If you’ve ever marveled at the beauty of a Ginkgo tree and wondered how you could have one in your own backyard, you’re in luck. Propagating Ginkgo trees is not only possible, but it can also be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. In this article, we’ll explore the different methods you can use to propagate Ginkgo trees and provide you with step-by-step instructions to help you get started.

Ginkgo trees, also known as maidenhair trees, are ancient and resilient species that have been around for millions of years. Their fan-shaped leaves and golden fall foliage make them a popular choice for landscaping and urban environments. While you can certainly purchase a Ginkgo tree from a nursery, propagating your own allows you to have a deeper connection with the tree and witness its growth from a tiny seed or cutting.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, this article will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to propagate Ginkgo trees successfully. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to embark on a journey of creating new life and beauty in your garden.

Why Propagate Ginkgo Trees?

There are several compelling reasons why you should consider propagating Ginkgo trees.

1. Connection with Nature: Propagating your own Ginkgo tree allows you to establish a deeper connection with nature. By nurturing the tree from its early stages, you develop a sense of pride and fulfillment as you witness its growth over time.

2. Cost-effective: Propagating Ginkgo trees can save you money. Instead of buying a mature tree from a nursery, you can start with a small cutting or seed, which requires minimal investment. As the tree grows, you’ll have a beautiful addition to your landscape without breaking the bank.

3. Environmental Benefits: Ginkgo trees have a range of environmental benefits. They are hardy and resilient, capable of withstanding various weather conditions. Additionally, Ginkgos are low-maintenance and relatively pest-resistant, reducing the need for harmful pesticides or excessive care.

4. Unique Beauty: Ginkgo trees are renowned for their unique beauty. Their fan-shaped leaves and vibrant golden fall foliage add charm and elegance to any landscape. By propagating your own Ginkgo tree, you can bring this distinct beauty to your surroundings.

5. Educational Experience: Propagating Ginkgo trees can be a fascinating educational experience for both seasoned gardeners and beginners. It provides an opportunity to learn about the life cycle of plants, horticultural techniques, and the importance of conservation.

Ultimately, propagating Ginkgo trees is a rewarding endeavor that offers many benefits, from the connection with nature to cost savings and environmental advantages. It’s a chance to witness the beauty and resilience of one of nature’s oldest species up close.

Different Methods of Propagation

Propagating Ginkgo trees can be done through various methods, each with its own advantages and considerations. Here are a few popular techniques for propagating Ginkgo trees:

  1. Seed Propagation: This is the most common method of propagating Ginkgo trees. It involves collecting ripe seeds from female Ginkgo trees in the fall and planting them in well-drained soil. It’s important to note that Ginkgo seeds have a thick outer shell that needs to be carefully removed before planting. Seed propagation allows for genetic diversity, as each seedling will have unique characteristics.
  2. Cutting Propagation: Another effective method is propagating Ginkgo trees from cuttings. Select a healthy branch from the parent tree, typically in late spring or early summer, and remove a portion with several nodes. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone and plant it in a well-drained growing medium. Keep the cuttings in a warm, humid environment until roots develop. This method allows for the production of clones, ensuring the offspring will have the same desirable traits as the parent tree.
  3. Grafting: Grafting involves combining a desirable Ginkgo tree cultivar, known as the scion, with an established rootstock. This method is commonly used to preserve specific traits, such as unique leaf shape or color. It requires careful preparation and skill, making it more advanced than seed or cutting propagation. Grafted trees tend to grow more quickly and produce fruit at an earlier age.
  4. Air Layering: Air layering is a technique used to propagate Ginkgo trees with particularly long branches. It involves creating a wound on the branch, applying rooting hormone, and wrapping it with a moist growing medium. This encourages the branch to develop roots while still connected to the parent tree. Once the roots have formed, the branch can be cut and planted separately.

By exploring these different propagation methods, you can choose the one that suits your preferences and circumstances. Each method has its own unique benefits and challenges, but all offer the opportunity to propagate and grow your own beautiful Ginkgo tree.

