Saratoga Ginko Tree - Planted - Spring 2022


I've covered a bunch of the shrubs (hydrangeas) and perennials (Ivory Prince Hellebores) that I brought home from the Morton Arboretum Arbor Day Plant Sale already here on the blog.  But, we also bought a tree from that same sale.  I've bought a tree each of the years that I've attended the sale including this Emperor 1 Japanese Maple tree last year.  And this Red Fox Katsura tree from 2020.  

This year, I've prioritized shrubs in the landscape, but I included a couple of tree items on my 2022 to-d list.  #7 was to plant more trees (and measuring them), so this new tree checks that box.   I keep thinking about that advice I came across in April of 2019 related to planting treesThe proverb is below:


That means planting small trees that - over time - can grow into something meaningful.  I've done this recently with a Ginko tree (well...two of them, but one snapped in half), so I figured another Ginko would be interesting.  

I brought the Babe to the sale and she picked out this tree:  A Saratoga Ginko tree. 
 

The sign at the Morton Sale is below and includes this description: "The tightly packed, fan-shaped leaves of this Ginko are longer and deeply split, giving an overall lacy, fine textured appearance to this tree.  Has beautiful golden Autumn color. "

It also includes the price:  $30 for a Ginko tree.  Can't beat that, right?

The Chicago Botanic Garden tells more of the story including: "It has unusually large and pendulous leaves. The leaves are deeply divided, elongated, and resemble a fish-tail palm leaf....Saratoga Ginkgo has symmetrical branching and matures into full, dense, pyramidal form. It is slightly smaller than other selections, but not a dwarf. It is about one-half to two-thirds the size of the Autumn Gold Ginkgo."

Now...Where to put it?  Back in 2019, I outlined the position of a series of future-looking front-yard trees.  That included backfilling *under* a couple of trees (Mulberry by sidewalk and declining Norway Maple by porch) and adding some new trees.  I called out four locations at that time.  I've subsequently filled one of them - IB2DWs with the Ginko last Fall.  That leaves three locations:  Driveway/sidewalk lawn side for 'framing', parkway #2 and backfill planting for the Norway Maple. 

Which did I pick?  Well...none of them.  I picked a whole *new* location.  Right by our front walk where we have a small bed of three Little Henry Sweetspire shrubs leading to our front stoop

Remember what the Chicago Botanic Gardens said?  This is smaller than a traditional Ginko, but not a dwarf.  I thought this would be a great spot to grow this in-between size tree. 

I've (now) planted three front-yard trees and have learned from each one.  Close to the house and driveway, we're dealing with a thick, hard-to-penetrate layer of clay from backfilling the site.  After seeing our first two Chanticleer Pear trees basically drown in their own water, I decided to research a little bit on clay bowls and how to plant in them.  That started with an experiment with the small Bald Cypress tree IB2DWs in 2018.  For that planting, I used a post-hole digger to dig down BELOW the clay layer to allow for (and create) a "drain" of sorts that would allow for the water to seep out.  That seemed to work, so I've done much the same with everything I've planted in similar clay.

For this Saratoga Ginko Tree, I pulled out the post-hole digger and dug deep.  Remember...what did Ralph Snodsmith say about digging holes?  Using that post-hole digger to get deep makes this a $5 hole.

I start with the spade digging what is needed to hold the tree root ball.  From there, I then go down the center all the way through the clay.  See below:


Then, I water tested the clay bowl and drainage.  I filled the entire hole with water and waited to see how long it took to drain.  See below for what it looked like after about 15 seconds - where most of the water hung around.  Within two minutes, it all seeped away.  That's what we wanted.


Here, below is where this tree has been planting.  For now...it is small and barely peeks out above the Little Henry Sweetspire.  But, what is already apparent is the foliage is quite dramatic and responds really well to even the slightest of breezes.  Feels like a real nice addition to our front yard landscape.


This is the seventh tree of the season. The first six were the Green Giant Thujas from March. This will be the 75th tree planted (wow...75 trees!), there are 54 of those 74 that are still alive.

Six growing seasons (this being REALLY early in the season):

75 trees planted/6 growing seasons = 12.5 trees on average planted each season.
54 trees alive/6 growing seasons = 9 trees on average survive each season.

