Jujube fruit set if you don't have hot dry summers


#1

Cliff was recently mentioning to me that he had several varieties not fruiting much at all and he thinks its due to his relative lack of heat. I also have a significant problem with getting some varieties to fruit. Cliff mentioned Chico, GA-866, Li, and Sherwood not fruiting in 15 years. I have all four of these and none of them have fruited any significant amount for me in 10 years.

In fact, no jujube variety fruits super well in my yard. The only one which regularly produced a full load every year was Tsao, but they taste like cardboard so I took it out. Honey Jar and Sugar Cane produce well some years and not others. One thing that makes things even worse for me is I have too little sun and too close a spacing, but Tsao at least didn’t seem to mind that.

According to Ashton’s jujube book, the plants need 72-80F dry weather at bloom time to set well. But, he doesn’t say much about fruit setting for different varieties. I am now thinking the major thing to look for in variety selection for us folks outside the west is fruit set.

It would be good to hear others experiences with fruit set. I have heard Li setting well some places, but there are many Li variants so its hard to put much meaning into that.

Scott


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#2

My So, which produced its first crop last year had an interesting pattern. The South-facing part of the tree was loaded with fruit, while the rest of the tree had only a few (90% was on the 30% of the tree).

Tsao and So are pronounced very similarly (Sow vs So, to my ear), but they sound quite different in terms of fruit. The So was crunchy and sweet, with good (though not super strong) flavor. I let a few get completely brown and the texture (softer) and flavor (more date-like?) started to change a bit, with the brix approaching 30. While they were good, I think 80% brown was a bit better, with 23-25 brix.

Sugar Cane and Sherwood have spent some time in pots, until I planted them last year. During that time at least one of them (possibly both) flowered, but neither ever set any fruit. I had assumed that they were just too young. The So also flowered during its first two years without setting, so this could be the case.

In terms of where I’m planning my new jujubes, all will be in almost full sun. That is, 10-12+ hours in summer- it’s hard to get complete dawn to dusk when there are curves in the land and neighbors. But, some of the spots are definitely hotter than others. I have a good chunk of South facing slope, as well as several large rock-walls to collect heat. Portions of the yard are snow-free now, while others still have over a foot. Some of the new jujubes will be in warm sunny spots, while others are in cooler sunny spots. Maybe I’ll be able to see some patterns with this.


#3

Bob, thats interesting about the So. I wonder why the sun mattered, it could be because it is feeding the leaves or it could be the sun is drying out the flowers which increases fruit set. Its pretty clear water messes up jujube pollination, jujubes don’t fruit in southern Florida for that reason in spite of all the heat and sun.

I have plenty of flowers on my jujubes, the problem I have is primarily setting not flowering. My trees are on a south-facing hill which gets very hot, but only 6-7 hours of sun per day. If I had another spot I would make a jujube stand somewhere else, and I may move them some future year if they continue to produce so little.

Scott

Edit: one thing I forgot to mention is Cliff also has his plants in full sun 12 hours per day. Bob I wouldn’t make too many trees of the ones he didn’t get fruit off of in 15 years… His most productive variety is Redlands, I am going to topwork with that one.


#4

That’s interesting to hear about Redlands. I’ll have to boost the number of them that I graft. I did get wood for it (thanks Bob Hawkins!), but it wasn’t near the top of the list, as I hadn’t heard anything too good about the taste. From this GW thread, 2014 Jujubee results Dallas, Bob Hawkins lists lists it as one of the largest, and gives it a pretty good productivity score (behind only TigerTooth, Shihong, and So).

This thread was well timed, as I just planned out the variety/locations last night for my yard and was about to start planning for others. I already had Chico for one of the hottest parts of the yard, as I figured that being bred in CA it may like that.

I’ve seen lots of people report problems getting GA866 to bear. I figured that branch bending might help, but that may only help get flowers, which don’t sound like the problem. Maybe I’ll need a high tunnel for them :smile:

Anyone else out east with experience growing jujubes? Bass maybe?


#5

Yes I hope Bass chimes in. Bob Hawkins is in Dallas so his productivity results don’t mean much for us. I know Bass has fruited several varieties but I never saw any productivity information from him.

Scott


#6

I have a Lang that will be entering its 8th growing season this year (since planting bare root as a tree that had had one year of growth since grafting) and it’s given me some fruit over the last few years but it definitely seems like it ought to be doing more for its size, and for whatever reason I don’t think I got a single fruit from it last year. The Lang has, however, produced a lot better than my Sherwood which is about the same age and has hardly produced anything. I have a Li (from Ison’s) that is a couple years younger than those two trees yet set a good crop last year. That’s the only time any of my trees has ever set what I’d call a good crop. However, most of that crop aborted about halfway between setting and ripening. I’m hoping my trees will set better crops as they continue to mature. I especially enjoyed the fruit of the Lang and the Li.


#7

A Chinese person who’s watched some chinese youtube videos tells me I should be spraying the trees with fertilizer during bloom. I think I’ll try that on the bottom half of my slow to bears trees; sherwood, ga866, etc

Btw a grower in dallas tells me his Redlands taste really good. Mine were so-so last year, the first year they fruited; maybe they’ll do better the second year.


#8

Scott, if I remember correctly, you grow jujube very closely, like 5’ apart or closer. That is too close.

It is not (only) the heat that jujube needs, but the sun. The best jujube fruits come from Xinjiang China, which is in the far western region, bordering Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan. The climate there is dry, big night/day temp difference. Some of the places are desert like, very hot. And the trees get a lot of sunshine.

