Georgia College bids farewell to Ginkgo tree

Georgia College bids farewell to Ginkgo tree

For many Georgia College campus community members, the great Ginkgo tree outside of Russell Auditorium has been a sight to behold. Its striking transformation in the fall from green, supple leaves to bellowing bright yellow leaves has marked the beginning of the season for decades.

Unfortunately, the Ginkgo tree has been struggling for more than five years due to a root disease that overtook its underground roots long before the tree began to show symptoms above ground. Smaller and fewer leaves began to spark from the tree. More limbs died and it was evident that the whole crown and central trunk was infected. 

The Gingko tree near Russell Auditorium
The Gingko tree near Russell Auditorium

Several attempts were made from the Grounds Department in Facilities Management to save the tree including sampling and testing for insects, alleviating stress on the tree by no longer planting flowers near it and sending disease samples from twigs, leaves and roots to a lab at the University of Georgia. Lab results confirmed it was Phytophthora, a root rot disease, caused by the Ginkgo tree’s intolerance to an over-abundance of water that had occurred over a six-year period of excessive rains in Milledgeville.

In June 2020, the Grounds Department began to remove the brittle center of the tree. Currently there are plans to re-plant another Ginkgo tree near the vicinity of Russell Auditorium by fall, if not sooner.