- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 6, 2009

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) | The ginkgo tree is renowned for its hardiness, surviving everything from road salt to an atomic bomb, but it may be undone by another trait - it reeks.

“It’s pretty disgusting,” said Jan Schneider, an office manager in downtown Iowa City whose business has a ginkgo out front.

Iowa City was one of many communities that planted ginkgoes in the 1970s only to discover that after years without problems, some of the trees can begin dropping large seed shells, creating a sticky, slimy, smelly mess. The smell makes some think of rotten eggs, while others are reminded of vomit.

Some cities have started cutting down ginkgoes, while others are standing by their trees and even planting more of them. In Iowa City, deciding to cut down another one of its few remaining ginkgoes was a no-brainer.

“We have no recourse at this point,” said Terry Robinson, superintendent of the city’s forestry division. “It creates a sanitation problem for us because we have to be down there cleaning it up as often as possible.

“No matter what we do, two seconds after we leave, there are more on the ground and somebody can step in it.”

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