Bye, Bye, Barfberries, or, a Good Idea from D.C.?

In autumn, Brooklyn Heights sidewalks get a generous sprinkling of the overripe fruit of ginkgo trees exuding a noxious smell from which comes their nickname. The fruit contains butyric acid, a substance also found in rancid butter. Tree experts in our nation’s capital may have a cure.

dcist: The arrival of warmer spring weather means one thing: … the ginkgos are once again threatening to rise up and fill our nasal passages with nothing but disgusting scents all summer and fall.

To battle the stinky fruit, the District Department of Transportation’s Urban Forestry Administration — a.k.a. DDOT Trees — began to coat female ginkgo trees with the same spray they’ve used in previous years to try and neutralize the odor.

Evidently, Washington’s warmer weather makes the fruit ripen earlier there. According to the news story, the spray is harmless to cars and, we hope, to people and pets.

Thanks to reader Andrew Porter for the tip.

Share this Story:

, , , ,

  • T.K. Small

    This could be one of the greatest human advances of all time!

  • Jim

    I like how they use the word spray to make everyone think it is harmless. I bet the spray is a pesticide. DDT was once sprayed everywhere until the effects became known

  • Andrew Porter

    In your case, Jim, we can have you sprayed—I mean spayed—to prevent further noxious e-missions…

    My idea was to spread nets under the trees, then post notices in Chinatown to have locals come harvest the fruits.

    The building at the corner of Hicks and Pierrepont (the one whose idea of landscaping outside their very dirty building is to cut down anything trying to grow there) never bothers to hose off the fruits which lie crushed on their sidewalk. Maybe this will negate that.

  • David on Middagh

    The spray is a pesticide. Besides killing bugs, the chemical prevents the fruit from forming on the tree. No fruit–> no sidewalks and streets dolloped with odoriferous pulp.