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DDOT to spray ginkgo trees to stem smell

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The infamously smelly ginkgo fruits.
The infamously smelly ginkgo fruits.

There are about 900 female ginkgo trees in D.C. and they produce grape sized fruit that covers sidewalks and smells like vomit. To prevent that from happening, D.C.'s Department of Transportation sprays them with Shield, a chemical also known as chlorpropham.

John Thomas, associate director of urban forestry for D.C., says the Shield 3C is able to stop the process of fruit development on the trees.

It's also used on potatoes to prevent sprouting, according to Thomas. But there's a narrow area where it works in this way.

"There's been no effect on ... other trees or flowering plants in the area," Thomas says.

The spraying began Monday night in Wards 1, 2, and 6 -- where the trees are most prevalent -- and will continue overnight in the other wards over the next few days.


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