Easily grown in average, medium moisture soil in full sun. Prefers moist, sandy, well-drained soils. Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, including both alkaline and acidic soils and compacted soils. Also tolerant of saline conditions, air pollution and heat. Adapts well to most urban environments.
Ginkgo biloba is a deciduous conifer (a true gymnosperm) that matures to 100' tall. It is the only surviving member of a group of ancient plants believed to have inhabited the earth up to 150 million years ago. It features distinctive two-lobed, somewhat leathery, fan-shaped, rich green leaves with diverging (almost parallel) veins. Leaves turn bright yellow in fall. Ginkgo trees are commonly called maidenhair trees in reference to the resemblance of their fan-shaped leaves to maidenhair fern leaflets (pinnae). Ginkgos are dioecious (separate male and female trees). Nurseries typically sell only male trees (fruitless), because female trees produce seeds encased in fleshy, fruit-like coverings which, at maturity in autumn, are messy and emit a noxious, foul odor upon falling to the ground and splitting open.
Fastigiate or columnar ginkgo forms have been available in commerce for over 100 years. Nurseries often sell these forms under several different labels including Ginkgo biloba forma fastigiata, G. b. fastigiata or G. b. 'Fastigiata'. These fastigiate forms (fastigiate meaning upward branching) typically grow 30-50' tall with upright, narrowly conical habits that are just slightly broader at the base. 'Fastigiata' is an all-male cultivar. Leaves turn a uniform golden yellow in autumn (spectacular when backlit by early morning or late afternoon sun) and persist for several weeks. When the leaves do drop, they drop rapidly, forming a golden carpet around the tree.
No serious insect or disease problems. Usually slow growing, with initial growth being somewhat sparse.
Fastigiate forms provide excellent vertical accent and are generally valued for their ability to fit into small horizontal spaces. Excellent choice for a variety of uses, however, including lawn tree or street tree. Also effective in city parks or near commercial buildings. May be grown as a tall screen in somewhat the same manner as lombardy poplars.