Ginkgo biloba is
the sole surviving member of the extinct division of plants known as
Gingkophya, which dates back some 270 million years. Ginkgo
trees are distantly related to conifers and cycads.
These deciduous trees are prized for their bright fall foliage and medicinal benefits, so
it’s not surprising that many homeowners would want to add them to their
landscape. And while there a number of ways to propagate these trees, ginkgo
cutting propagation are the preferred method of cultivation.
Propagating ginkgo cuttings is the easiest way to make more
of these beautiful trees. The cultivar ‘Autumn Gold’ is the easiest to root
When it comes to propagating cuttings, your first question
may be, “can you root ginkgo in the water?” The short answer is no. Ginkgo trees
are sensitive to poor drainage; they prefer well-drained soil and do well in
urban areas surrounded by concrete. Too much water drowns them, so rooting in
water is not very successful.
Just as there is more than one way to propagate a ginkgo
tree, such as with seeds, there is more than one way to propagate by way of
cuttings depending on your level of expertise.
In the summer (May-June in the Northern Hemisphere), cut the
tip ends of growing branches into 6- to 7-inch (15-18 cm.) lengths using a
sharp knife (preferred) or a pruner (tends to crush the stem where the cut was
made). Look for the hanging yellow cones of pollen on male trees and only take
cuttings from these; female trees produce sticky smelly seed sacks that are
Stick stem ends into loosened garden soil or a 2- to 4-inch
(5-10 cm.) a deep container of the rooting mix (usually contains vermiculite).
The mix helps prevent molds and fungus from growing in the seedbed. Rooting
hormone (a powdered substance that aids rooting) may be used if desired.
Keep the seedbed damp but not sopping wet. The cuttings should root in 6-8
If winters aren’t too cold where you garden, the cuttings
can be left in place until spring, then planted in their permanent spots. In
harsh weather, pot the cuttings into 4- to 6-inch (10-15 cm.) pots of potting
soil. Move pots to a sheltered area until spring.
Make 6- to 7-inch stem tip cuttings using a sharp knife (to
avoid bark ripping) in summer to assure sex of trees. Males will have hanging
yellow pollen cones, while females will have stinky seed sacks. Use rooting
hormone to help improve success when rooting cuttings from ginkgo.
Insert cut end of the stem into rooting hormone, then into
the prepared soil bed. Keep soil bed evenly moist by using a light covering (e.g.
bug tent) or daily watering, preferably with a timer. Cuttings should root in
about 6-8 weeks and maybe planted out or left in place until spring.
Take stem tip cuttings of around 6 inches (15 cm.) long in
summer for fall rooting to assure cultivation of male trees. Dip cuttings in
rooting hormone IBA TALC 8,000 ppm, place in a frame and keep moist.
Temperature range should remain about 70-75 F. (21-24 C.) with rooting taking
place in 6-8 weeks.
Making more ginkgo from cuttings is a cheap and fun way to
get free trees!
Note: if you are
allergic to cashews, mangoes, or poison ivy, avoid male ginkgoes. Their pollen
is very aggravating and powerfully allergy-triggering (a 7 on a 10 scale).