Jujube 2021

Given that some of the Jujube threads have reached thousands of posts, I thought that it might be easier to group 2021 results in one place. I’m going to start with some pics/reports from the last few days, but may come back and add some from earlier in the season.

Shanxi Li has been far better that in past years. The 2 trees were planted in 2016, so maybe it is getting better with age, as Castanea suggested it would.

Bok Jo is not only very productive, it gets quite sweet and has pretty good texture (not as good as Honey Jar, but only a few are even close…).

The Tae Sang Wang is pretty large, with an interesting texture. It stands out as the most tender, though it isn’t extremely crisp or crunchy (moderate on both counts).

Unlike some of the early season So, these recent ones are quite crunchy, with more juice to them than everything on the plate other than Honey Jar.

For the most part, all of the above jujubes were pretty good. The massive Dae Sol Jo was probably the worst, but I remember having better ones this fall. Maybe this one was just a bit under-sweet due to its extreme size (> 1.6 oz).

Xu Zhou:

I really need to remember to let Xu Zhou get completely dark before picking it. Some of the ones in my hand were 27 brix, while the less ripe one was 22 brix. The texture is only middle-of-the-road, so they really need to be high brix to be tasty (at least for me).

While they crack badly in some years, these have only a few minor cosmetic cracks.

While I picked the vast majority of So from my most mature tree a while ago, the ones on a younger tree (right next to my mailbox) are just about to ripen.

I visited a couple of other sites (rental properties) today and there were a lot of 2nd crop Sugar Canes. The first batch was ripe about a month ago and now the 2nd (larger) crop is starting.

This is the same tree which was leaning last month, prompting me to add a 2nd support post. But, the tree was too tall, as I was only able to support it up to about 8’. So, the top 4+ feet acted like a pendant branch. Of course, since I didn’t have a ladder, I would pull down on it to reach the ripe fruit. It went well until I pulled down a bit too hard and snapped it. Rather than having it hang on the rest of the tree, I cut it off. I brought it home, as I didn’t have enough containers with me. It turned out to have another 3+ lbs of fruit.

Even the fully dark Sugar Cane are a bit low-sugar to me this year (in past years they were good), but my wife thought that these less ripe ones were good. Sugar Cane has good texture. Similar juiciness to Honey Jar, with a lighter crisp bite.

Here are Li from 2 different sites. Neither was all that great, but the ones from the first pic were better than the 2nd. The better ones came from the same site as the above Sugar Cane.


I think I’ve discovered a mislabeled tree. One of the 2 Autumn Beauties from JFaE has very small, dry fruit.

The fruit really reminded me of the fruit I’ve gotten from a rootstock sucker. As it happened, I went to a property where I had grown out the sucker (only the top half is grafted to something else), so I was able to get some fruit to compare.

They look pretty similar to me. Taste (moderately sweet with some tart), texture (tough and not crisp), and pit also look similar. Interestingly, this sucker was from a tree I got from JFaE in 2011. I’m wondering if this rootstock has been used for a bunch of their tree and the graft never took on the Autumn Beauty. The other Autumn Beauty tree (from the same order) has large fruit. I’m going to take a look at it and compare the thorns to see if they match.

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Thanks, Bob. Your assessment is helpful to me because we are pretty much in the same area. Although taste is subjective, I have found that for the most part, our taste of fruit has been similar, too.

Seeing your So being productive convinces me that I need to get rid of mine. 6 years of no fruit is a waste of space.

6 years with none from So is pretty strange. I planted mine from Englands in April 2018. I don’t think it had any fruit in 2018 or 2019. Then, last year there was a handful, but not much. This year there is more, but the branch in the pic with 7-8 fruit on it isn’t representative for the whole tree (branches would break…), though there is fruit on other parts of the tree too. I’ve got several So, both at home and at the rental and think year 2 or 3 is when you would expect to see a few fruit, then increasing each year after.

The only times which took longer were one at a very dry location which took another year and the time I planted growing trees right before a hard frost and they had to grow back from the ground. Is your So at least growing, or is it still quite small?

My So from JF&E had fantastic fruit on it this year—very crisp and sweet and a bit larger than Honey Jar. It is on its own roots and I thought it was going to die last year but had some good growth this year. It is one I look forward to eating. My So from burnt ridge nearly died in the vortex but a branch of it lives on. The fruits are just So So (intended!)

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My is from Burntridge. It has odd growth, leaves bunch up in clump. I forgot the name of the disease. All in all, it is an dud and an absolute waste of time.

Here’s a pic of the whole tree. So seems to have a tendency to turn into a large, wide bush.

Here’s a Churchpoint graft on it from this spring with one fruit. Note that it’s leaves have a darker green shade than the rest of the tree.

