Venerable trees but vigorous youngsters

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Green thumbs down

to letting a tree or shrub stagnate, decline and die because you assumed it was simply slow growing.

People often say to us about ginkgo trees:

"They're very slow growing, you know."

No, we don't know that. In our experience and that of many others, Ginkgo trees are not slow growing.

24' feet in 25 years... - Harrison L. Flint - Landscape Plants for Eastern North America 10 to 15' over a 10 to 12 year period although with adequate water and fertilizer this tree wll grow reasonably fast... -Michael Dirr - Manual of Woody Landscape Plants
The ginkgo tree that donated this branch to the cause is about 20 years old and still growing 15 to 18 inches per year. Here, a bit more than 16" from bud scar (see below) to tip. That's not slow on any scale. If your ginkgo grows more slowly, figure out what's wrong!

The ginkgo tree that donated this branch to the cause is about 20 years old and still growing 15 to 18 inches per year. Here, a bit more than 16" from bud scar (see below) to tip. That's not slow on any scale. If your ginkgo grows more slowly, figure out what's wrong!

When young -- before beginning to flower -- a ginkgo may add 18 inches per year.

This is important to know because if a tree grows slowly but has the potential to do more, something is wrong and it should be corrected.

Basics of growth rate measurement on a ginkgo, below.

Much more about tree and shrub growth rate in What's Coming Up 50: How to measure it, how to use the information.

 

Above: First, look for the terminal bud scar -- the scar that goes clear 'round the twig, marking where the bud was that was the tip of the branch when it began to grow in spring.

Many trees bear their bud scars for many years, until the bark becomes thick enough to conceal them. So you can "read back" to see if the tree is growing as well or better than in previous years. Here's that branch, with two yars growth - from tip to first bud scar, then from bud scar to next lower bud scar. It grew about the same amount for two years in a row.

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