Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Bad news: stinky ginkgo seeds are dropping again, but the city can help remove the trees

If you like things that smell like poop, this is your time of the year: the ginkgo trees are dropping their seed pods, which means stinky, sticky sludge on sidewalks in the neighborhood.

I noticed a few the other day on Spring Road, and with the cold weather, there will be many more soon. I dread the thought. The odor sticks to shoes and bike tires and smells like feces or vomit or very bad milk. Not fun. Thank the butyric acid inside.

The city's Urban Forestry Administration actually will spray the female trees, which drop the seeds, to stop them from dropping, as well as remove them from a whole block in some cases.

The city will replace a whole block's worth of ginkgo trees for free, but there are some requirements first: you have to get 60% of the property owners on the block to agree, as well as the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission. Seems like a good deal, though maybe not the easiest to accomplish. Their site has a petition and such you can use.

If I had a whole bunch on my block, however, I definitely would start to process.


  1. These pods are a venerable Chinese delicacy. Stinky as it is, the fruit can apparently be tamed, once peeled and added to other dishes. Under a Chinese friend's guidance (and, truth be told, not breathing), I made the great leap of faith and tasted it. It was good--but not good enough for me to pollute my kitchen without knowing more. If you're interested, type "gingo fruit" into google for information.

    Suzanne in Dupont

  2. That'd be sad to get rid of them -- they're living fossils!



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