My Ginkgo Is Not Growing

not growing

Q: I planted my wife’s favorite tree, a ginkgo, in our field three years ago. I watered it regularly through the first summer and a couple of times after when it’s been extremely dry. Sadly, it has grown little if any. It continues to sprout leaves, albeit fewer than it did originally. What should I do to improve its chances of surviving and thriving?

A: Whenever I hear of a woody plant that just seems to “sit there” it’s almost always caused by a failure of the root system to expand. There can be several reasons for this but the most likely is the roots stopped growing at the interface between the original rootball and the surrounding native soil. Let’s try a root rejuvenation. Mix one pint of slow-release organic fertilizer  (Milorganite, Holly-tone, Dr. Earth, etc) with a cubic foot of soil conditioner. Apply this in a layer 1/4〞 thick and out 36〞 from the trunk around the plant. Once the layer is applied to the soil, mix it into the dirt by repeatedly jabbing it with a spading fork as deep as you can and wiggling the fork back and forth. The fertilizer supplies a steady source of nutrients and the holes made by the spading fork aerate the soil around the ginkgo roots. If you do it right, your shoulders will ache but the tree will thank you.

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