Collecting Seeds

To propagate a Ginkgo tree, collecting its seeds is one of the most common methods. Harvesting seeds allows you to have control over the quality and genetics of your tree. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Timing is crucial: Ginkgo trees produce seeds in the late summer to early fall, usually around September or October, depending on your location. Keep an eye on the tree and wait for the seeds to turn a yellowish color. This indicates that they are ripe and ready for collection.
  2. Safety first: When collecting ginkgo seeds, make sure to wear gloves as the outer fleshy layer of the seed can cause skin irritation. It’s also a good idea to wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, as Ginkgo seeds can leave a sticky residue.
  3. Gathering the fallen seeds: Look around the base of the Ginkgo tree for fallen seeds. They will often be scattered on the ground beneath the tree. Collect as many seeds as you can find.
  4. Removing the flesh: Once you have collected the seeds, you need to remove the fleshy outer layer. This can be done by soaking the seeds in water for a day or two. The flesh will become soft and can be easily removed by rubbing it off.
  5. Drying the seeds: After removing the flesh, spread the seeds out on a tray or a piece of newspaper and allow them to air dry for a few days. Make sure they are in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
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By collecting and harvesting your own Ginkgo tree seeds, you have the opportunity to grow a tree with unique characteristics. Remember, each seed represents the possibility of a new tree, so collect and store them carefully for future propagation endeavors.

Preparing Seeds for Planting

Once you have collected your Ginkgo tree seeds, it’s time to prepare them for planting. Proper preparation is crucial to ensure successful germination and healthy growth of your future tree. Follow these steps to prepare your Ginkgo tree seeds for planting:

  1. Timing: The best time to collect Ginkgo tree seeds is in the late fall when they naturally fall from the tree. Keep an eye on your tree to determine when the seeds start dropping.
  2. Safety Precautions: Before handling the seeds, it’s important to wear gloves. The fleshy coating of the seed can cause skin irritation in some individuals.
  3. Gathering Fallen Seeds: Carefully gather the fallen seeds from around the tree. Look for seeds that are intact and free from any visible damage or mold.
  4. Removing the Flesh: Ginkgo tree seeds have a fleshy outer layer that needs to be removed before planting. Use a sharp knife or your fingers to gently remove the flesh. Be careful not to damage the seed itself.
  5. Drying the Seeds: After removing the flesh, rinse the seeds under running water to remove any remaining residue. Then, place the seeds on a paper towel or a clean cloth to air dry. Make sure to spread them out in a single layer and avoid overcrowding to prevent mold or rot.

By following these steps, you can effectively prepare your Ginkgo tree seeds for planting. Once they are dry, you’ll be ready to move on to the next stage of the propagation process. Remember, with proper preparation and care, you’ll soon have your very own Ginkgo tree with its unique characteristics and beauty.

Planting Ginkgo Seeds

Planting ginkgo seeds is an exciting step in the process of propagating your own Ginkgo tree. By collecting and harvesting your own seeds, you have the opportunity to grow a tree with unique characteristics. Here are the steps to prepare Ginkgo tree seeds for planting:

  1. Timing: Collect the fallen seeds in late autumn or early winter, when they are at their freshest. This is usually around November or December, depending on your location.
  2. Safety precautions: Wear gloves when handling the seeds, as the fleshy coating can cause skin irritation for some people.
  3. Gathering fallen seeds: Gather the fallen seeds from the ground under a female Ginkgo tree. Female trees produce seeds, while male trees do not. Look for seeds that have a fleshy coating intact.
  4. Removing the flesh: To remove the flesh, place the seeds in a bucket of water and let them soak for a few days. The flesh will start to rot and can be easily removed by hand or with a small brush.
  5. Drying the seeds: After removing the flesh, spread the seeds out on a tray or paper towel in a well-ventilated area. Allow them to air dry for a few days until they are dry to the touch. Make sure not to expose them to direct sunlight or high heat.

Once the seeds are prepared, they are ready for planting. Plant them immediately in a container filled with well-drained soil, or store them in a cool, dry place until the planting season in spring. Remember to label the containers with the date of collection and any other relevant information.

By following these steps, you can ensure successful germination and healthy growth of your future Ginkgo tree. Enjoy the rewarding experience of watching your own ginkgo tree grow from a tiny seed into a majestic beauty.

Taking Ginkgo Cuttings

Propagating Ginkgo trees through cuttings is another effective method to grow your own tree. This method involves taking a portion of a Ginkgo branch and encouraging it to develop roots and grow into a new tree. Here’s how you can take Ginkgo cuttings:

