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Himalayan birch and ginkgo biloba advice

greenlovegreenlove Posts: 164

I am looking to buy a Himalayan birch multistemmed tree (betula jacquemontii) and a Ginkgo biloba tree. Both of the species I think would provide good focal points in my garden.

I can either buy a multi stemmed himalayan birch which is around 2.5m tall in a 35L pot (for £200) or two single stemmed specimens of the same height and grown in 15L pots. Which one do you think would be best? The other question was regarding prunning. I dont want any of these trees to grow more than 3m tall so I would need to prune them regularly.

Do the ginkgo and birch accept this sort of prunning? I suppose in a way it would be kind of like maintaining two giant bonsais....

I would be grateful for any advice you can offer.

Last edited: 19 August 2016 23:37:48



  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,571

    Birch will regrow from pollarding. Maintaining it to 3m will only be possible if you lollipop the tree. I hate lollipopped trees. They just don't look natural.

  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,498

    £200 is very expensive for a 2.5m tree. If you only want it to grow to 3m I think you should choose a variety of tree or shrub  whose ultimate height is only 3m.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • Birch will also regrow from coppicing, that will give you the multi stemmed effect without paying £200. Ginko I'm not sure about

  • Daisy33Daisy33 Posts: 1,031


    My 5 yo ginkgo in a pot, about 2m tall. (not the most stupendous photo 'tis true image)

    Not been pruned at any time.

  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601

    There are so many trees and shrubs to choose from. I feel that most trees look best when they are allowed to grow naturally and just pruned for health, so they attain their true size and shape. Why not go for something that grows to the size you want? That said, willow and hazel are very accommodating and still look attractive when started fresh every year or two.

  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    Whatever you do, make sure you get a male Ginko, the seeds of the female ones smell something like a mix of vomit and putrid cheese!image

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,007

    I can't see the point of buying a tree that wants to grow to anything between 12 and 20 metres high and 8 to 10 across and then keep it at 3ms.   It will look unbalanced and need a great deal of maintenance.

    Better to choose a small tree in the first place.  The RHS has a list - that will make a good starting point.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Tall treesTall trees Posts: 175

    I agree with obelixx, it don't make sense to spend that sort of money on beautiful looking trees to chop them back, the art of good gardening is to choose the correct plants for the correct location.

  • greenlovegreenlove Posts: 164

    Thank you very much for your replies everyone. Very grateful.

    I need to clarify that the reason why I have chosen these two trees is for their uniqueness. I.e. shape of the leaves of the Ginkgo and the way they turn yellow in autumn before they fall. By the sounds of it the Ginkgo seems to be a slow grower and as such i believe i can keep it in check. I shall certainly follow the advice and get a male tree. image

    As far as the himalayan birch is concerned i have chosen it because I have always loved its beautiful white bark and i plan to plant it as a centre piece surrounded by ferns and hostas which i feel would look rather stunning. The plants I was looking at are sold here:

    I think the £200 reflects not only the height of the plant but also its age. The reason why I am considering the birch's age is because the white  bark develops after the plant is a few years old (apparently). Nevertheless I will shop around on the web to see if I can find a better price for one.

    I dont mind growing the plant from coppicing or even buying a younger plant that would cost less. However I am not sure how long they would need to develop a nice bark colour or a trunk(s) that is at least 8cm in girth. Dont get me wrong, I am a very patient person and have grown many plants in my garden. However these two young trees (especially the birch) are intended to create that focal point and I would rather spend a bit more for a more developed tree than wait 5 years to get the desired effect.

    I have a cherry tree in my garden which for the last five years I have prunned rather hard and every year it releases new shoots and so far all's been good. I have included a picture below of it now:


    This is what i intend to do with the birch although not prune it as hard. Now if i increassed the intended max height of the tree to 4-5m would that be better?

    Last edited: 20 August 2016 19:39:17

  • Dilly3Dilly3 Posts: 91

    I have a Ginkgo it's nearly 20 years old and it's not much bigger than when we bought it,but  the leaves do turn a lovely shade of yellow in the autumn .

     it was in the ground for a few years then because it hadn't grown much we put it in a large pot and moved it to a different place in the garden but that didn't really help . It is just one main stem and a small branch of that so any tips on getting it to grow a bit more . 

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