How to Prune a Ginkgo Tree
Pruning the Ginkgo tree growing in your yard is simple following some easy guidelines. Ginkgo tree, ginkgo biloba, and gingko biloba all refer to the same tree. How you prune your ginkgo will depend on which variety you have.
Which Variety Do You Have?
It is important to determine which ginko variety you have because each variety has unique growth properties requiring different pruning strategies. Some ginkgo varieties can grow over 100 feet tall, while dwarf varieties barely reach 3 feet tall. Also there are different canopy shapes, with some having a pyramid shape and others straighter like a column. Some varieties are compact and dense while others are more spread out and sparse. The Autumn Gold is a popular variety that can grow up to 50 feet tall with a pyramid-shaped habit that can expand up to 30 feet wide. The Variegata has a variegated leaf, and it grows up to 26 feet tall with a very open habit. Princeton Sentry has a more column shape, growing up to seventy feet tall, and a habit about 10 feet wide. The Troll is a dwarf variety that has a dense, compact habit that grows slowly up to about 3 feet high. Consider the variety that you have and its growth properties while developing you pruning strategy.
Light Pruning Precautions
Regardless of the variety you have, Ginkgo trees all have certain traits that you need to be aware of before pruning them. Ginkgo biloba trees can grow rapidly in their first 4 to 6 years reaching up to 9 feet high. Ultimately though, most varieties are very slow growing, taking up to 50 years to mature into a stunning specimen. Ginkgo trees can survive hundreds of years due to their outstanding disease and pest resistance. The bark on these trees is very delicate though, and the tree may not heal well if the bark is damaged. So, use caution working around the trees with tools and avoid tilting your ladder up against the tree trunk. Consider protecting your ginkgo tree from you tree climbing pets.
Observe your ginkgo biloba tree over time. Each year brings a new growth of shoots that spring up around the base of the tree. These shoots help to beef up the tree trunk enabling it to support its massive canopy that ultimately will establish. If you see damaged branches, prune them delicately. This is best performed in the summer months.
Heavy Pruning Precautions
Severe pruning should only be done in January or February while the tree is most dormant. Consider heavy pruning of your ginkgo biloba tree very carefully. Cutting off the larger branches can create wounds that may not heal well, especially if it is done while the tree is not in its dormant period. Avoid trimming branches that might be vital to the tree's over all structure, either now, or in the future. This could weaken the tree or cause its overall health to become compromised.
Follow these simple guidelines and enjoy your Ginkgo tree for many seasons.