  1. Timing: The best time to take Ginkgo cuttings is during late spring or early summer when the current year’s growth is still soft and flexible.
  2. Choose healthy branches: Select a healthy branch that is at least one year old. Look for branches that have no signs of disease or damage.
  3. Prepare the cutting: Using clean and sharp pruning shears, make a clean cut at a 45-degree angle just below a leaf node. The cutting should be around 6 to 8 inches long.
  4. Remove lower leaves: Strip off the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting. This will prevent excess moisture loss and promote root development.
  5. Prepare rooting medium: Fill a small container with a well-draining rooting medium, such as a mixture of perlite and peat moss or a commercial propagation mix.
  6. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone: Dip the cut end of the Ginkgo cutting into a rooting hormone powder or gel. This will help stimulate root growth.
  7. Plant the cutting: Make a hole in the rooting medium and insert the cutting, burying it up to the previously stripped area. Gently press the medium around the cutting to secure it.
  8. Provide proper care: Place the container in a warm location with bright, indirect light. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Mist the cutting regularly to maintain humidity.
  9. Monitor root development: After a few weeks, gently tug on the cutting to check for root development. If you feel resistance, it means roots are forming.
  10. Transplant the cutting: Once the cutting has developed a healthy root system, it’s time to transplant it into a larger container or the desired planting location.
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Taking Ginkgo cuttings is a reliable method that allows you to propagate and grow your own Ginkgo tree. By following these steps, you can enjoy the rewarding experience of watching your cuttings grow into majestic Ginkgo trees.

Rooting Ginkgo Cuttings

Propagating Ginkgo trees from cuttings is another effective method that allows you to grow new trees with the same characteristics as the parent plant. This method is particularly useful if you have limited access to Ginkgo seeds or want to ensure the genetic consistency of your tree.

To successfully root Ginkgo cuttings, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Timing: The best time to take Ginkgo cuttings is in late spring or early summer when the tree is actively growing. Look for healthy branches that are semi-hard or partially woody.
  2. Choosing Healthy Branches: Select branches that are about pencil-thick in diameter and free from any signs of disease or damage. It’s important to choose healthy branches as they will have a higher chance of successful rooting.
  3. Preparing the Cutting: Use sharp and clean pruning shears to take a 6 to 8-inch cutting from the selected branch. Make sure the cutting has at least two sets of leaves.
  4. Removing Lower Leaves: Gently remove the lower set of leaves from the cutting, leaving the top set intact. This helps to reduce the moisture loss through transpiration and encourages root development.
  5. Preparing the Rooting Medium: Prepare a well-draining rooting medium such as a mix of equal parts perlite and peat moss. Fill a small container with the rooting medium and moisten it slightly.
  6. Dipping the Cutting in Rooting Hormone: Dip the lower end of the cutting in a powdered rooting hormone. This will help stimulate root growth and increase the chances of successful rooting.
  7. Planting the Cutting: Insert the cutting into the prepared rooting medium, making sure to bury at least half of the cutting in the medium. Firm the medium gently around the cutting to ensure good contact.
  8. Providing Proper Care: Place the container in a warm and well-lit area, but away from direct sunlight. Maintain a consistently moist but not waterlogged environment by misting the cutting and the medium regularly.
  9. Monitoring Root Development: Check the cutting regularly for signs of root development. You can gently tug on the cutting to see if there is any resistance, indicating that roots have formed.

Transplanting Ginkgo Seedlings or Cuttings

Once your Ginkgo seeds have germinated or your cuttings have developed roots, it’s time to transplant them into their new homes. Transplanting is a crucial step in the propagation process, as it ensures the plants have a suitable environment to continue flourishing.

  1. Choose the right location: Select a spot in your garden that receives full sun or partial shade. Ensure that the soil is well-draining to prevent waterlogged roots.
  2. Prepare the planting hole: Dig a hole that is slightly wider and deeper than the root ball of your Ginkgo seedling or cutting. This will provide ample space for the roots to grow.
  3. Remove the plant from its container: Carefully remove the Ginkgo seedling or cutting from its container, being mindful not to damage the delicate roots.
  4. Place the plant in the hole: Gently place the plant in the center of the hole, making sure that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.
  5. Backfill the hole: Gradually fill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the roots as you go. Avoid packing the soil too tightly, as it can restrict root growth.
  6. Water thoroughly: After transplanting, give your Ginkgo seedling or cutting a deep watering to help settle the soil around the roots.
  7. Mulch: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant to help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.
  8. Provide ongoing care: Monitor your transplanted Ginkgo seedling or cutting regularly, ensuring that it receives adequate water, sunlight, and nutrients. Protect it from frost or extreme weather conditions as it establishes itself.
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By following these steps, you can successfully transplant your Ginkgo seedlings or cuttings and continue to nurture their growth into mature and majestic Ginkgo trees.