I got a So from BR, but it died, so I’ve never gotten a chance to compare. Given the reviews, I don’t think I will. I do have So’s from JFaE, Bay Laurel, Englands, Edible Landscaping, and Bob Wells (DWN). All seem pretty similar to me, so maybe it is just BR which is different. Edible Landscaping is the only one I haven’t sampled yet, as I just got them this year. But I do see that one of the trees (I got 10) has a fruit on it already.

I got a couple Dae Sol Jo from another tree (graft made in 2018). Of these, the large one was 20 brix and pretty bland. The small one was 25.5 brix and decent. Neither was too crisp/crunchy, so the larger one didn’t have much to like, but the smaller one was OK. Maybe DSJ is similar to Xu Zhou and needs to be completely brown before being picked.

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I was at a rental property today and got quite a haul. All of this, other than the figs and the 2-3 Li (box on the bottom left) came from just 2 trees- a Honey Jar from Bay Laurel and a So from Englands, both planted in 2019.

Several of the varieties were grafted this year:
Sugar Cane- these are crisp and have high brix, but still have a bit of an off taste that I mentioned in another thread. Either this season affected all the Sugar Cane in my area (covering sites in at least 3 towns) or my tastes have changed post-covid. I’ve seen others report this off-taste with Sugar Cane (for years now, not covid related), but I never noticed it before. This time the brix is very high, so it isn’t simply a matter of low brix fruit not masking a flavor which has always been there.

Bok Jo- Produced a lot (about a pint today, with more on it), but I don’t like them as much as the Bok Jo from more mature trees. It isn’t even that they don’t get enough brix, as I measured these at 32-33. I think the texture is a bit less crisp and the size is obviously much smaller.

For comparison, here’s a very good Bok Jo from my yard (wtih a couple Xu Zhou):

The Xu Zhou wasn’t as good as the Bok Jo, but was better than Xu Zhou has been in the past.

Bu Lu Shu- I grafted it this spring with wood from @scottfsmith. This graft didn’t grow very large like some of the others, but did grow a foot or two and produced a single fruit. Decently crisp texture and mild sweet flavor. Enough to give it some hope for the future

Fucuimi- There were only a few left today, but I picked some on Tuesday night on my way to a softball game (and took this pic). Pretty good and a brix close to 30, with decent crispness. I look forward to how these will do with another year under their belt. The parent tree still hasn’t made a single fruit.

Sihong- Still not ready, but they are sizing up pretty well for fruit that set so late in the year. The 10 day forecast has a lot of rainy days, but no frost, so maybe they will get a chance to ripen.

The main varieties on those 2 trees (not grafted this year like the 5 varieties listed above:
Honey Jar- a few of the Honey Jar are larger (I think they may have set a bit earlier in the season), but many are quite small. Still tasty as they are crisp and up to 32 brix (26-32 was the range from 3-4 that I sampled).

Pretty productive on some branches (over 1 quart today and there is more on the tree). It wasn’t evenly distributed though, as some branches had almost none.

These So are excellent and I liked them as much or more than the Honey Jars. Brix at 32, lots of crunch (denser texture than HJ), but still plenty juicy. It also has a bit of acid bite to it.

The Li were OK. Decent brix (about 25) and the texure was OK, Nothing that impressive and a big tree producing 2-3 fruit (vs ~2.5 quarts of fruit from the 2 other trees).

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I just ate my last ones this week!!! :cry::cry:
My very first ones were ready august 1st so I had 2 1/2 months of good eating. I guess you can’t ask for better than that! Those look really good, Bob.

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I have never tasted a jujube before, but am interested in planting one because I’ve heard good things about how easy it is to grow and how tasty it is. Based on what I’ve read, I was thinking of planting a honey jar. I like sweet crunchy fruits, and I have little kids and it seems like honey jar’s taste and texture would be kid-friendly. I also conveniently have a store credit at OGW and they have honey jar in stock. BUT! Honey jar is expensive! It is $60, and OGW has other varieties that are $40. Do you think honey jar is worth the extra money? Or are other varieties just as good?

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Everyone here is going to tell you yes. You’re asking the wrong people for a completely unbias opinion.

We jujube fanatics would probably be willing to pay more for early access to a new cultivar. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Honey Jar is good and probably very kid friendly for introducing a new fruit. It is also usually very productive at an early age. Jujubes are very expensive to buy. I looked at OGW site and they are saying out of stock on the Honey Jar. Most nurseries get more stock in the fall so that may be factored into the listing for Fall 2021. There is another that you might consider and that is Black Sea. They have it in stock as a one gallon plant. It will be very small but should grow well. I’m not as familiar with its productivity and precociousness but some of the others here could attest to that. @castanea, @BobVance, @PharmerDrewee. Massandra is another really good one IMO and has been very productive for me but it is also showing out of stock. Those are just a couple I would recommend from the lower priced standpoint. However the Honey Jar may be a larger plant than the other two hence the higher priced. Jujus are expensive because of the supply and demand. I do graft and sell some but the Honey Jars I have sell out faster than any of the others.

