Jujube 2022

My jujube are just about done and I’ve been going around clearing the last fruit from them…To (mostly) quote game of thrones:

I’ve declared this great summer done at last… the (best jujube) summer in living memory.

Looking at my notes, I ended up picking just over 300 pounds. That doesn’t include the massive amount I ate while picking, nor a few times where I forgot to keep track and didn’t start until a few weeks into the season, around Oct 1st.

In terms of per-tree production:

  • Most productive tree was my oldest tree, a So planted in 2011, which produced at least 53 pounds.
  • My most productive rental has 2 trees in the top 5
    • 37 lbs from a Honey Jar with Bok Jo and Dong grafts
    • 23 lbs from a So with Sihong, Fuicuimi, Sandia, and Sugar Cane).
  • Shanxi Li with a Bok Jo graft produced another 27 lbs, with 10 lbs of that coming from the Bok Jo graft which looked close to breaking off due to the fruit load)
  • Sugar Cane at another rental produced 20 lbs

In all, these top 5 trees produced 160 lbs, over half of the total, leaving the other 90-95 trees to produce less than half. The productive trees are generally among the older ones, though the 2 at the very productive rental (60lbs in 2 trees) were only planted in 2019. The 3rd jujube planted at that time is a Li, with a few grafts (Dong and Redlands), and produced about 10 lbs. Li just isn’t all that productive for me, compared to many other varieties.

The other trees in the top 5 were planted in 2016 and 2017. But there is quite a disparity in production. While the tree planted in 2017 produced 20 lbs, 3 other trees planted at that site in the same year produced 17lbs between them.

One Shanxi Li from 2016 produced 27 lbs (with some help from Boj Jo), while another Shanxi Li planted at the same time (same vendor too, ToA), but on the other side of the yard produced less than a pound. I think a large part of the difference is how much the tree has grown. I feel like happy jujubes pump out fruit, while slow growing ones are much more stingy. It isn’t like apples where a vigorous tree will hold off on making fruit for years. Not that there isn’t such a trade off. Some of my jujubes delayed setting fruit, as they kept putting on more growth. But heading the top branches off in June or early July seems to trigger fruit set. Then, that strong vigor got put into making a lot of fruit.

I stopped keeping track pretty early on, but gave away at least 60-80 sandwich bags full of jujubes (about .8lbs each), plus larger amounts to a few people.

Top 10:

  1. Honey Jar- always productive, crisp/crunch, juicy, sweet
  2. Sugar Cane- even crisper and juicier than Honey Jar. Sometimes off flavor, and can taste less sweet than the brix reading would indicate. Still a top choice and quite productive. Does crack badly if it rains close to harvest. A bit larger fruit than the other top choices.
  3. Black Sea- crisp, crunchy, juicy and sweet, more neutral flavor than Honey Jar, which can be overpoweringly sweet
  4. Fuicuimi-New addition to the top tier. Tender and very good, but production is uneven. Very productive (extreme branch bending) at good site, but very little production at 2 other sites.
  5. Dong- Great fruit, but ripens very late, around Nov 1st. Sweet, tender, crisp, and decent sized (almost as big as Sugar Cane). Can be eaten when underripe (even green), so it could still work in marginal area. In some years you may eat green, 20 brix, other years, half brown 30 brix fruit.
  6. Sandia- Basically the same fruit as Dong, but a week or so earlier. Neither I, nor my daughter could tell them apart.
  7. Confetti- Almost like a smaller version of Black Sea. Precocious and productive.
  8. Mei Mi- just by my personal taste, I’d have it at #2, but objectively, it is a step lower due to low production and cracking. But the flavor (a bit of tart) and texture are very good.
  9. KFC- A bit preliminary, but the fruit had good texture, even though you wouldn’t know it by looking at it’s bumpy/rough surface. I’m not sold on it’s production yet, as the original tree produced only 1-2 fruit, while a couple new grafts produced more, but not a heavy load.
  10. BV1 seedling- First seedling I’ve had with good fruit. Good sized (maybe similar to Sugar Cane, but pointier). Crunchy and some juice, but I really need a larger sample (3 fruit so far…) for it to deserve this spot. But I’m pretty optimistic. The fruit was larger and better than that from the Moonlight graft on it.