Caring for Propagated Ginkgo Trees

Once you have successfully propagated your Ginkgo trees, it’s important to provide them with the care and attention they need to thrive. While Ginkgo trees are known for their hardiness and resilience, proper care will ensure that they grow into healthy and majestic additions to your landscape. Here are some important tips to consider when caring for your propagated Ginkgo trees:

1. Watering:

  • Water deeply but infrequently, especially during the tree’s first year. This encourages the development of deep roots.
  • Monitor soil moisture levels and adjust watering accordingly. Ginkgo trees prefer well-draining soil, so be cautious of overwatering.
  • Mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

2. Pruning:

  • Prune your Ginkgo trees during the dormant season to maintain their shape and remove any dead or damaged branches.
  • Promote good branch structure by selectively removing crossing or competing branches.
  • Avoid excessive pruning, as it can stimulate vegetative growth at the expense of fruit production.

3. Fertilizing:

  • Fertilize your propagated Ginkgo trees in early spring with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive vegetative growth and weaken the tree’s structure.

4. Pests and Diseases:

  • Monitor for pests such as aphids, scale insects, and caterpillars. Treat infestations as needed with organic insecticides.
  • Ginkgo trees are relatively resistant to diseases, but watch for common issues like leaf spot or powdery mildew. Apply appropriate treatments if necessary.
  • Ginkgo trees are generally hardy, but young propagated trees may benefit from winter protection in colder climates. Consider wrapping the trunk with burlap or using plant covers to shield them from harsh conditions.

By following these care guidelines, you can ensure that your propagated Ginkgo trees receive the proper nurturing they need to flourish and become beautiful and healthy additions to your landscape. Keep in mind that each tree is unique, so always observe and respond to the specific needs of your Ginkgo trees.


Propagating Ginkgo trees is a rewarding and fulfilling process that allows you to create beautiful additions to your landscape. By following the step-by-step instructions provided in this article, you can successfully propagate Ginkgo trees from seeds or cuttings.

Transplanting the seedlings or cuttings into their new homes is a crucial step in ensuring their growth and development. By carefully choosing the right location, preparing the planting hole, and providing proper care, you can give your propagated Ginkgo trees the best chance to thrive.

Remember to water, prune, fertilize, and protect your propagated Ginkgo trees from pests and diseases. Providing winter protection in colder climates is also recommended to ensure their survival.

With proper nurturing and care, your propagated Ginkgo trees will flourish and become beautiful and healthy additions to your landscape. Enjoy the process of propagating these unique and ancient trees, and watch as they grow into majestic specimens that will bring joy and beauty for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I consider propagating Ginkgo trees?

A: Propagating Ginkgo trees allows you to grow new trees without purchasing expensive nursery stock. It also gives you control over the quality and health of the trees you propagate.

Q: What methods can I use to propagate Ginkgo trees?

A: The two primary methods of propagating Ginkgo trees are through seeds and cuttings. Seeds require stratification, while cuttings involve taking stem sections from an existing Ginkgo tree.

Q: How do I prepare Ginkgo tree seeds for planting?

A: To prepare Ginkgo tree seeds for planting, remove the outer fleshy coating and soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. Then, stratify the seeds by chilling them in a moist medium for several weeks.

Q: How do I take Ginkgo cuttings?

A: To take Ginkgo cuttings, select healthy branches and cut stem sections that have two to three leaf nodes. Remove the bottom leaves and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in a well-draining and sterile medium.

Q: What is the process of transplanting Ginkgo seedlings or cuttings?

A: To transplant Ginkgo seedlings or cuttings, choose a suitable location with well-draining soil and ample sunlight. Dig a hole slightly wider than the root ball, remove the plant from its container, place it in the hole, backfill with soil, water thoroughly, apply mulch, and provide ongoing care.

Q: How do I care for propagated Ginkgo trees?

A: Care for propagated Ginkgo trees by watering regularly, pruning to maintain shape, fertilizing annually in spring, and monitoring for pests and diseases. In colder climates, consider providing winter protection for young propagated trees.

Q: What are some additional tips for caring for propagated Ginkgo trees?

A: Additional tips for caring for propagated Ginkgo trees include providing consistent and deep watering, avoiding over-fertilization, removing weeds around the base, and monitoring for common pests like aphids and diseases like leaf spot. Also, consider applying a layer of mulch around the tree to conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.

Q: How can I ensure my propagated Ginkgo trees thrive and become beautiful additions to my landscape?

A: To ensure the success of your propagated Ginkgo trees, follow the step-by-step instructions for propagation and care provided in the article. With proper nurturing, including adequate watering, pruning, fertilizing, and pest and disease management, your propagated Ginkgo trees will flourish and enhance the beauty of your landscape.

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