Ground growing Ginkgo ?

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Ground growing Ginkgo ?

Post  Brett Summers on Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:01 pm

We are chatting about Ginkgo Bonsai down on the Aussie Forum. It seems the best Ginkgo have fairly chunky old looking trunks. It seems that they take some time to thicken so I was wondering if anyone has any experience ground growing them. How long to get about 15cm or half a foot trunk?
This fine example is from "Bonsai Europe Today #6" As how I see great Ginkgo Bonsai



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Re: Ground growing Ginkgo ?

Post  Kev Bailey on Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:29 pm

My experience of ground growing them has been disappointing compared to other trees. Several years resulted in less girth than the same batch of seedling ones grown on in boxes. Must have been something to do with my soil conditions, I think. Good luck.

BTW One of the worst tree consultations I ever did for anyone, was when a friend asked me if I'd scout around his employer's newly acquired mansion and grounds to spot any good trees worth keeping. I went to take a look about a week later and was horrified to see that the biggest tree on his hillside patch had been felled to open up the view. It was a centuries old Ginkgo! The stump was over 2M (6 feet) across. On the plus side, it was already sprouting hundreds of new buds all around the cut line.

Please be careful photographing books and magazines. It still infringes the copyright of the photographer and/or publisher unless it is "out of copyright".

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Re: Ground growing Ginkgo ?

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:23 pm

Kev Bailey wrote:My experience of ground growing them has been disappointing compared to other trees. Several years resulted in less girth than the same batch of seedling ones grown on in boxes. Must have been something to do with my soil conditions, I think. Good luck.

I've noticed the same thing. I just don't think there is a "shortcut" with ginkgos. They are just slow - period.

I do think that part of what you're seeing with those fat trunks like the one in the picture are the "chi-chi" (breasts) that form on certain ginkgos with age. They hang like stalactites from the trunk and branches of old trees in pots and in gardens - but they have to be the "chi-chi icho" type ginkgo. It looks like the one in the picture has chi-chi that have grown down the sides on the trunk and into the soil which add considerably to the girth and texture of the trunk. I saw the same thing on a friend's bonsai, one chi-chi grew down the side of the bonsai all the way to the bottom of the pot and had actually pushed the tree up and forward. When we repotted it we actually had to cut it out below the soil surface to get the tree back into the pot at the correct level! They are a form of aerial root, like an upside down cypress knee. Their formation may have something to do with the gender of the tree, I can't remember the details. Maybe someone else here can explain it better, I know Bill Valavanis probably can.

Back to what Kev observed, I think they do develop better in a pot. It is time consuming and involves a lot of growing out and cutting back hard. Otherwise you end up with boring, arrow straight branches with no character. Or import one like I'd be willing to bet the one in the picture was.

R

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Re: Ground growing Ginkgo ?

Post  Randy_Davis on Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:48 pm

Russell Coker wrote:

I've noticed the same thing. I just don't think there is a "shortcut" with ginkgos. They are just slow - period.

I do think that part of what you're seeing with those fat trunks like the one in the picture are the "chi-chi" (breasts) that form on certain ginkgos with age. They hang like stalactites from the trunk and branches of old trees in pots and in gardens - but they have to be the "chi-chi icho" type ginkgo. It looks like the one in the picture has chi-chi that have grown down the sides on the trunk and into the soil which add considerably to the girth and texture of the trunk. I saw the same thing on a friend's bonsai, one chi-chi grew down the side of the bonsai all the way to the bottom of the pot and had actually pushed the tree up and forward. When we repotted it we actually had to cut it out below the soil surface to get the tree back into the pot at the correct level! They are a form of aerial root, like an upside down cypress knee. Their formation may have something to do with the gender of the tree, I can't remember the details. Maybe someone else here can explain it better, I know Bill Valavanis probably can.
R

Russell,

chi-Chi is an old selected Japanese cultivar of G. Biloba that has been around for many-many decades. The "Breasts" are actually inordaninantly large growing dormant buds that swell and grow as the bark of the tree develops which is why you don't see them on newer growth. Here is a good example of a tree imported from Japan that is in the Chicago Botanical Gardens collection that shows the swollen buds quite well.
Rhttp://absbonsai.org/gallery/displayimage.php?album=12&pid=429#top_display_media

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Re: Ground growing Ginkgo ?

