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Go, Ginkgo, Go!


When planting the new gardens in the back yard I treated myself to three unusual and special plants, all from Klehm’s Song Sparrow Nursery, one of my favorite online nurseries.
The plant that, I will be honest, I picked just because there was no difference in the price for shipping three plants or two plants so I figured I might as well pick something else up, was gingko biloba ‘Gnome’. When I took it out of the box, though, I was completely head over heels in love with the little guy. This dwarf gingko has densely package foliage and is (or rather, was) the most beautiful emerald green color.
But this poor little Gnome was having a tough time dealing with the transition. Within a week of planting, it was looking a bit peakid, and within three weeks it was looking worse. Because I’m not confident in exactly what is going on with the dirt in that part of the garden (you might remember that all the dirt in the upper part of the garden came from what we dug out for the path, which was a combination of beautiful, dark soil, red sand and full-on clay), I was worried that I was dealing with a  drainage problem, something I rarely encounter here given our proximity to Lake Michigan.
I was watering it deeply about once a week, depending on the rain, but I worried that if the drainage was off I might be overwatering.
So I took a pretty drastic measure: I dug it up to see what was happening. And, the answer was: nothing. Well, nothing unexpected, that is. Turns out the drainage seemed to be just fine and little Gnome was probably just suffering from good old-fashioned transplant shock. Transplant shock that I probably just made worse by essentially transplanting it again.
But there wasn’t really much I could do about it other that keep being nice to little Gnome.
And I suspect we won’t know how this all turns out until next spring. Winter is tough up here in zone 5 and any plant that is stressed going into winter will have an even more difficult time dealing with the relentless freeze and thaw cycle that some winters dish up. I hope it makes it. I really like the little guy.

One Response

  1. I would just give it some winter mulch. If you have critter problems I might also cage it the first winter. I have two dwarf Ginkgoes from Klehm that are now five years old and doing well. I am so paranoid about something eating them that i continue to cage them in the winter. They did grow almost imperceptibly the first couple of years but now they are actually nearly their mature size of 2-3 feet tall.

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