Gingko Spraying Starts to Combat the coming Stench


In other nature news, DDOT tweets the good word last night:

“Ginkgo tree spray starts tonight, beginning in Wards 1,2 & 6. This will continue until 5/10 with Wards 4,3,7,8,5.”

DDOT sprays the trees in order “to prevent the notoriously unpleasant odor of female ginkgo fruit”.

17 Comment

  • I saw them drive up my street at around 10pm last night. Hope it works!

  • Does anyone know if there is anything like this for mulberry trees? A way to spray them so they don’t produce fruit? Or any other suggestions for combating the berry deluge that turns my backyard into mosquito and fly heaven? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Eat them! Mulberries are delicious! You can eat them plain, and when you are full, take the extras and make them into mulberry jam and mulberry cobbler!

  • I know they stink – but does anyone but me think this is funny? Plant certain species of decorative trees in a city, then go spray them because their natural processes result in smells are offensive to use?

    • Right. Gingkos can be really beautiful in the fall, but if they’re such a problem, why plant them? We really should be planting native species anyway so these foreign trees stop coming here and taking jobs from hardworking american trees. 🙂

      But REALLY really, we should be planting trees that can handle the how DC’s climate is going to change over the next century.

    • Nobody is planting female gingko trees anymore (though the question still remains as to why they were planted in the first place).
      There’s definitely a history of 20th-century plant fashions that make you wonder what the hell people were thinking — e.g., ailanthus altissima, a.k.a. tree of heaven.

      • Oops… ginKGo.

      • textdoc – testify! I participated in an Ash tree inventory… One of the highest property value streets in MPLS had ONLY ash trees. They planted Elm on even streets and Ash on odd streets. I would find historic pictures of urban streets with complete tree canopies and now some are just empty.
        I’ve heard the “joke” that developers would name neighborhoods after the native trees they removed prior to planting a single species of only male trees.

        • “I would find historic pictures of urban streets with complete tree canopies and now some are just empty.” Yikes — I take it this is from emerald ash borer and/or Dutch elm disease?

          • my neighbor told me our street used to be all elms but then they all fell to the same disease

      • I’ve heard it’s hard to differentiate between young male and female gingkos, so a lot of females get planted inadvertently.

        • It’s impossible to know whether a seedling will grow up to be male or female. You can buy male trees propagated by grafting but this is more labor-intensive (and thus more expensive) than producing unsexed trees propagated from seeds. (And I suppose an unscrupulous grower could scam the buyer by assuring the trees will all be male; the truth wouldn’t come out until years later.)

  • Spray with what? Cursory poking around the Internet suggests an insecticide may be what they are using (no confirmation though). Enduring the smell might be better for public health….

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Previously “DDOT Trees will use the same spray that has been used for the past several years, Shield-EC (also known as sprout nip).”

    • They spray with Chlorpropham. It’s a chemical which is also used to inhibit potato sprouting.

    • The Prince’s data matches the City’s website. I had no idea that we have a “Female Ginkgo Tree Removal Policy.” It actually sounds like democracy in action until you get to the end when it say “If the ANC rejects the petition, or does not respond within 60 days, the petition fails and will not be considered for another two years’ time.”
      So if the ANC doesn’t act you can’t do anything for 2 years. yikes.

  • And yet in so many neighborhoods it fails to do anything. Try walking around the 1700 block of Corcoran in the fall. Ick. These are tough and beautiful trees but between the nasty fruits from females, the pollen from males, and their ultimate size (seriously, these things get HUGE), they are completely inappropriate as urban street trees.

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