Ginkgo biloba is a majestic tree, with deciduous leaves, widespread in cultivation all over the world; it is a fairly slow-growing tree, with beautiful fan-shaped foliage, which turns golden yellow in autumn, before falling; despite the delicate and elegant appearance, ginkgo trees are resistant and vigorous, which are hardly subject to diseases, so much so that in Italy they are often used as trees along city avenues.The young specimens have the bearing of a conifer, with an erect stem and the branches arranged perpendicular to the stem, parallel to the ground; this type of development tends to give young plants a rigid and excessively formal appearance; the bonsaiist who wants a ginkgo bonsai should start with a very small plant, so as to be able to easily modify the course of the branches, and guarantee a candle development, or an inverted broom. apart from the habit, which in young specimens can be modified even simply with good pruning, ginkgo also has quite large leaves; it is therefore advisable to aim for a medium or large bonsai, or the large foliage will completely ruin the final effect.

Ginkgo is a deciduous plant, in winter it remains completely bare, and in autumn it is easy to observe the ramifications and consider which ones to remove, as they hinder the balance of the plant; these plants often produce numerous basal suckers, which must be removed if the effect of a small ginkgo grove is not intended.

In spring the swollen buds herald the arrival of the foliage, which is often produced in bunches attached to the same bud; spring pruning is practiced by shortening all the semi-woody branches, leaving only two or three leaves. The plant tends to develop slowly, but for the whole vegetative season, it will therefore be necessary to prune all the new branches as soon as they reach 5-6 leaves.This plant does not tolerate the metal wire, which tends to conspicuously ruin the bark subtle and delicate; if we find it necessary to affix some metal wire we will have to do it at the beginning of the summer, before the branches become completely woody and therefore fragile. To prevent the wire from irreparably damaging the bark it is necessary to cover the branch with raffia, and to be vigilant frequently during the months, to prevent the branch from growing and therefore being compressed by the wire.

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Since the buds with the new leaves begin to enlarge in spring, water regularly, avoiding to leave the soil always humid, but also avoiding leaving it dry for a long time; ginkgo tolerates drought quite well, and generally the foliage tends to sag if the soil remains dry for a long time, signaling that it is time for abundant watering. During the winter we avoid watering, as the root system tends to store a lot of water, further water present in the soil could give rise to rot, or it could cause frost to penetrate into the soil, greatly ruining the root system.

From April to September, a specific fertilizer for bonsai is added to the irrigation water.

Ginkgo is a completely rustic tree in Italy, so these plants are grown as outdoor bonsai, placing them in a sunny place; let’s shelter from the sun in summer, moving the plant to partial shade.

In winter, the root system contained in very small pots could be ruined by frost, we cover the whole pot with some anti-fabric, to prevent this from happening.

Ginkgo is grown in a soil composed mainly of akadama, lightened with sand or pumice stone, to increase drainage and avoid stagnation.

They are bonsai that can reach considerable dimensions, are often grown in fairly large pots, sometimes even in deep bonsai pots. They are repotted every year, as regards the young specimens, in autumn. The old specimens are repotted every 2-3 years, or even less often.


ginkgo – Bonsai tips

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