Killing ginkgo trees

Killing ginkgo trees is not easy. The most ancient tree species on earth, it seems to have outlived most of its pests and pathogens.  The main cause of death for urban ginkgo trees is damage from mowers and string trimmers, and soil compaction.

A ginkgo in Bell Place Park, in Lexington, KY, is on the brink of death. It is a significant tree in a well-used park, and many people have noticed it.   Damage like this is easy to avoid, but only if people doing the mowing have proper training and an incentive not to injure trees.  This tree could have lived for hundreds of years if not for this damage.

As the pictures show, the tree suffers from chronic mower damage.  Repeated striking of the bark on the lower stem and root flare has killed the bark. As a result, the tree can no longer efficiently transfer sugars and proteins to the root system. It is likely that the roots are mostly dead.

Another small ginkgo planted as a memorial has recently been struck by string trimmers. Repeated injuries like this are likely to kill or substantially weaken a small tree.

Scroll down to see pictures. Click on the pictures to go to a gallery of damage to trees in Bell Place Park.

Ginkgo tree on the brink of death due to lower stem damage.
Ginkgo tree on the brink of death due to lower stem damage.
Root and lower stem damage to ginkgo. The blue arrows mark where bark was torn off by mowers and string trimmers
Root and lower stem damage to ginkgo. The blue arrows mark where bark was torn off by mowers and string trimmers
Memorial ginkgo tree with recent lower stem damage from string trimmers
Memorial ginkgo tree with recent lower stem damage from string trimmers