Help with pruning/shaping new Li Jujube

Got my first Jujube (Li) from a relative and planted it this past Fall. I received it at a couple of feet tall with no side branches. It woke up this Spring and the red portion in the picture below shows the new primary shoot that has been growing this year with a # of secondary shoots. It’s about 6 feet tall now and the top of the primary shoot is still green and appears to be actively growing.

My goal is to keep it at a max height of 8’ when matured and maximize on fruit production, like all my other fruit trees. Do I need to do any summer pruning this year? How should I prune it in the next few season to achieve my goal? @jujubemulberry :wink:

I’m in Zone 10A, the tree gets full sun.

Thanks in advance!

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Nice tree @simon0inla ! And yes, light or severe pruning won’t hurt a jujube tree’s feelings-- as long as it is under full sun :slight_smile:

you could let the upright stem grow a couple more feet(i think it might still grow this year after the green spurt you currently have) then behead it at 8 feet as you’ve planned.
since the laterals are where most of the fruits are borne, diligent pruning of vertical growth would promote fruit production on those laterals. If you notice each node along those laterals only have one or two flowering(herbaceous) stems per node. Those nodes will develop into fruiting spurs which will produce more flowering stems as time passes, so effectively will be more productive per unit length of lateral.


laterals that get full sun will be productive for many years, but at some point, due to burgeoning vigor, some of those fruiting spurs will launch uprights of their own. You could rub them off as soon as you see them.


@jujubemulberry Thx for chiming in Raf! I’ll let the new upright shoot grow some more this year as recommended by the Juju master. When I behead it later this year, will a new primary upright shoot grow this year or next season? From what I hear, unlike most other trees, Jujubes only put out 1 primary shoot a year? Is there a way to encourage the next primary shoot(s) to come from the lower portion of the tree to promote a more balanced bushier form?

Apology on all the questions! I love my tree and want to give it a proper start. :smile:

not a master here; just a long-time student who will likely never graduate :smile:

considering your locale, i think it will be inclined to launch another upright from its apical bud. A juju apical bud is capable of launching another growth spurt even before the upright stem(bearing the apical bud) lignifies.

may also launch uprights from nodes diagonally below each lateral, but usually from nodes along the lignified portions of the upright, and not from dormant nodes of the still-green upright stem.

So there isn’t a way to encourage new upright from a specific point lower on the plant? I did that for my other fruit trees when they were young by “notching” just above a node that I want to have a branch form. I was wondering if something similar would work on jujube which sounds like an unconventional plant in many ways. :sweat_smile:

beheading the apical bud will increase chances of new uprights growing from below nodes(be it from lateral nodes or upright nodes)

severely pruning laterals, or total removal of laterals would be the most effective ways of stimulating upright stems growing from dormant nodes along the trunk. Only problem with this is that it will also stimulate the launch of uprights from rootstock.

you’d notice this to be a common occurrence with bare-root jujus(whips) which online nurseries ship all the time–just the main trunk(upright) with all its laterals removed to facilitate squeezing into a narrow box…
even with sparse roots, the dormant nodes will exhibit attempts to grow upright stems, albeit only short ones since not enough roots to support them.

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forgot to say, dormant nodes along upright stems are more inclined to produce upright stems. While dormant nodes along laterals are more likely to produce deciduous fruiting stems, and will only launch uprights when the specimen has a high rootball volume vs above-ground volume ratio.

much like any other tree that is chopped down to a stump-- vegetative/structural growth is prioritized by the stump/rootstock in its attempt to maintain “equilibrium”