Bottom 5 (leaving rootstocks off):

  1. Lang- poor texture, only iffy production, but I don’t really want more anyway :slight_smile:
  2. Tigertooth- very late season, but not very good, dense, OK crunch, and not much juice
  3. Huping- Very dry when I tried it a few years ago. This time was better than sawdust (or it would have the #1 spot), but still wasn’t great. Not very productive either
  4. Russia #4- Fairly productive, even in not-great years, small size, poor soft texture
  5. Ant Admire- Past years and the first ones this year had poor texture and were dry. A few later ones right after a rain storm weren’t bad. But, very low production (only half a dozen fruit from a very large branch- probably bigger than the Bok Jo branch which produced 10 pounds of fruit)

I’ll include GA866 as dishonable mention, since I haven’t actually been able to sample any fruit from it. It had fruit for the first time this year, even into September, but something happened to it before it ripened. Not sure if an animal took it, or if the tree just dropped it. It was planted in 2016 (same time as the Shanxi Li which produced 27 lbs) and is only ~20 feet from it. At least the Dae Sol Jo graft on it is productive (13 lbs).

I thought about listing the 10 worst, but decided to stick with 5, as I felt most confident in dissing them. There are still a few in the 6-10 spots (Orange Beauty, Allentown, etc) where I have some hope.

Top 3 producer, which really stand head and shoulders above the rest (both quantity and consistent production):

  • Bok Jo
  • Honey Jar
  • Xu Zhou

I have a strong suspicion that Midnight and Maya/Massandra are all the same cultivar. Prof Yao’s genetic testing showed Maya and Massandra to be a single basepair off from each other, effectively the same.

Black Sea and Russia #2 were shown to be identical in her genetic testing.

I’ve been compiling a large spreadsheet, though I’m not sure how well it will display.

Here are a few cultivars which didn’t make it into the speadsheet:

  • Texas Sawmill- no production in 2nd year
  • Dragon- no production in year #3, but tree hasn’t grown much
  • Porterville- made a few fruit, OK, but likely not Porterville
  • Empress Gee- made a few fruit from potted jujube but knocked one off early (OK texture) and animals got other 2
  • GA866- see above- massively non-productive
  • New grafts with no fruit
    • Hunan Egg
    • Elk Grove
    • Ying Lo
  • Sweet Tart- single small fruit on new graft. Need to compare in future with Texas Tart
    • Texas Tart also has a tart acid flavor, but was much more productive, with both new grafts producing and one even making a 2nd crop on new growth. But TT did have a high proportion of fruit where the texture softened while on tree.
  • Priest- Made one fruit, but was a tiny graft on a transplanted tree (which often impacted texture)
  • Vegas Booty- Big branch, but stubbornly non-productive in year #4
  • Vegas Glitzy- 2nd year, small graft

Sorted by season:

