Growth rate of Paperbark Maple and Ginkgo

dripdripMay 2, 2008

I recently planted (among others) 2 trees known for their slow growth rate. Both were planted in November.

I am surprised with both trees:

Paperbark Maple: this one seems to be growing quite fast. I've only used organic amendments, but it has already grown 6 - 8 inches this spring.

Ginkgo: this one does not look like it has grown 1 centimeter. It is only about a 4 foot tree. When I planted it, the very tip of the tree was broken off. The only growth is the leaves; no new branches or growth on the tip. Is this normal? How slow is slow?


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bwca4(z5 (Chicago))

per The Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Michael Dirr:

Paperbark Maple: 6-12" per year over a 10-15 year period.

Ginkgo: 10-15' over a 10-12 year period. although with adequate water and fertilizer, this tree will grow very fast.

Since you noted that the very tip of the Ginkgo tree was broken off, you may have to wait a while. The very tip of the tree is what is called the terminal bud. That is where all the growth occurs. A tree grows from the top and grows up. It doesn't grow from the bottom like some people think. The bottom of the tree just gets wider as it puts on more rings. (Think about the branches at the bottom of the tree. They never go anywhere, they just get bigger.) Since your terminal bud was broken off, you're going to have to wait for other branches to catch up and take over the function of the growth of the tree. The tree itself will be fine, it will just take a little bit longer to grow vertically.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 10:16AM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

They have not even been in the ground a year so normal growth can hardly be expected. A few years of establishment are needed. My oak took off last year for the first time after not growing for 3 years after planting.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 11:38AM
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Interesting stuff. Thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 2:26PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Ginkgos have two growth patterns, spurs and longer branches.

The smaller side branches usually just make a "spur" each year like you see with a few end buds making terminal growth up and out.

However, since the tree is newly planted, it may not make anymore than the spur-type growth this season.

Next year it should take off.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 4:11PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

My neighbor's Ginkgo put on about 6ft of height over 13 years.

They are probobly the one of the slowest growing trees but they do put on consistent growth. Worth it thought.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 8:41AM
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seagrapes(z8b TX/Austin (Georgetown))

I've got a ginkgo that grows about 18 inches per year, more or less. Planted it in 2000 as a sapling of 5 feet, it is now about 16-17 feet. In dry years (like this one) it grows less (maybe 12 inches or so).

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 3:13AM
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I have a gingko that grew about 12 feet in 5 years, but it's grown from seed, so might be faster than a grafted tree. Also, it's in the middle of my dogs' 'bathroom' area, so might be considered overfertilized. Because of the dogs, that area gets watered regularly in the dry summer as well. Its growth is really vertical, partly because I pruned off the lower branches to have headroom around it. I suspect it will spread out more now that I stopped pruning.

Another seedling the same age is now 6 foot tall. It was in a container for a further year, and is growing in hard clay. A 3rd seedling from the same batch is only 3 feet tall, again planted into the soil a year later and in heavy clay soil.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 9:45PM
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I have two paperbark trees. The one in the backyard is leafing out and look very alive. The Front yard one is doing nothing but the bark is peeling better than the back yard one. The front yard one when I planted it we had a sudden rain and scortching sun that scortch the leaves and they fell off. Is it possible that it is just slow to leaf out compared the back yard Paperbark or could the rain and scorching sun caused it to have more shock and caused it to die. I am just curious if anyone has any info or observations of this type of tree. I am hoping it is just slower to leaf out than the back yard paperbark maple tree. Any info or help you could give me would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 3:01PM
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Dan Staley

We expect a ginkgo to start slowly, then get going. Paperbark maples go pretty well from the get-go.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 5:17PM
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Alright guys -- I'm back.

Ginkgo planted in November of 2007 and still hasn't grown a centimeter (due, I'm assuming, to the broken tip).

Anything I can do to jump start this baby? Should I check anything else to see if there are other concerns?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 11:34AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

No answer for you except good care. Our Ginkgo is entering it's 4th growing season in it's present location. We will see if it adds some size this year. It finally added some caliper last season and can actually stand on it's own, it also finally developed fall color (though very late) last season. I will say this, there are currently more extending growing tips than ever before, so I am hopeful, but not too excited just yet. Ours is about 6.5' and was container grown (it had grown about 15-18" the previous year that we had bought it). Keep the up good care. Was it bare root when you got it? If so, I would expect it would take extra time to recover. I have read in many places bare root ginkgo aren't happy ginkgos, and survival is not great and therefore growth and recovery is slow.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 2:59PM
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Same situation here. An acquaintance of mine topped our 6 foot ginkgo tree in 2007. Hasn't seen one centimeter of growth either. I'm sure it's very well established in our soils but it is going to go.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 7:02PM
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I have 2 gingko trees, the problem is with the newer one bought last year from a nursery. It started putting on leaves this spring and then we had a freeze, all the leaves fell off and now only the bottom half of the tree has new leaves and a lot of then, but the upper part of the tree has not one leaf. Is there anything I can do to help this tree besides prayer and lots of water?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 7:59PM
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