is just a beautiful specimen tree!.

The Ginkgo tree is one of the toughest plants around. In fact several trees survived the Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in WW 2. All the trees were within about a mile and some were about a half mile from the blast and survived!

On Dec 17, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Ginkgo is a popular street tree here as it seems to withstand fairly harsh environments, is relatively clean (male specimens - the females produce an abundance of smelly fruit) and provides dependable fall foliage in bright yellow.

On Sep 5, 2003, pleb from Plymouth,,
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have had three efforts at raising Ginkgo's from seed obtained from Chiltern's Seeds. This year I was successful with 100% germination of 10 large seeds.

On May 23, 2003, DLSLandscape from Dallas, TX wrote:

Gingkoes can generally be grown throughout the US, but here is some useful information for anyone wanting to plant one in a hot climate (such as Texas). A Gingko tree can scorch badly in full sun, especially if it is a young specimen. You are better off planting this tree in a spot with protection from the late afternoon sun. In fact, it makes a great understory tree and we have found that a Gingko will flourish in as little as four hours of daily sunlight. As the tree matures, its own leaves will protect its somewhat tender bark and allow it to grow well in a full sun location. It is also considered to be extremely slow growing. We have found that with 2-3 applications of moderate-rate nitrogen fertilizer per year, a Ginkgo can grow at a nice pace - comparable to a Redbud or Mexican. read more Plum. Gingkoes are truly a unique tree and well worth the effort.

On Mar 23, 2001, TheMrAugie from Penfield, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Internationally famous remnant of the dinosaur age, it forms a large tree in 100 years. A Chinese specimen is thought to be 4000 years old. Sexes are on separate trees(dioecious) and females produce fruit after about 20 years. The smelly fruit contains urushiol and must be separated from the large seed while wearing rubber gloves to avoid the 'poison-ivy' rash.

Watch the video: How to Plant a Ginkgo Tree - a beginners guide

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