Ginko or Crabapple for my parkway

djodts(5)August 11, 2014


I am trying to decide between a male Ginko tree or a Crabapple tree to plant in my parkway. I don't have any powerlines that would get in the way of the larger Ginko. Can anyone with knowledge of both give some pros/cons and thoughts on each that would help me decide? Would either compete heavily with my grass? I don't want a nice tree, but really patchy grass due to the tree robbing all of the water and nutrients as well as providing so much shade that grass cannot grow beneith. Other than that, I don't have any other concerns. Thanks in advance for all of your input.

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shillanorth Z4 AB

Crabapples are beautiful in spring, often have small, showy fruit attractive to birds throughout winter and some have showy foliage(purple) as well. Lawn will thrive under them without any problems. One thing to think about, though - if you have high humidity in your area they will not be a good choice - dogwood would be better. I can`t comment on gingko as they will not grow here. Crabapple pictured in background is about 40 years old.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 3:01PM
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StGuaposFire(DE 7)

I don't have any experience with crabapples, but I do have three ginkgo trees on my property. I find that ginkgoes have a lot of pros and few cons. They are hardy, unique, have few pests, and usually have fantastic golden fall foliage. Due to their unique branching, they don't tend to completely block out sunlight to grass or other plants beneath them. One of the major cons is the smell associated with the female trees, which you've obviously already considered. They also do get quite large over many years. I've seen several very old specimens at the Philadelphia Zoo that easily rival the trunk and canopy size of mature oaks and sycamores. Overall, if you have the room for it, a ginkgo is a great tree that won't disappoint you.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 3:05PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

If you have few trees in your yard the automatic answer is Ginkgo as the tree looks interesting season long. Crabapples, even the disease resistant varieties, look very blah June through September due to there inconspicuous leaf texture.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 5:53PM
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Ginkgo - slow to establish then moderate growth, very long-lived, awkward 'hat rack' look as a young tree, males won't be flowering, should be hardy & with minimal disease & pest issues.

Crab Apple - much smaller, I would think faster growing and more prone to pests/diseases, flowering, produces some wildlife foodâ¦

2 Very different trees. I'm rather surprised you selected these 2 wildly divergent trees to choose from. It's like asking whether a hamster or a St. Bernard makes a better pet.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 10:37PM
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Thank you all for your input!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 10:45PM
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Thanks Richard, especially the analogy of the hamster and dog :)

The city I live in has a program where I can choose from a list of trees and if there is availability, the city will plant the tree of my choice in my parkway.

My wife and I looked through the list and these two were our favorites.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:59AM
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Ginkgo seems to be heavily favored tree for highly urbanized areas including highway roadways and big cities. Presumably because they are highly tolerant of air pollutants. They also offer good heat and drought tolerance and good disease resistance. For what it's worth they also cope quite well with mechanical damage. Mine had 50% of its bark stripped off its trunk 3-4 years ago; since sealed up completely. They are highly variable in structural form, but usually they do not impose dense shade beneath them. Males will flower (in the form of catkins), but obviously no smelly fruit which is why females are not usually planted.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:55AM
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