Jujube is not very demanding on fertilizer. The common practice is trench feeding after fruiting. That is also part of the root pruning. .

During fruiting time, try not to feed the trees with too much water or fertilizer. But let the sun to dry the fruits and the fruits will be sweeter.


#9

Scott

My 6 yrs old Li from EL is about 10 feet tall in full sun. I grafted 4 other varieties to it for pollination. It had several fruits on the tree when they shipped it to me. I got around 20 fruits on the third leaf and last year I got around 70 fruits. My cousin in Lincoln, NE (50 miles from me) has a 13 years old Lang about 17 feet tall and every fall she harvested about 4 to 5 Home Depot 5 gallon bucket of fruit. Thr only pollinizer was a 8 feet sucker from the rootstock of that Jujube tree. I agreed that full sun, 8-10 feet distance between tree, pollination, and the age of the tree influence fruiting.

Tony


#10

I have heard many reports that Lang produces well in a variety of climates. Ashton in his book recommends it for humid climates. However, since it is a drying variety and I am not interested in drying jujubes I never grew it. The only other one he recommends for humid climates is the Tigertooth types and I think my Tsao is in that group (it is shaped like a tiger tooth; Tsao just means jujube in Chinese). Tsao produced well for me but also seems like a drying type as it takes like cardboard.

As I mentioned above, I don’t think we can make much of “Li” results as there are many different varieties under that name. Its like Brown Turkey for figs. My first “Li” (from Hidden Springs) fruited reliably but had small fruit. The one I have now is Roger Meyer’s Li variety. Perhaps we just need to add the source… so maybe the EL Li is reliable based on your experience, Tony.

@RedSun, I agree mine were too close (note they are less close today than they were yesterday as I cut down my Chico, GA866, etc). I plan to eventually move something to make room in one of my sunniest spots for jujubes. But the topic I am interested in here is how there are certain varieties that even in full sun and wide spacing seem to do very poorly as far as fruit set goes in cooler and more humid climates.

@Bhawkins, the fertilizer method sounds interesting. Hopefully someone will try it and let us know how it worked :smile:

Scott


#11

All the traditional jujube varieties sold in US nurseries are very old, like Li, Lang, Sherwood, Chico, etc. They were imported and bred at Chico, CA. I do not think the Chinese commercial plantation grows anything close to them.

For good fruit quality, we should grow the new varieties, like Honey Jar, Sugar Cane, etc., imported recently by Roger. I think there are many more commercial varieties Roger does not have. It is just so hard to compare them.


#12

Here’s a paper from Dr Shengrui Yao, which details the history of the jujube in the US.

It mentions that Roger Meyers imported some in the 90’s and that One Green World imported Winter Delight and Autumn Beauty. The author (from NM State) imported 30 cultivars from China in 2011.

In this extension publication she mentions that Honey Jar and Sihong were imported by Roger Meyers and that Shanxi Li also came from China in the 90’s.


#13

I think after she came to US, there has been some new development in terms of the farming (growing) techniques. But she is still one of the most knowledgeable person in US.

In regard to the naming, it is very confusing in trying to take track of it. In China, there are many many, at least hundreds of the varieties, a lot of them unnamed. The same variety can grow differently in various places and climates and they have different names.

When they are exported to overseas, they get even more confusing. The English names most likely do not match the original names. And some of them may get lost…


#14

@scottfsmith I have Li and Sherwood from Johnsons nursery in GA 6 years old.

The Sherwood hasn’t ever set any fruit, it has lots of flowers but never sets.
It was supposed to be discovered growing in Louisiana. I had high hopes for our humid South Alabama location.

The Li has lots of decent size fruit but tastes like a really dry mealy apple, not good. When they start to turn brown they start to rot because this is usually hurricane season with big thunderstorms and super high humidity.

The rootstocks sucker way too much and they have hypodermic needles not thorns.
If you don’t see them and they get you ankles its not fun.

I’m hopeful Dr Yao has some new varieties.
I truly expected Jujubes to become a big new fruit industry but there just doesn’t seem to be any commercial success stories.


#15

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

Your Li sounds like it is also not the “good one” that got the good reputation for Li, it is supposed to be a good fresh eating jujube but yours sounds like a drying one.

I agree there is a major disconnect on jujube promise vs reality. I think it is because we don’t have the best varieties and don’t understand well what varieties are adapted to what locations.

Scott


#16

I have to ask Scott, how do you rate Jujube compared to your best fruits? Around here you can’t give away jujube fruit or trees except to a few minorities.


#17

I’m not sure Jujube will ever become mainstream, like even plums or pineapples. It is like fig, considered exotic.

I think I mentioned before, when we lived in Dallas area, our neighbor had an about 35’ tall jujube tree. But she let us take all the fruits we could manage. Still we only made to her yard a couple of times a year. So all the other fruits were wasted. I do not think even birds ate them. Too many.

When she sold the house, her son dug a piece of it, not sure if real one or sucker. And she said her son’s family appears like it. So if he dug a sucker, if the fruits are not good, then he would blame the jujube :smile:


#18

A ripe Honey Jar is excellent, its as good as any apple for example. The few fruits I have gotten from my tree have also gone over well with random people I have given them to. All I need is more of them :smile:

Scott


#19

Ya, two dozen of my Honey Jar would make a nice snack. Well maybe if you were on a diet.

Honey Jar vs nectarine.

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#20

If I only got the kind of harvest I was supposed to get I would have a bushel or more of them. A bushel is a bushel. They are like eating sweet cherries in terms of the size of fruit and one seed per fruit.

Scott