Jujube Suckers - Best Time to Dig?

My experience with jujube grafting this year is as follows. I dug approximately 80 suckers in late winter (most with a good 3" of lateral root - some less), potted them, and grafted as they were beginning to leaf. A little over half of these failed. They put out new growth and then died. Of the 50 established, in ground plants that I grafted only one has failed so far. I also grafted some one year old potted plants with established roots and had better success with these as well. All the failures of the recently dug suckers has me questioning when to dig them. I’m obviously thinking a stronger root system in the pot would be able to better support the new graft. I’m wondering if I should let them get up to grafting size and dig them in late summer or fall. Would an actively growing sucker even be able to support the foliage if dug and potted? Or if I dug and potted in early winter/late fall immediately after leaf drop would they be able to grow some roots in the pot over winter? What do you all think? :smiley:

2 Likes

from our experience, recently dug up rootstoc will also have high failure rates when grafted to. Generally, only after a year(after being dug up) will grafting success rates be at par with grafts on established trees, or older rootstoc. Just let the rootstock recover and produce more roots for one season.

if you really have to do this, best approach would be to graft as low as you can. Just make sure there’s at least one viable-looking node on the rootstoc(in case the graft fails) , and use a very short scion, to minimize resistance to sap flow. . [quote=“Bede, post:1, topic:11401”]
if I dug and potted in early winter/late fall immediately after leaf drop would they be able to grow some roots in the pot over winter?
[/quote]

Very unlikely. There is no physiologic incentive for root growth at a time when water conservation is at a maximum since there are no stomata during dormancy. Cold temps of winter also slows down metabolic processes, so growth of any kind is put on hold.

5 Likes

Are you establishing a commercial jujube orchard? Sounds like a lot of jujube trees!

My method with jujubes lately has been to directly transplant jujube suckers to their permanent locations, typically two or three more or less in the same hole or right next to each other for back-up. Then I give them hardly any care. Most survive anyway. Then I plan, probably starting next year, to graft them once they’re well established, about head high, and growing vigorously. I figure I’ll be grafting onto rootstocks that will push grafts very well, and I figure it’s better to take my transplant/establishment losses before I invest in the effort of grafting (even though jujubes are fairly quick and easy to graft.)

5 Likes

Thank you both for your replies. Much appreciated. I do like the idea of 2 or 3 per hole in case 1 fails. I’d really like to be able to offer the fruits and plants for sale at some of the local farmers markets and Asian groceries. To me everything about them is excellent (with the exception of having to use a sewing needle to dig a thorn out of my finger).

6 Likes

Omg…laughing…

4 Likes

winter delight can grow 2-inch daggers when grown in the desert, and even when grafted high.

5 Likes

When is the best time to transplant jujubes? I have a 5 foot Sihong that I want to move. I know there are some trees, such as Pawpaw, that do not grow any roots during the winter dormancy so it is best to move them just before spring…Do you know if jujube grow some roots during winter dormancy?

2 Likes

I don’t know any specifics necessary to explain the hows or whys, but I know I’ve mostly transplanted jujubes in November/December (between one and two dozen total), and they’ve mostly done fine.

4 Likes

jujus have excellent tolerance of drought, so some loss of roots (by transplanting), even during summer will not be as worrisome as when transplanting other fruit species.
humbly admit being clueless about whether or not jujus grow roots during dormancy, but somewhat confident that would win the wager if bet on the below-ground being co-dormant with the above-ground parts of a juju tree.
and even if root growth does occur, quite notable that from a stomata-to-root-ratio perspective, transplanting during dormancy is still the safest time and most convenient for the following reasons

  • there’s no need to remove some leaves,
  • the weather will not be as hot as summer when the transplanted tree starts leafing out
  • and the leafing out and overall growth may adapt to the extent of root loss(i.e. smaller leaves and shorter internodes to minimize transpiration losses/exposed surface area). The tree also has the option to limit budding from the nodes, say, by sprouting from fewer nodes than it would if the roots weren’t trimmed.

if many nurseries will not ship bare-root trees during summer, it is perhaps for the same reasons mentioned, else garner bad yelp reviews for sending specimens with high mortality rates…

5 Likes

We’ve been moving a fence line which will allow me to plant more trees. I’m about to transplant two jujube seedlings into this new area.

Katy

9 Likes

Very nice up keep orchard. You can put another 10 trees in that area and still have room.

Tony

2 Likes

It’s actually a lot longer than that even… if it weren’t for the power line and easement I could have a lot more. As is I’m probably going to get 25 to 30 in there with pretty good spacing. I’m excited. It’s an area about 30 feet by 600 feet

5 Likes

Thanks for all the good info @jujubemulberry and @cousinfloyd. Considering the amount of work that goes into moving a jujube (because of their extensive root system) it is good to optimize your success rate.

1 Like

I’ve actually taken the opposite approach with jujubes. I’ve mostly transplanted not-yet-grafted suckers. They’re plentiful and pretty easy to dig up, so I’ll plant two or three in opposite corners of the same planting hole. I put very little work into them. I figure it’s easier to plant more trees and take losses. If they survive, get established, and start growing, then I’ll go ahead and graft them.

3 Likes

It’s good to see others with the same insane addiction…I’m sure I speak for just about all on the forum…We all plant much more than we can ever hope to take care of and,especially, eat…But that is a good thing; besides giving family and friends a share of the bounty, you will find you cut down or get rid of all the fruit trees that are under performers. I’ve gotten rid of peaches, apples, pecan, walnut, banana, grapes, and some plums…I now have been focusing on mulberry (way too many), jujube, blueberry, persimmon, and pear…all are no-work plants that provide a ton of fruit. So kudos to you!

5 Likes

Yes, I don’t feel like I’m the only one but I do feel that it is a contagious malady that is spread by consorting with like minded individuals! We have some that are too much work but as they die out they will not be replaced. I too am focusing a lot on jujube, mulberry, pear, persimmon, and pomegranate. I’ve also got blackberries and muscadines which don’t need a lot of care. They are all nice to eat and nice to share!

4 Likes

I didn’t say I was cured of my addiction… My wife calls it “PAS”…Plant Acquisition Syndrome"…I couldn’t stop myself from recently purchasing ‘Freedom’ blackberry plants. And I agree…muscadines “don’t need a lot of care”…It is just every year my four vines would produce well over a hundred pounds (guestimation) of grapes but I would never get to eat more than a dozen ripe muscadine because the raccoons, possums, and squirrels evidently liked them more. I can protect my persimmon and pear trees, and I have so many mulberry and blueberry plants that, except for all the piles of blueberry and mulberry poop around the yard, they don’t seem to make much of a dent in the harvest. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but so far they haven’t shown an interest in the jujubes and citrus. I also love my Feijoa plants…they have such an exotic flavor, but they are very finicky in fruit production.

5 Likes

totally agree-- life is too short, and some fruit trees may take forever before start producing…

as with many things in life, you can never be optimistic about your work if you didn’t ply a pessimist’s approach. The miserly paranoid in me is such that when propagating suckers/grafting, have actually figured in some mechanical leverage/hydraulic physics equations and structural considerations along with basic plant physiology.

the hetty green of penny-pinching when it comes to ‘loss prevention’ :grin:

3 Likes

I hear what you’re saying, but 30+ years in the sciences has burnt out my last neuron…Now I just give them my love and they sometimes respond likewise.:blush:

3 Likes

burnt out and yet still doing microscopy studies. Makes me think how you were back then! :wink:

2 Likes