Ginkgo leavesGinkgo treeGinkgo barkGinkgo leaves
Geijera parviflora

Ginkgo biloba is an ancient tree. It is so old that there are Ginkgos found in the fossil record 270 million years ago. Also known as Maidenhair tree, this deciduous tree has a graceful pyramidal habit when mature. The leaves are a bright green fan shape during the spring and summer. In the autumn these distinctly shaped leaves turn a bright yellow and drop in a swirl of color within a few days. This makes for a dramatic and memorable show in the fall. The bark is silvery gray and fissured which is another attractive feature in the winter when all of the leaves are long gone.

Ginkgos are dioecious, which just means there are male trees and female trees. Most nursery grown cultivars are grown from clone tissue and are almost always male trees. The female trees are known to drop sticky, smelly (vomit fragrance) cones which many find unpleasant. So its a boys club only when selecting trees from a nursery unless you grow from seeds. Odd fact: Ginkgos can spontaneously change sex years after planting, proving that nature will prevail over time. Originally it is native to China where it is endangered in the wild, but cultivated in tree farms for medicinal uses.

Ginkgos can adapt to low water after a few years but will NOT THRIVE in windy conditions and still look attractive. There is a debate among club members that this tree prefers heavier soils than sand and dry season water may be necessary to get established in Marina. PLEASE NOTE: Only ONE happy Ginkgo has been observed in the city, where it is protected from the wind and receiving water via a drip system (visible on Fitzgerald Circle).

This is a good selection for most street tree location as it grows slowly (generally) does not lift sidewalks, BUT drops masses of leaves in a short time frame once a year. Ginkgos are reported to grow very slowly at first and then pick up growth after a few years. This tree can potentially get very big at over 100 feet and live to be very old - reports of 2,500 year old trees exist! It can grow well in narrow street strips and is very low maintenance as far as trimming and pruning with few reported pests. This species is showing up on a lot of recommended urban tree lists in California and is lovely when all of its needs are met.

Maximum height
66-150 feet
60-100 feet wide

Life Span
200+ years
possibly to 2,500!

Criteria for Ranking

1 (low) - 5 (high)

Drought Tolerance after first year establishment 3
Wind Tolerance 2
Frost Tolerance 5
Surface Roots/Sidewalk Lifting 4*
Power Lines Proximity 3*
Cost/Maintenance 5
Disease Resistance/Hardiness 4
*note asterisk denote species can get large enough to tangle in power lines - not recommended under power lines
*note asterisk denote species can lift pavement as tree gets larger over time.
Location This photo is the only specimen currently known in Marina. Note that it is VERY PROTECTED from the wind with the cypress wind break behind.