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A Ginkgo biloba bonsai
Ginkgo biloba is a majestic, deciduous tree, widespread in cultivation all over the world; It is a fairly slow-growing tree, with beautiful fan-shaped foliage, which becomes golden yellow in autumn, before falling; despite the delicate and elegant appearance the ginkgo trees are resistant and vigorous, which are hardly subject to diseases, so much so that in Italy they are often used as trees along the city streets.
The young specimens have the bearing of a conifer, with an erect stem and branches arranged perpendicular to the stem, parallel to the ground; this type of development tends to give young plants a rigid and excessively formal appearance; the bonsaist who wants a ginkgo bonsai it should start with a very small plant, so as to be able to easily change the course of the branches, and guarantee a candle-shaped, or upside-down broom.
The cultivation of bonsai ginkgo is not very difficult, even if it offers some element of challenge: apart from the habit, which in young specimens can be changed even simply with good pruning, the ginkgo also has fairly large leaves; It is therefore advisable to tend to obtain a medium or large bonsai, or the large foliage will completely ruin the final effect.
The ginkgo is a deciduous plant, in winter it remains completely bare, and in autumn it is easy to observe the branches and consider which are to be removed, as they hinder the balance of the plant; these plants often produce numerous basal shoots, which must be removed if you do not intend to obtain the effect of a small ginkgo grove.
In spring the swollen buds herald the arrival of the foliage, which is often produced in bunches attached to the same gem; spring pruning is done by shortening all the semi-woody branches, leaving only two or three leaves. The plant tends to develop slowly, but throughout the growing season, it will therefore be necessary to trim all the new branches as soon as they reach 5-6 leaves.
This plant does not tolerate the wire, which tends to conspicuously ruin the thin and delicate bark; if we find it necessary to apply wire we will have to do it at the beginning of summer, before the branches become completely woody and therefore fragile. To prevent the thread from irreparably ruining the bark, it is necessary to cover the branch with raffia, and to watch frequently during the months, to prevent the branch from growing and being compressed by the thread.
From when in the spring the buds begin to grow with the new leaves, we water regularly, avoiding to leave the soil always damp, but also avoiding to leave it dry for a long time; the ginkgo tolerates drought quite well, and in general the foliage tends to collapse if the soil remains dry for a long time, signaling us that it is time for abundant watering. In the winter period we avoid watering, since the root system tends to store a lot of water, further water present in the soil could give rise to rottenness, or it could cause frost to penetrate the ground, greatly ruining the root system.
From April to September specific water for bonsai is added to the water used for watering.
Ginkgo is a completely rustic tree in Italy, so these plants are cultivated as outdoor bonsai, placing them in a sunny place; we shelter from the sun in the summer, moving the plant to partial shade.
In winter the root system contained very small could be ruined by frost, we cover the whole vase with tissue, to prevent this from happening.
Ginkgo: Container and soil
Ginkgo is grown in a soil composed mainly of akadama, lightened with sand or pumice stone, to increase drainage and avoid stagnation.
They are bonsai that can reach large sizes, they are often grown in rather large pots, sometimes even in deep bonsai pots.
They are repotted every year, as regards the young specimens, in autumn. Old specimens are repotted every 2-3 years, or even less often.