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:20 pm

So are they NOT aerial roots? That's always been my understanding. If they were vegetative wouldn't they grow up and out rather than down? On my friend's tree that I mentioned, the chi-chi developed on the trunk a few inches above the soil. Its growth was slow over a period of years until it hit the soil. Then, very rapidly it expanded becoming larger, wider, and like I said before hit the bottom of the pot and pushed the whole tree up and forward. I had never seen this before. I'm convinced that if the trunk were wrapped in sphagnum and kept moist that they would develop much faster. I have pictures on a disk somewhere.

The ginkgo in the link is beautiful. Very similar to my friend's, but older.

R

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Re: Ground growing Ginkgo ?

Post  Randy_Davis on Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:31 pm

Russell Coker wrote:So are they NOT aerial roots? That's always been my understanding. If they were vegetative wouldn't they grow up and out rather than down?

R

Good question! While I've never done a disection of one of the chi-chi my suspicion is that the tissue around the base of the bud is weak and with water or sap accumulation and gravity it forces the tissue to expand downward rather than in the upward direction. I believe that the tissue in question is the tissue that would normally create the "branch coller" of a normal tree branch. It would not be uncommon for them to form at the base of the tree first or actually anwhere for that matter as it's a dormant bud initial.

R

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Re: Ground growing Ginkgo ?

Post  William N. Valavanis on Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:20 pm

Nice Ginkgo in the photo!

But they are a "dime a dozen" like this and extremely common in Japan.

The long "adventitious roots" hanging down definately add to the appearance of the trunk diameter, and add a focal point too. The style and production of this style of Ginkgo bonsai are NOT grown in the ground. Most are air layered off street or garden trees and are the ends of branches.

The wood of Gingo is kind of soft and rots and does not heal well, so if you take a tall tree with a heavy trunk grown in a container or the ground or from a nursery and drastically prune it you would probably be dead before the wound produces enough callus tissue to cover it up.

Ginkgo is an excellent bonsai, but it's better to start from younger plants or to air layer larger bonsai or garden trees to produce a bonsai as pictured.

Bill

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Re: Ground growing Ginkgo ?

Post  Randy_Davis on Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:41 pm

William N. Valavanis wrote:Nice Ginkgo in the photo!


The long "adventitious roots" hanging down

Bill

Here is a quote from UCMP description of them. "Ginkgo trees can also reproduce asexually. This occurs when woody structures, known as burls grow down from underneath large branches. If they contact the ground, they will root themselves and form new leaves. Actually, they are deeply embedded spur shoots with buds, but it is still unknown why this development occurs." Here is the Link http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/seedplants/ginkgoales/ginkgomm.html

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Ground growing Ginko

Post  sunip on Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:05 pm

Hy Brett,
I had a ginko in my garden for 35 years after an initial growth i did not went further
and stayed about 3 meters high also a replant with new soil did not work.
So 4 years ago i decided to use it for bonsai, it had only a 8,5 cm. nerbari diameter.
It does well now.
The story is, after going true all of this i read that there are varieties that stay small,
there was nothing wrong with him. So be aware of the variety, there are plenty.
The other thing is a few years ago my neighbour saw a hundred year old ginko down,
since then the tree developed a new 6 meter trunk, no problem there to it seems.
regards, Sunip Wink

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Re: Ground growing Ginkgo ?

Post  Brett Summers on Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:29 am

Thanks a bunch for all the great replies. Lots of info to digest here thumbs up

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