Maidenhair Tree (also commonly known as Ginkgo) is normally found only in urban areas of Ohio, since it is not a native tree and usually does not escape from cultivation. It forms a massive and majestic shade tree with age, and is very adaptable to harsh sites, especially those with dry, poor soils. It grows up to 80 feet tall by 60 feet wide when found in the open, with a slow to medium growth rate. Its shape is upright pyramidal and sparsely branched when young, becoming upright spreading and very dense at maturity. Its lower branches become pendulous with age, especially those of the female trees that have repeatedly borne heavy crops of fruits.
Maidenhair Tree was discovered by explorers visiting temples in southeastern China and Japan several hundred years ago. It was brought back to Europe and North America where it has flourished ever since. It is the only known surviving member of the Ginkgo Family, being a "living fossil" that is reportedly over 150 million years old. As a gymnosperm (actually having a "naked seed", rather than a true fruit), Maidenhair Tree is distantly related to the Firs, Larches, Spruces, Pines, Hemlocks, and Bald Cypress, among others..
Planting Requirements - Maidenhair Tree is very adaptable to a wide range of optimum and harsh growing conditions. It prefers moist, well-drained, sandy to fertile soils of variable pH, but adapts to almost any soil and moisture condition, except for wet soils, which it will not tolerate. However, it needs attention during the first year of transplanting, as its young root system may be quite sparse, and need supplemental water during times of drought. It also tolerates salt spray and salt deposition to its surrounding soil in winter, making it a favorite street tree for its year-round urban tolerance, including air pollution and dust. However, this tree should be reserved for large open spaces where it is not crowded, such as in parks, cemeteries, and commercial sites. It grows in full sun to partial sun, and is found in zones 4 to 8.
Potential Problems - Maidenhair Tree is one of the most pest and pathogen-free trees available, exhibiting virtually no problems once established. Its wood is lightweight yet flexible in high winds, tolerates heavy loads of fruit during the growing season (on female trees), and ice loads during the winter. Its primary drawbacks are getting too large in confined spaces with maturity, and the rancid odor emitted by the fruits from female trees in early autumn.