Cultivar Season Fruit Texture Size Shape Productivity Notes
Sugar Cane Earliest Top Crisp, crunchy, light, juicy+ Medium+ Stretched round Great Sometimes doesn’t taste as sweet as brix indicates, cracks
Mei Mi Early Great+ crunchy, juicy, light Med-small long Fair- High brix, good flavor (some kick). Cracks
BV1 seedling Early Great crunchy, juicy Medium+ long pointed, thick Fair Young seedling, so very preliminary
Autumn Beauty Early Good crunchy Large oblong Good One guy really liked it
Fuicuimi Early- end Top Crisp, juicy, “fluffy” Medium+ Stretched round Great- Tender, good, cracks some
Black Sea Early- end Top Crisp crunch, med-light, juicy Small+ short pointed Great+ Crisp, crunch, juice and productive. What’s not to like
Maya Early- end Great- Dense crunch, a bit crisp Medium- long double pointed Great- From genetic tests Maya and Massandra are almost identical
Coco Early- end Great- Crunch, juice Small+ slighly stretched round Good+ I don’t notice any coconut flavor
Moonlight Early- end Great- Dense crunch, a bit crisp Medium- long double pointed Good I suspect that Maya and Moonlight are related/same
Tsao Early- end Good+ Dense crunch Small+ long pointed, thin Good+ Better in past years. Crunchy with juice
Ant Admire Early- end Fair- Somewhat dense, no crunch Small+ long pointed Poor High brix, sweet, later ones improved
Huping Early- end Poor+ Dense, no crunch Medium long Poor+ For drying
Honey Jar Middle Top Crisp, crunch, denser than SC Small Squarish round Top Large pit for its size, good sweet flavor
Confetti Middle Top- Crunchy, crisp, juicy Small- Short, pointed Great+ small sample, but top-tier fruit
Dae Sol Jo Middle Great- Light crunch Large Wide oblong Great- One of the better large-fruited varieties. Cracks some
So Middle Good+ Dense crunch, some juice Medium- round and elongated round Great Wide range in fruit size. Late, large fruit good, with acid bite
Chico Middle Good- crunch, not too much juice Medium Flattened round Good Acid flavor. Many/most without pit. First time fruiting (not fast)
Hetian Jade Middle-end Good- OK, for large fruit Large- Stretched round, wide Great Small sample
Shanxi Li Middle-end Good- Crunch, middle texture Large Stretched round, wide Good Cracks. Early fruit can be pitless
Li Middle-end Good- OK, for large fruit Large Stretched round, wide Good OK, some are very large
Russia #4 Middle-end Fair- soft, poor Small Stretched egg Great Not impressive. Eliminate?
Churchpoint Late- start Great- crisp crunch, juicy Small Flattened round Good Some tart, but large pit, small fruit
Sihong Late- start Good+ OK+, not great, fine grained Med-large Cylinder Good- Good flavor, variable texture
Tae Sang Wang Late- start Good above average for lg fruit Large Stretched round, wide Good+ Large, OK, and productive.
Dai Bai Ling Late- start Good- OK crunch Large+ Round Good OK, especially large
Norris #1 Late- start Good- Some crunch Medium- pepper, thin curved pointed Good Not bad, but not thrilled with pointy pits (tips break)
Redlands Late- start Good- OK, for large fruit Large Stretched round, wide Good- Can be very large. Didn’t produce too well this year
Bu Lu Shu Late- start Good OK+ Medium Stretched round Good Small sample, but promising
Orange Beauty Late- start Fair OK-, little crunch Medium Cylinder with point Fair+ OK flavor, poor texture, cracks
Lang Late- start Poor poor, no crisp, dense, dry Medium Fat bottom cylander Fair+ not very good for fresh eating
KFC Late Great Crisp, very good Medium Long round Good bumpy rough skin, fruited on new grafts, so may be earlier
Winter Delight Late Good OK+ Med-small Stretched round Fair Small sample
Xu Zhou Late Good- Dense, OK crunch Medium Long round Top Cracks easily, needs to be very ripe to be good (or at least ok…)
Yahzoo Li Late Good- OK, for large fruit Large Stretched round, wide Fair+ Standard large fruit
R4T3 Late Good- Dense, some juice Small+ Long, thin Fair+ Only 3 fruit on tree- Not bad, but not impressive either
Bok Jo Late Good Crunchy, some juice Medium- Stretched round Top Good sweetness and massively productive
Fruitful RS Late Fair+ some crunch, OK juice Small- Stretched round Great+ A bit of tart and juice. Always productive. Cracks
Texas Tart Late Fair+ Dense, some crunch, softens Small- Stretched round, wide Great+ Very tart. OK eating, like lemon drop. Large pit, not a lot of flesh.
Allentown Late Fair+ OK crunch Medium+ Cylinder Fair Small sample
R1T4 Late Fair Dense, not very crunchy or juicy Small+ Long, thin Good Young tree in shaded area produced quite a bit of poor fruit
JFaE So RS Late Fair- Dense, some crunch, not juicy Small- Round Great+ A bit of tart, dense flesh, produces even in poor years. Doesn’t crack
Sandia Late- end Top Crisp, light Medium- Round Fair+ Very good fruit even when mostly (entirely even) green
September Late Late- end Fair+ Dense, OK crunch Medium Long round, pointed Fair+ OK, not that impressive
Sherwood Late- end Fair+ Very dense, OK crunch Medium Long round Fair OK, not that impressive. Especially dense
Tigertooth Late- end Poor+ Dense, not very crunchy or juicy Small+ Long, thin pointed Good+ Poor texture, there are better late season…
Dong Xtra Late Top Crisp, light, moderate+ juicy Medium- Round Good- Very similar to Sandia, but a week later.

