My gingko tree has smelly fruit every year. What can I do about this? —Evelyn Collins, Beloit, WI
There is little you can do about the smelly fruit, short of replacing your tree with something else. You could snip off all the tiny fruits before they grow much, but that’s probably not worth the effort.
Gingko trees are dioecious, which means they are either male or female. Many have been propagated from cuttings taken from trees known to produce only male flowers and are sold as male trees. However, as those trees mature and begin blooming, which may take 20 years or more, many produce female flowers that develop into terrible-smelling fruits. (The reason for supposedly male trees blooming with female flowers is unknown.) By then, they’re well established in the landscape, so you have to decide whether to take them down or put up with smelly fruit each year.