May 15, 2017 /
Jona Elwell

D.C. Launches its Annual Campaign Against the Ginkgo Tree

The ginkgo tree is known for a lot of things – its fan shaped leaves, its status as a living fossil, and the unfortunate smell of the fruit that female trees produce and subsequently shed. Described as a frightening cocktail of dirty gym socks, rancid butter, or even vomit, the fallen fruit is certainly notorious.

Even though they stink, Ginkgo trees are uniquely suited to survive harsh city life – not only can they hold their own against air pollution, but they stand strong in the face of soil compaction, pests, disease, salt, wind, cold, drought, fire, and even nuclear blasts. Taking this into consideration, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is the only city in the country with a permit to annually spray female ginkgo trees throughout the District with Shield-3EC 24(C), the same spray they’ve been using for 20 years.

The spraying will begin in Ward 5 and move on to Wards 4, 3, 2, 1 and 6. The department said there are no ginkgo trees in Wards 7 and 8.

Unfortunately, the treatment isn’t always effective, sometimes difficult to complete within the tight time window, and others are concerned about pesticide use.