Ginkgo Gone from Adams Morgan

Every year we talk about the putrid smell of the Ginkgo tree. And even though every year DDOT sprays the trees some still stink. Well, Adams Morgan has taken the solution to the next level. Since they are expanding the sidewalks for the streetscape improvement – yesterday – they decided to kill two birds with one stone and take down the huge gingko tree in front of Asylum on 18th St, NW. I don’t think many will shed a tear…

42 Comment

  • I will shed a tear. I think Ginko trees are beautiful and a very cool city tree–despite the smell.

  • They are quite beautiful, but I would be willing to guess you don’t live on a gingko tree-lined street. The very worst is when you step on one and bring the smell into your home. I have to tiptoe down my street in the fall and there’s no completely avoiding them.

    • I live on a street in adams morgan where both sides are lined with ginko’s. They are awesome, and to have all mature trees torn down and replaced with smaller ones sucks.

      Then again, I also learned how to wipe my feet, and if I walked in mud or goop – I learned to take my shoes off at the door before walking into my place. Thanks for the lessons, Mom!

      • Wow! Cranky ever?

      • I also learned how to wipe my feet, and if I walked in mud or goop

        Sure. And so long as you put some traps down, and fill any holes in your foundation, there’s no problem with swarms of rats burrowing in your back yard. Just part of living in the city.

        You clearly live on a street with male gingkos. It’s pretty funny, actually. People without a fucking clue what they’re talking about, and incapable of imagining what it’s like to live with what is the shittiest of shit-trees.

        We actually petitioned the city (successfully) to have five of these things cut down last year. We had a giant celebration when they were finally killed. Of course, several folks who lived at the opposite end of the block couldn’t understand what the problem was.

      • Actually, no I don’t. My street smells god-awful – and our building puts down a rug to help keep the crap outta the building. So I wipe my feet very well, and then take my shoes off before going into my place if I feel that was not enough.

        Because of this small life lesson my mother taught me, I do not track crap into my house. Amazing, isn’t it!

        You are right though: people who don’t know what the fuck they are talking about are really annoying.

      • Yeah, well you never learned to spell. It’s ginkgo. It also does not require an apostrophe in the plural.

        For the record, I find it a tad offensive when I encounter a neighbor’s smelly shoes in the hallway of my building. My mom taught me it was trashy to have the porch or front door lined with disgusting shoes. Thanks for the lessons, Mom!

        Every so often, however, when I accidentally discover I’ve stepped on a ginkgo berry and tracked it into my home, I curse the decision to plant the trees when certainly another shady variety of tree with pretty leaves was probably an option.

        • Wow, spelling. Damn, you got me! A spelling lesson. ZING! If that’s all you’ve got.. carry on Anon.

          For the record, you can read that I did not state I left my property in public areas. Comprehension is key. Your use of smelly, trashy and disgusting says alot about your upbringing.

          Everyonce in a while, I curse as well. I just don’t blame tree berries for my inabilities. If I track in crap, I get upset with myself for being careless. Accidents happen, but to hate trees for it… priceless!

          • He probably also thinks all dogs should be put down because he steps in dog crap every once in awhile.

            Same line of thinking, but you obviously don’t think that, do you Anon?

            And yes, I have lived with the vomit-stench before. Ginkgos are my favorite tree. I remember when I was little and we had to do the leaf identification in science class, my science teacher was impressed when I came in with ginkgo leaves from our local park. I think ginkgos are beautiful, and I would love to live on a street lined with them again.

  • The plan is to replace all trees along that corridor during the streetscape construction. Apparently the smelly trees were prioritized for removal.

  • I think that cutting down that large gingko tree stinks.

    Now that stretch of Adams Morgan is even bleaker.

  • They are going to place shade trees up the entire street as a part of this project. These trees don’t provide much shade or leafy cover, so it will actually be a massive improvement when it’s all done.

