Q: Do you know if there is any way to keep a female gingko tree from bearing fruit? The fruit is stinky and particularly bad this year!
— Karen Heffley, Cuyahoga Falls
A: Ugh, those fruits smell awful. I wish I had a magic bullet to suggest, but unfortunately there’s no easy or foolproof way to prevent a female gingko from producing fruit.
Sprays such as Florel or Fruitone can reduce fruit development, but they’re not easy to use and can be expensive if you’re treating a mature tree. They have to be applied to the entire tree crown at just the right time and in just the right concentration, and only to trees that are healthy. What’s more, there’s no guarantee of 100 percent success, even if you do everything right.
If the tree is small enough, you can remove spent flowers or small fruits by hand, but that’s not a reasonable approach for a large tree. And if the tree is still small enough to do that, I’d seriously consider cutting it down and replacing it with a male gingko, which doesn’t produce fruit.
Morton Arboretum near Chicago has some good information on the subject at http://tinyurl.com/preventfruit.
Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.