If you’re a fan of unique and ancient trees, then you’ll be thrilled to learn how to propagate a ginkgo tree. Ginkgo biloba, also known as the maidenhair tree, is a living fossil that has been around for millions of years. Its distinct fan-shaped leaves and beautiful golden fall foliage make it a popular choice for garden enthusiasts. In this article, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of propagating a ginkgo tree, allowing you to add this remarkable tree to your own garden or landscape.

Choosing the Right Time to Propagate

When it comes to propagating a ginkgo tree, timing is everything. You want to ensure that you choose the right time to give your tree the best chance of success. Here are some key factors to consider when deciding on the ideal time to propagate your ginkgo tree:

1. Season:

The best time to propagate a ginkgo tree is during the spring or early summer. This is when the tree is actively growing and has a higher chance of successful propagation. During this time, the tree is more likely to produce healthy and vigorous offspring.

2. Temperature:

Ginkgo trees prefer mild and warm temperatures for successful propagation. It’s important to wait until the soil temperature reaches at least 65°F (18°C) before starting the propagation process. This will ensure that the tree’s roots can take hold and grow effectively.

3. Dormancy Period:

Ginkgo trees have a natural dormancy period during the winter months. It’s best to avoid propagating during this time, as the tree is not actively growing and may not respond well to the propagation process. Wait until the tree starts showing signs of new growth in the spring before attempting propagation.

4. Local Climate:

Consider the climate in your specific area when determining the right time to propagate your ginkgo tree. If you live in a region with harsh winters or extreme temperatures, it may be best to wait until the weather becomes more favorable for successful propagation.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose the right time to propagate your ginkgo tree and increase the chances of successful growth. Remember, patience is key when it comes to propagating trees, so wait for the optimal conditions before starting the process.

Collecting Ginkgo Seeds

To propagate a ginkgo tree, you’ll need ginkgo seeds. The process begins by collecting these seeds from a mature ginkgo tree. Here are a few tips on how to collect ginkgo seeds effectively:

1. Timing is crucial: Ginkgo seeds are usually ready to be collected in late fall or early winter when they have fully ripened and fallen from the tree. Keep an eye on the ground under the tree to spot the fallen seeds.

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2. Choose healthy seeds: Look for seeds that are firm and free from any signs of damage or disease. Avoid seeds that appear shriveled or discolored.

3. Protect your hands: Remember that ginkgo seeds have a fleshy fruit covering that can cause skin irritation. It’s recommended to wear gloves while collecting and handling the seeds.

4. Gather enough seeds: Depending on how many trees you plan to propagate, aim to collect a sufficient number of seeds. It’s best to have several seeds to increase your chances of successful germination.

5. Store the seeds properly: After collection, clean the seeds by removing the fleshy fruit covering. Allow them to dry for a few days before storing them in a cool and dry place, such as a sealed plastic bag or container.

Important Note: Ginkgo seeds have a short viability period, meaning they lose their ability to germinate quickly. It’s best to propagate the seeds as soon as possible after collecting them.

Now that you know how to collect ginkgo seeds, let’s move on to the next step in propagating your ginkgo tree.

Preparing the Seeds for Planting

Now that you have successfully collected ginkgo seeds, it’s time to prepare them for planting. Proper preparation is crucial for ensuring successful propagation of ginkgo trees. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Cleaning the seeds: Before planting, it’s important to remove any flesh or pulp from the seeds. This can be done by gently washing them in water. Make sure to avoid using hot water or scrubbing too vigorously, as this can damage the seeds.
  2. Stratifying the seeds: Ginkgo seeds have a dormant period, and stratification is a process that helps break this dormancy. To stratify the seeds, you can place them in a moist medium such as sand, peat moss, or vermiculite. Store the seeds in a sealed plastic bag and keep them in the refrigerator for about 2 to 3 months. This will simulate the cold, winter conditions that the seeds need to germinate.
  3. Scarifying the seeds: Scarification is the process of breaking or scratching the hard outer shell of the seeds to promote germination. Ginkgo seeds have a tough shell, and scarifying them can help speed up the germination process. You can rub the seeds gently with sandpaper or use a small file to create small scratches on the seed coat.
  4. Soaking the seeds: Once scarified, soak the seeds in water for 24 to 48 hours. This will help soften the seed coat and improve absorption of moisture during the germination process.

By following these steps, you’ll ensure that your ginkgo seeds are well-prepared for planting. Remember to be patient and give your seeds the time they need to germinate. In the next section, we’ll discuss the process of planting ginkgo seeds and caring for the seedlings.

