by Borderstan.com October 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm 4,030 2 Comments

"ginkgo"

The city cut down seven mature female Ginkgo trees in fall 2009 on the 1500-block of Corcoran Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The following article originally ran December 14, 2008. With the arrival of fall — and the unsavory smell of the falling fruit of Ginkgo trees hitting local sidewalks, we thought it was a good time post the article again.

Update from October 10, 2009: I was looking at the site stats and noticed that this post from December 14, 2008, had gotten a lot of hits today. I guess the Ginkgo trees are smelling like dog poo lately… and the berries are certainly falling on the Corcoran Street sidewalks. So… here you go: Here is why Ginkgo tree berries smell like dog poo. 

I have never been able to figure out two things:

  1. Why would anyone would plant Ginkgo trees in a city, especially in neighborhoods with a high volume of pedestrian sidewalk traffic? Yes, I am thinking of the 1500-block of Corcoran Street NW — see Corcoran Street: Down Go the Ginkgos.
  2. What makes Ginkgo tree fruit smell like dog poop?

The second question has been answered. I would love to hear from readers as to the “why” in question number one. It is worth noting that the smell and mess from the falling fruit is so bad that the DC government sprays the female trees in the spring to “to prevent the notoriously unpleasant odor of the popular ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba) from overtaking city streets.”

From The Washington Post, December 13, 2008:

The bouquet of a ginkgo tree’s fruit has strong notes of unwashed feet and Diaper Genie, with noticeable hints of spoiled butter. For the District government this winter, it is the smell of defeat. This year, arborists working for the city tried a new solution for the stinky fruit, which has plagued residents for decades. They injected more than 1,000 ginkgo biloba trees with a chemical to stop them from producing the fruit. Whoops. The chemical didn’t work, for reasons that scientists still don’t understand. Now, instead of less ginkgo stink, Washington has its worst case in years — a bumper crop of nastiness that is studding sidewalks and sliming dress shoes from Capitol Hill to Kalorama. Read entire Post story.

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by Borderstan.com December 14, 2008 at 10:46 am 1,521 0

UPDATE: I was looking at the site stats and noticed that this post from December 14, 2008, had gotten a lot of hits today. I guess the ginkgo trees are smelling like dog poo lately… and the berries are certainly falling on the Corcoran Street sidewalks. So… here you go: here is why gingko tree berries smell like dog poo.

I have never been able to figure out two things:

  1. Why would anyone would plant Ginkgo trees in a city, especially in neighborhoods with a high volume of pedestrian sidewalk traffic? (Yes, I am thinking of the 1500-block of Corcoran Street NW.)
  2. What makes Ginkgo tree fruit smell like dog poop?

The second question has been answered. I would love to hear from readers as to the “why” in question 1.

From The Washington Post:

The bouquet of a ginkgo tree’s fruit has strong notes of unwashed feet and Diaper Genie, with noticeable hints of spoiled butter.

For the District government this winter, it is the smell of defeat.

This year, arborists working for the city tried a new solution for the stinky fruit, which has plagued residents for decades. They injected more than 1,000 ginkgo biloba trees with a chemical to stop them from producing the fruit.

Whoops.

The chemical didn’t work, for reasons that scientists still don’t understand. Now, instead of less ginkgo stink, Washington has its worst case in years — a bumper crop of nastiness that is studding sidewalks and sliming dress shoes from Capitol Hill to Kalorama.

Read entire Post story.

by Borderstan.com October 29, 2008 at 6:46 am 0

Borderstanians, do you have bare spots on your property or in your front tree boxes? Now is the time to plant that tree! From The Washington Post, October 28:

District residents who plant a tree on their property and vow to water and nurture it for two years will receive up to $50 through a program launched by the city and Casey Trees, officials announced yesterday.

“We are very enthused about the improvements to the quality of life in the city that come from tree cover,” said D.C. environment department Director George Hawkins. “Any of us know the difference between walking a street on a hot summer day with trees or without.” Read entire story.

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