I’m planning to add some pics to this thread and when I do, I may tweak the speadsheet, especially if I find that I’ve missed some.

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Nice chart. I’m sure people will be using that for years to come.

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Great report Bob . Btw, i spent 10 hours yesterday dug up and transplanted 12 jujubes mostly HJ, self rooted Orange Beauty,
Sandia, So, Bok Jo, Russian
2, Black sea and 8 large JT-02 Hybrid persimmons to my new acreage house with all the graft unions buried 4 inches below ground for warranty of resprout of the same cultivar just incase the super cold weather killed the top at ground level every 20 years or so.
The Polar Vortex of -31F from 2 years ago killed 95% of the large 12 years old jujubes and JT-02 Hybrid persimmons.

Tony

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@BobVance ,
You’ve done a great service for all who are interested in jujubes. Thank you.

My lesson this year is all varieties cracked when they turned brown (ripening) and it rained (moderate to heavy rain). I lost 6 lbs + when Sugar Cane turning brown (ahead of others). Then, another 6-7 lbs at the end of the season when it rained for 3 days and all that remained on the trees, esp. Shanxi Li were fully brown (should have had harvested them but I underestimated the weather).

So far, the most crack resistance is Massandra. Everything else cracked badly when it rained at the right time.

Our climate is similar and I believe our taste is similar, too, making your assessment even more valuable to me.

One variety that I hope will improve for you is Orange Beauty. It has a good size (the size of SC and bigger). Although it was not as sweet as Honey Jar or even SC, it has sufficient sweetness plus some tartness that is lacking in HJ. Giving it time, it should climb up to your top 10 chart.

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I got rid off Sugarcane period due to severe cracking and bitter taste with the skin in my climate. Honey Jar ruled here in my Z5.

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Did you dig with a shovel? I had great success this spring digging just by using a hose to wash the water away. It was a slow process, sometimes taking an hour or more per tree, but the amount of roots I saved was pretty impressive. Almost all of the trees I transplanted that way fruited immediately at their new locations. The texture of the new fruit was generally sub-par- maybe they had trouble getting water enough during the hot & dry summer weather.

That sounds like a good precaution in your area. All my graft unions are above ground, but it hasn’t been below -10F in the last 11-12 years (since I’ve been growing fruit). Hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself…

I was getting ready to mention Massandra and then saw your mention later in the post. I think there is a range, with Sugar Cane and Xu Zhou being among the worst crackers. When I would lose most ripe Sugar Cane, Massandra would only have a few cracked fruit on the tree. Not fully immune, but pretty resistant (80% vs 5%, kind of difference).

What I learned from cracking fruit is that if you pick it when it first cracks it is no worse than normal and maybe even better, as it is bursting (literally…) with water. If you let it sit that way on the tree for a few days, then it starts to dry or spoil. It is tough from a logistics standpoint to pick and immediately consume 6 pounds of jujubes, but it is wroth remembering for people with a single tree. By the end of the season, I was sometimes picking in the rain, or at least within a few hours of it ending.

I thought its flavor was good, but the texture was always poor, though in different ways. Some was caused by cracking (which heavily impacted it), but even the fruit that didn’t crack didn’t have good texture. I’ll be happy enough for it to get out of the bottom 10 :slight_smile:

But, I have it on a hillside, which doesn’t get as much attention as some of my other trees. The Dae Sol Jo which makes up the other half of the tree was OK, but not as good as the DSJ which is more centrally located on the GA866. So, I’ll try grafting it somewhere else. Maybe onto a tree at the rental where things grow quickly. That site seems to bring out the best in most cultivars. It’s where Sihong was very good, while the ones at home were only OK.