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Planting the Ginkgo Seeds

Now that you have prepared the ginkgo seeds for planting, it’s time to move on to the next step: planting them. Proper planting techniques and care will ensure the successful growth of your ginkgo seedlings. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Choose a suitable location: Ginkgo trees are hardy and can adapt to a variety of soil conditions. However, they prefer well-drained soil and a sunny or partially shaded spot. Make sure to select a location that provides enough space for the tree to grow and thrive.
  2. Prepare the soil: Before planting the seeds, it’s important to prepare the soil. Remove any weeds or debris and loosen the soil to help with drainage. You can also mix in some compost or organic matter to improve soil fertility and structure.
  3. Plant the seeds: Create a small hole in the soil, about an inch deep, using your finger or a pencil. Place one ginkgo seed into each hole and cover it with soil. Space the seeds a few feet apart to allow for proper growth and development.
  4. Water regularly: After planting the seeds, water the soil thoroughly and keep it consistently moist. Ginkgo seeds require moisture to germinate, so make sure to water them regularly. However, avoid overwatering, as it can lead to rotting of the seeds.
  5. Protect from pests: Ginkgo seeds are a tasty treat for birds and squirrels. To protect them from being eaten, you can cover the planting area with a mesh or chicken wire until the seedlings start to grow.
  6. Provide care and patience: Patience is key when it comes to growing ginkgo trees. It may take several weeks or even months for the seeds to germinate and sprout. Keep the soil moist and provide the seedlings with adequate sunlight as they start to grow.

With proper planting and care, your ginkgo seeds will eventually grow into beautiful ginkgo trees. The next section will discuss how to care for the seedlings as they continue to grow.

Caring for the Ginkgo Seedlings

Once you have successfully planted the ginkgo seeds, it’s important to provide the proper care and attention to ensure their healthy growth. Here are some essential tips for caring for the ginkgo seedlings:

  1. Choosing a suitable location: Ginkgo trees thrive in full sun but can tolerate some shade. Select a spot in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  2. Preparing the soil: Ginkgo trees prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Prior to planting, amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure to improve its fertility and drainage.
  3. Planting the seeds: Carefully transplant the ginkgo seedlings into the prepared soil. Ensure that the planting hole is deep enough to accommodate the root system without bending or crowding the roots. Gently firm the soil around the seedling to provide stability.
  4. Watering regularly: Establish a regular watering schedule for your ginkgo seedlings. Water deeply, allowing the soil to become evenly moist but not waterlogged. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.
  5. Protecting from pests: While ginkgo trees are generally resistant to pests and diseases, young seedlings can be vulnerable. Protect them from potential threats such as rabbits, deer, and small rodents by using fencing or protective barriers.
  6. Providing care and patience: Ginkgo seedlings require time to establish themselves and develop a strong root system. Be patient and avoid the temptation to rush the growth process. Regularly monitor the seedlings for any signs of stress or nutrient deficiencies.
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Remember, caring for the ginkgo seedlings is an ongoing process that requires attention and nurturing. With proper care, your seedlings will gradually grow into beautiful ginkgo trees, adding a touch of ancient elegance to your garden.


Now that you have learned how to propagate a ginkgo tree, you are equipped with the knowledge and steps to successfully grow your own ginkgo seedlings. By carefully selecting the right time to propagate and collecting the ginkgo seeds, you have taken the first steps towards cultivating these unique and ancient trees.

Preparing the seeds for planting by cleaning, stratifying, scarifying, and soaking them ensures that they have the best chance of germination. Once the seedlings have sprouted, providing proper care is essential. Choosing a suitable location, preparing the soil, and watering regularly will help the seedlings thrive.

Remember to protect your ginkgo seedlings from pests and be patient throughout the process. With time and care, these seedlings will transform into beautiful ginkgo trees that will bring beauty and history to your landscape.

It’s time to put your newfound knowledge into practice and start propagating your own ginkgo tree. Happy gardening!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best time to propagate a ginkgo tree?

A: The best time to propagate a ginkgo tree is during the fall season when the tree’s seeds are ripe and ready for collection.

Q: How do I collect ginkgo seeds?

A: To collect ginkgo seeds, wait until they fall naturally from the tree. Gather the fallen seeds from the ground, making sure to remove any debris or outer covering.

Q: What should I do to prepare the ginkgo seeds for planting?

A: Prepare the ginkgo seeds for planting by cleaning them thoroughly to remove any residue. Then, stratify the seeds by placing them in a moist, cool environment for several months. After stratification, scarify the seeds by gently nicking the outer shell before soaking them in water overnight.

Q: How do I care for ginkgo seedlings?

A: To care for ginkgo seedlings, choose a suitable location with well-drained soil and partial sunlight. Prepare the soil by loosening it, removing weeds, and adding organic matter. Plant the seeds at the appropriate depth and water them regularly. Protect the seedlings from pests like snails and caterpillars. Lastly, be patient and provide consistent care as the seedlings grow into beautiful ginkgo trees.

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