  • It’s funny because the gingko fruit is used in Chinese cooking. I used to live on a street with gingko trees and my mom would urge me (jokingly I think) to pick them and sell them in Chinatown. Could have been a lucrative side job…

    • There are a handful of gingkos in Rose Park, at the east end of Georgetown, and I’ve seen one (presumably, based on what you just said) Chinese couple gathering the fruit from the ground every fall for the last 9 years. Your mom probably wasn’t joking!

    • ah, yes, indeed it is used in Chinese cooking.

      over ripe gingko berries are the key ingredient in the pu-pu platter.

      • It’s not the fleshy coating, which is the part that smells, but the nut inside that’s used for Chinese cooking.

  • doesn’t the dc gov’t “neuter” the trees somehow? I remember this from a few years ago. they have some way to mitigate the stinkberries.

    • They spray trees on an annual basis to try to prevent the fruit from developing, but the spray isn’t always effective.

  • Thank god. these are gross and ginko trees are not great shade trees either. As long as they are replaced I am all for it

  • Doesn’t look like that little fella had the greatest space to grow in anyway. Hoepfully they will be smart and put in a more city appropriate tree 🙂

  • They could also plant some male Ginkgo trees. Only the female trees have the berries (bring on the misogynist comments). They’re a very hardy city tree, so it’s unfortunate it had to go, but the smell can be a little overpowering.

  • About time! I love (male) ginkos but man I hated that f*in tree. There was so little sidewalk next to it, there was never enough room to sidestep around the vomitberries.

    This should be the standard approach (construction or not): replace ’em one at a time so we eventually get rid of the smell but the city doesn’t look decimated.

  • While it does suck that they had to cut the trees down, you can’t exactly expand a sidewalk and leave the trees where they were…sorta defeats the purpose of the widened sidewalk. The trees will all be replaced with shade trees (can’t remember the kind) and yes, it will take a while for them to grow, but they will eventually and in the mean time, we can all take advantage of the great view of the Monument from 18th St.

  • The gingkos are fine trees in the summer, but are amazing in the autumn when the leaves turn pure golden yellow and fall in a shower, like little gold coins. Yes the berries stink and it’s inconvienent but to me it’s worth it. And yes I have lots of close-up exposure to them – they are in front of my house, and they were immediately outside my dorm window in college. They are a very hardy tree which makes them good for city plantings, but they are slow-growing and it is difficult to know which is male and which is female, early on… by the time you can tell, the tree is big and hard to replace. (And I’d rather have the stinko berries than the the nasty manure-scented mulch my neighbors use.)

    • That manure-scented mulch is 10x worse in my opinion (and I live nearby a street of gingko trees). I much prefer the mint-scented mulch ;p

  • andy

    it’s the berries. they are the big problem. if they can’t be eliminated without eliminating the trees, eliminate the trees. these are meant to be decorative trees, not a nuisance.

  • It’s always unfortunate when tall trees are cut down, but those things really do stink.

    The city planted some sycamore trees on my street, and I’ve been surprised by how quickly they’re growing so long as people water them.

  • Thank goodness, now those fart berries won’t prevent me from smelling the frat-boy Jumbo Slice vomit on weekend mornings.

  • How can you just cut down an endangered tree? Anyway, as a long time resident of Adams-Morgan I’ve always loved the Gingkos, very sad to see these trees cut down. I don’t know what the big stink is about; I actually didn’t even notice the smell unless it’s pointed out and I didn’t think they smelled that bad when I did notice them. Seems like people just need something to complain about sometimes.

  • The trees on 18th Street will be replaced with mature trees as part of the new 18th Street Streetscape construction, as follows: Panicled Golden Raintree (x10), American Sweetgum (x10), Swamp White Oak (x10), American Elm (x9), Chinese Elm (x15). Structural soil will be used with a drainage system underneath. Most of these will be planted in the Spring. In order to widen the sidewalks, trees had to be removed otherwise there would be trees in the middle of the new sidewalks.

    See: for more information or
    call/visit Tom Pipkin in the DDOT project office at:

    2314 18th Street, NW, 2nd Floor
    Washington, D.C. 20009
    (202) 621-8968
    Drop In Hours: Monday 2pm-7pm, Thursday 1pm-5pm

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