I have mixed feelings about Sugar Cane. It is my earliest jujube and quite productive, two big positives. The texture is among the most crisp and juicy of all jujubes, so it is a favorite of my kids. On the other hand, yup, it cracks a lot and there is that off flavor you describe as bitter skin. I never tried peeling it to see if it was only in the skin, but I think that is why it doesn’t always taste as sweet as the brix indicates. But, I think how much it bothers you could vary by individual. So, if you are just going to have a couple trees and aren’t planning on grafting, I wouldn’t recommend Sugar Cane (Honey Jar, Bok Jo, and Black Sea are all good options there, with Dong or Sandia to extend the season). But, it has so much upside, that it is worth grafting a branch or two, so a person can see if it works for them.

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Yes, I used your method with the water hose and got most of the small roots but with the deep bigger roots I used a Dewalt reciprocate saw and chopped them off quick. I took 2 Tylenol last night. My 57 years old body reminded me that I am not as young as I think. Lol.

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Haha @tonyOmahaz5, I don’t take any medicine, but I just ordered 5 jars of Tiger balm, this is my go to for muscle ache, it does wonder for my 63 year old body.

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I am a provider in Anesthesia and pretty healthy. Only take multi vitamins. I used Biofreeze gel on the back once in a while. It works real good.

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Either I have indiscernible taste buds or too excited to get first jujubes of the season(SC is earliest I grow), I have not detected SC’s bitterness (yet).

It’s possible that much water/rain helped Orange Beauty’s texture to be juicier than normal. Even some of my Shanxi Li were surprisingly very good. They were sweet, crunchy and meaty. I will definitely be more mindful about water and jujubes.

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Congrats on your harvest and thanks for the documentation of almost 50 cultivars grown in the same climate in the same year.

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Wow, as someone starting to decide which variety to plant in my small garden this info is extremely valuable. Thanks Bob.

It’s all Bob’s fault, I now have 10-12 varieties and maybe more, lol.

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I just dug up the 13 yrs old Li from eat-it.com. The trunk was quite large. I will plant it at the new house this evening

Tony

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I grew SC for 25 years in CA and don’t recall tasting bitterness. If I ever tasted it, it was very rare. Many growers don’t experience it. I assume it’s a climate issue but I wonder if it might be a mutation. But of course it might also be something that only some people can taste.

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I only planted my first tree this year, and have never had the fruit, but I’m wondering if the tartness described in some varieties is in the flesh near the seed? (Or where the seed is supposed to be.) Similar to some Japanese plums?

The bitterness is usually reported as being in the skin.

A good start- in a few years we can get you up to 50…Next step is planting seeds and making more varieties :slight_smile:

Nice! Looks like that was quite an effort to dig up. But, an instant orchard is worth it. To get a much much smaller tree is $60-70 + shipping.

I don’t think it is a mutation, as I haven’t always tasted it. Though I suppose it could be a mutation where some tree never have it and others sometimes do…

I think it is more likely related to people’s taste. I never noticed it at all before losing my sense of taste with covid in early 2021. After covid, I could tell it was there, but not horrible. Then, this year, I still noticed it, but not as much, while my kids either don’t notice it, or are fine with it, to the point that it is my oldest’s favorite variety.

I haven’t really noticed any big difference in taste throughout a jujube. But, I don’t peel them, as most bites do get a pretty good cross section of the fruit, so I wouldn’t entirely discount the possibility.

I could still have some Sugar Cane in the fridge (I have almost an entire fridge in the garage dedicated to jujubes) and will see if I can do some further testing. Maybe try peeling one, just to see- they are small enough that it wouldn’t be worth it for anything other than a test.

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Hi Tony i am new on here and am amazed with all the knowledge of the jujubes
I’m after the sandia variety, do you know where i can buy some cuttings?

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Raelene, the only place to get Sandia from is ChineseRedDate nursery. I’m not sure if they are willing to sell scionwood, as it is one of their protected varieties, but you can email them to ask.

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