Ginkgo Pruning and Wound Closure

Ginkgos are famously non-closing when they have large wounds. This tree’s development required a big wound, in addition to an annual trim.


A young ginkgo with a missed fall pruning.


Because these will be wired again it’s not necessary to make every cut so a bud is facing out. Also I think it’s more interesting if some shoots jog on ginkgo. The interesting non-wired movements are from a combination of leaving inward- and outward-facing buds.


My favorite photo here. This one caught the severed nub as it was flying off to its new life on the floor.


Here’s our problem area, the site where we changed leaders several years ago. This left large stubs. This area will need excavation and will create a large wound.


Using a ball cutters to excavate.


A small ball cutter begins a polish of the area. Featured here is Carmen Leskoviansky. For those who don’t know her, she’s been my apprentice for 1.5 years and lives on the studio property with her family, befriends the crows, and keeps my business from dismantling at the seams.


Smoothing out the rough cuts made by the small ball cutter with a knife. So this is now our third tool in this area. If we’d started with a knife we’d still be at it.


Profile of the large wound with a slight concavity.


Prepped for sealant. With difficult-to-close species making that cut as smooth as possible helps the woundwood creep over it.


Covering with latex sealant all the way to the bark.


I don’t like promoting products but I’ve not found many sealants that actually help close wounds. This one brings strong wound closure on plants that close slowly, if at all—such as ginkgo and quince. This is liquid ‘kirikuchi’ sealant.

One potential front for this young plant. This has the wound showing, and if we can’t close it or disguise it (it’s young plant with lots of development ahead, might happen) then the next front option might be better.

Second option for a front. Both of these options show the multiple trunks coming from the base, but this one doesn’t show the large cut.

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  1. Dean says:

    Any advise on air layering this species and how to get it to back bud which mine seems reluctant to do ?

  2. Ayla Baha says:

    Michael, your photos are fantastic as always, and Carmen’s new red hair looks great! I especially enjoyed the shot of the ‘severed nub’ taking off to begin its new life on the floor. Your post was incredibly informative and helpful. I’ve recently repotted one of my three ginkgo trees, with two more to go. My goal is to cultivate them into bonsai, but they were initially tall trees that had their tops cut off after being taken from the ground.

  3. kiwijaz says:

    Do you have any suggestions for stimulating more shoots lower on the trunk of a ginkgo? I have a ginkgo with a long straight trunk, one low branch and one shoot at the base. Everything else is growing from the top.

  4. John Goodenow says:

    Neither of my ginkos have this multi-trunk habit, What type is this? Nice blog,

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