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Thanks! Ay yah, they were in stock a few days ago when I last looked!

If the general consensus is that honey jar is worth it, then I’m happy to pay the extra for it. I’d rather have fruit that I love than fruit that’s just ok.

If they’re out of stock now, is it likely that they’ll restock for spring 2022, or would I likely have to wait for fall 2022?

You’ll probably need to ask OGW. These past couple of years due to covid have been the equivalent of the y2k rush. Everyone is gardening and thinking about planting. Things sell out now in the first month of summer preorders, whereas in the past you could wait until the spring and still see available inventory. Nurseries are seeing their best sales in 15-20 years. That is why you see prices at Starks, RT, and other places go up (well probably also due to inflation). Demand is really high.

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Nice report.

What was the source of your So tree, or wood?

Generally, unless it’s a rare variety, which Honey Jar is not, the more expensive jujubes at OGW are larger trees.

Whenever you see that someone has a jujube tree that you want, at a price you can afford, buy it. You may not see that tree for sale again for a long time.

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Not very quickly, at least for me. Their one gallon jujubes take forever to get going. For example, I planted Black Sea in October 2015 (17" tall, 3/16" caliper, per my notes). It was 2020 before it was 6’ tall and ready to produce a few fruit. The other 2 from the same order (Coco and Massandra) also reached roughly that size at about the same point.

As noted by others, the price difference is from the size/type, not the variety (I see other varieties for $60 bare root there). I’ve never gotten a bare root from them, so I don’t know how big it would be. But if you have store credit it is worth a shot.

I would pay more to get something new, but Honey Jar isn’t new, so you should be able to get wood from most jujube growers. In fact, Getting a good sized tree of whatever type and then grafting the variety you want onto it is what I did this past spring.

The last 2 jujubes I got from OGW (Empress Gee and Confetti) was basically me paying $40 each for scionwood. I bet the grafts of each will fruit far before the original trees. But, I was willing to open the wallet for interesting varieties…

I would say that the Black Sea fruit is as good as Honey Jar (high praise). But it has been far less precocious/productive for me, at least so far. After the half dozen fruit last year, it actually took a step back this year and only made 1-2.

Thanks- I’ve been pretty surprised by how well jujubes do at that location. They get almost complete sun, other than a tall thin pine tree in the neighbors yard which blocks a few minutes near dusk. And the street is angled so that water runs down it onto the front lawn and even makes a bit of a river along the side property line during heavy storms. I think jujubes may be different than some other fruit trees. @fruitnut likes to grow his on water deficit to increase brix. And you can have a droopy/stressed looking tree with some incredible fruit. But for jujubes, the best fruit seems to be on strong healthy trees.

Here’s one more variety- when I was passing a tree next to my driveway today, I noticed a single fruit on a September Late graft. Not very productive for me, as I made the graft in 2017 and this is the first time I’ve been able to sample it. Good brix and OK texture (same ballpark as Xu Zhou). It would have to be incredible for me to want to contend with the lack of productivity…

Today, I picked a few more Xu Zhou and was surprised when one registered 32 brix. The ones I picked the other day were in the low-mid 20’s. Maybe I need to amend my rule from “wait until they are all brown” to “wait until they are brown, then wait some more”.

I know I’ve had several varieties at 32 brix, so some may think that is as high as my refractometer goes. 32 is actually as high as my old one went (30 was labeled with 2 marks above it), and I would sometimes max it out on Jujubes. But I recently got another refractometer when I misplaced my old one (I’ll find it someday…I think). This time, it goes up to 90, so I should be covered. It does make it a bit harder to give a precise reading. Instead of 21.5 I may just say 21 now. But, brix can vary from different pars of the same fruit, so there is some inherent uncertainty anyway.

I don’t recall if Englands got the tree from DWN that year or if it was something he grew. I suspect DWN, as it was an XL.

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My So from JF&E fruits were excellent this year and 50-75% larger than most of my Honey Jar. I nearly lost that tree last year and it’s done a lot of growing but didn’t have a lot of fruit. What was there was fantastic—on par with HJ this year.

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Come to think of it my Massandra that never grew much came from OGW. It stayed about 18” inches for three years though it produced a lot of fruit for its size. It died over the winter vortex but came back out this spring and is now 3 1/2 feet tall and very healthy looking

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Thanks so much for the advice! Now I know to be on the lookout for either So or honey jar!

Bob Vance: you mentioned that you also got Black Sea, Coco, Massandra, confetti, and empress gee from OGW. Are those comparable to So and honey jar in terms of sweetness/crunchiness/juiciness? Or should I just stick to so and hj?

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Be careful which So you buy. There is at least one out there that is most often sold by Burnt Ridge that does not produce fruit that is as good.

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