Time for our Annual Gingko Fruit Stink Lament


“Dear PoPville,

Why can’t we just cut down all the female gingko trees? Certainly we could plant something better and less noxious on our streets. Just a random thought I had today when walking through the stench.”

Ed. Note: The District does spray the trees in the Spring and their leaves are awesome but agreed that the stink caused on certain streets is pretty brutal.

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

11 Comment

  • The city seems to have done a particularly poor job of spraying this year. Any idea why? And any way in the future to makes sure they don’t miss our street again next year.
    p.s. Presuming they get sprayed, I really like the trees for other reasons and would hate to see them get cut down.

  • Whatever the spraying is supposed to accomplish, it doesn’t work. I wish they’d just admit this, give up, and replace the ginkgos with something that doesn’t turn entire streets into the Bog of Eternal Stench for weeks on end.

  • Ginkos turn the prettiest color this time of year! Of all the unpleasant city smells I find Ginko one of the least offensive. I went to a hippy high school and if we were bad our punishment was picking up the fruits- so it brings me a bit of nostalgia as well 🙂

  • They have definitely had more luck in the past spraying than they did this year. Belmont St Between 16th and 17th is pretty gross – and trying to dodge berries with stroller wheels is not easy.

  • I get that nobody wants to see Swann street denuded but why not cut down ONE tree per block every few years, replacing with a male ginkgo each time. Problem gradually goes away and the canopy/character is maintained. Either the spraying is a joke or I don’t want to imagine the horrors of life without it.

    • Slowly replacing all the Ginkgos and keeping a tree canopy wouldn’t work – they are very slow growing trees and would take decades to reach the same size. The city was just irresponsible by allowing females to be planted. They should have used cultivars like the fastigiate form ‘Princeton Sentry’, ‘Autumn Gold’, or ‘Rotundiloba’

  • The spraying was probably countered by the rainy spring and summer. 2013 was consistently dry for periods. Not so this year.

  • I have had a female gingko in front of my house for 35 years. I clean up the berries with a snow shovel once a day.
    In addition to smelling like vomit, the gingko branches themselves drop frequently due to the heaviness of the berries.My new truck was dented this year and the day a friend bought her car it was dented badly. From time to time,a branch almost falls on a passserby. And then we have to step over them and make sure they are cleared. I usually put them in my truck and take them out to the country. I look fondly at the gum trees, the white oak trees, swamp oaks, the redwoods that the city is planting now. Three cheers for diversity! And BTW, god only knows what they spray the trees with!

  • You want lament? I’ll give you lament. Seriously, planting a tree that you have to spray, individually, every year to prevent it from dropping nasty messy stinky fruits all over the streets, sidewalks, and cars (and then does so anyway)? Whose idea was that??? I love trees, and I even love ginkgos, but in my opinion they are one of the worst trees to use for urban street plantings. I get it: they’re tough, and they’re beautiful, but completely aside from the loathsome fruits (which I learned from painful experience can cause severe dermatitis if you handle them!), these trees grow HUGE–I’m talking trunks 4-5+ feet in diameter. I have to wonder how the city will deal with them when the start reaching maturity. BTW the problem with the male trees is the pollen. Ideally, the city would plant ONLY females–that way you get neither pollen nor fruit–but of course even one male tree means every female is pollinated for a mile around. And may the horticultural gods forgive me but if I had a female tree in front of my house, I would sneak out one night and girdle it. I doubt any of my neighbors would complain.

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe gingko trees can change gender.

Comments are closed.