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Regional Picks: Plant This, Not That – Midwest

Fine Gardening - Issue 138

1. Overused: Silver maple

Alternative: Ginkgo

Name: Acer saccharinum and cvs.

Name: Ginkgo biloba


Name: Ginkgo biloba

Zones: 5 to 9

Size: 80 feet tall and 25 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; fertile, well-drained soil

In northern states, silver maple billows with golden foliage in autumn—but not here in St. Louis. If you want brilliant fall color, plant a ginkgo instead. Its delicate, fan-shaped yellow leaves won’t disappoint. Ginkgo also lacks the drawbacks of silver maple, which is notori­ously prone to storm damage and has a shallow root system that makes gardening and mowing a challenge. If you’re going to plant a ginkgo, however, plant a male cultivar; the female trees produce a terrible-smelling fruit.

2. Overused: Forsythia  

Alternative: Cornelian cherry dogwood

Name: Forsythia spp. and cvs.

 Name: Cornus mas and cvs.

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