I wasn't planning on focusing (very much) on trees, so these might end up being all of the plantings for the year - which would put 2022 at the bottom of the season list.

Here's the full accounting:

2017 (9 planted. 4 Dead. 5 of the original annual total alive now):
1. Flowering Pear in backyard on north side.
2. Flowering Pear in front yard by garage. (LOST and replaced)
3. Japanese flowering cherry
4 and 5: 2 Lindens that I espalier'd and placed by the south fence line near our kitchen windows.
6. A Dawn Redwood from Earth Day 2017 (LOST and replaced)
7. Nat's Saucer Magnolia in our front yard
8. A Corkscrew Willow all the way in the back (LOST)
9. A Crimson King Norway Maple near the trampoline

2018 (17 planted. 6 Dead):
10. Another flowering pear from Earth Day 2018
11. Red Maple Sun Valley tree from Earth Day 2018.
12. Weeping Cedar tree - our first evergreen.  (LOST)
13. The weeping flowering cherry tree that the Babe planted for Earth Day 2018.
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. These Frans Fontaine Hornbeams
22. A replacement Chanticleer Pear tree (3" caliper) out front by our garage
23. Our second evergreen - a short Fraser Fir Christmas Tree out by the trampoline. (LOST)
24. This Canadian Hemlock that is the first of nine that our landscape plan calls for in the backyard. (LOST)
25. Our replanted/replacement Dawn Redwood. Same spot as the first.
26. This teeny-tiny Bald Cypress that I planted in the front yard, in between our driveway and our neighbor to the north.

2019 (9 planted.  5 Dead):
27, 28, 29.  A set of three small Canadian Hemlock Trees in our far backyard. (Two Lost)
30, 31, 32.  This second set of three small Canadian Hemlocks along the north fence line. (One Lost)
33.  My new Weeping White Spruce that will only grow about 4' wide placed near the fence line alongside the espalier'd Lindens.
34.  A NEW Dwarf Alberta Spruce planted near the south fence line.  Our first "dwarf" tree.
35.  This new Hakuro Nishiki Willow (Dappled Willow) tree planted close to the flowering cherry on the southside.  LOST - October 2020.

37.  A very thin Lombardy Poplar tree - columnar form - in the way back wood chip area.  LOST - July 2020.
38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45.  These apple trees in a Belgian Fence espalier.
46.  A small Northern Red Oak tree - our first Oak tree planted.
47.  A 'decapitated' Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud that I planted on a whim.
48.  A replacement (from the nursery) Lavender Twist Redbud planted close to the brother.
49.  A tall(ish) London Plane tree that suffered some transplant and frost shock, but seemed to recover. 
50.  Our second contorted tree - this one inspired by Disneyland Paris: a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick tree.
51.  Our third contorted tree - but one that checks A LOT of boxes.  Deciduous conifer.  Weeping.  Contorted.  Japanese.  Planted behind the front Maple - the Horstmann's Recursive Weeping Contorted Larch.  LOST - Aug 2020.
52.  Via the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale - a columnar tree from Japan - the Red Fox Katsura Tree that I planted as an understory tree to the dying Chanticleer Pear Tree next to our driveway. 

2021 (16 planted and 16 alive):
53.  A tiny bareroot Shagbark Hickory from the Benet Academy Environmental Club planted in the backyard.   
55.  A large Weeping Nootka Falsecypress from Wannemaker's planted in the new bed on the northside. 
56.  A long-sought-after Emperor I Japanese Maple - our second Japanese Maple - that is now planted on the border near our new-to-be-created fire pit area in the backyard. 
59.  A dwarf Japanese White Pine - Pinus Parviflora Nana (or perhaps something else)
64.  A second, tiny Ginko tree - this was a replacement for #62 - planted 'ib2dw'.
65.  A small - and ALL Green - Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) planted in front of the back Yews.
66. 67. 68.  A trio of London Planetree 'Bloodgood' trees that are planted along the fence that I'm going to attempt to pleach.

2022 (7 planted and 7 alive):
69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. Six Green Giant Thujas trees planted as an upright evergreen layer in the backyard. Thuja standishii plicata.
75. A small Saratoga Ginko tree planted in our front yard by the front walk.

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