Jujubes- Our New Adventure


honey jar, sugar cane, tae seoul jo, and to some extent, li are some examples as could remember


Calling @jujubemulberry and other jujube enthusiasts,

A friend of a friend visited us last summer. He had an orchard in CA for 25 years. He grew many things including jujubes. He look at my jujube trees and said that during dormancy, I should shorten all the long scaffolds. He said it would rejuvenate the trees and help them become more productive. What do you guys think?

He also suggested I head-cut the tops of the trees to stop them from going too tall. This one I can understand.

This is the pic of those long scaffolds.


did he mean laterals when he mentioned scaffolds? Relatively young jujus don’t normally have scaffolds until after several years. They usually just have semi-deciduous laterals(laterals that may or may not be shed after several years, contingent to whether or not upright stem/s develop from any of the lateral’s nodes). And it is only then will they become scaffolds. A scaffold may also grow directly out of the bud diagonally beneath a lateral, which can actually be triggered by pruning the lateral above it. The more substantial the pruning of the lateral, the more likely for the bud beneath it to grow develop a scaffold. Trimming the laterals may also trigger upright growth from any of the nodes along what remains of the laterals, especially if the apical bud(of main trunk) has been removed.

i know, i know, juju stems are confusing!

this i agree with, and will encourage development of more uprights


ok, didn’t know your tree is more developed than i thought. So yes, those are scaffolds. I also notice you have plenty of tall trees nearby, which might not be good if it is still not ‘satisfied’ about the amount of direct sunlight it has been getting, considering you are in a less sunny region than california. If the trees nearby continue to grow taller, you probalby should let your juju get taller too(of course, at the expense of having to use a ladder to pick fruits) In my opinion(for regions with short growing seasons)you may prune upright growth if it is in a wide-open field.
of course my advice will be inaccurate if in fact your tree is already content with the amount of sunlight it has been getting(since i could only guesstimate its distance from surrounding structures/trees, and only have a vague idea of its north-south orientation). You could try by beheading the apical buds of all scaffolds and see if it will continue to be productive. Important to note that the laterals nodes are where fruits are borne, and the older the lateral(but not too old, and not under shade), the more herbaceous fruiting stems you’ll have. So pruning the laterals will decrease fruit production.

lastly, laterals that get plenty of sunlight will live longer if upright growth/apical buds are continuously trimmed.


Thanks, Raf, how much of each branch I shoud take off?, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2?

The shadow was from the tall trees beh8nd my neighbor’s house across the street. Once it gets to be summer, the shadow does not reach my trees until 6-7 pm. My jujbes get sun 10-11hours a day.



I kept a copy of this for reference. Good info with photos. Dr Yao’s publication.

Here is the PDF version that I kept.


I am a slow learner. I think I need to read the article and look at those pics a few more times to understand how it works.

I also was disoriented when a description is follow by a letter. For example, Primary shoot-A, secondary shoot -B.

I am so used to A -primary shoot, B - secondary shoot, etc.

Didn’t I tell you I am easily confused.


:joy::joy:. Me too!!! I just reread it and it does take some thinking about it. I think it’s trying to make clear that that the structure and growth of jujus is so different from other fruit trees. If you want a hard stop on growth in the direction of the limb you are pruning then just make one cut where you want it and it will delay growth for at least a year. If you want upright growth to continue then make the cut and make a second cut on the next lateral. So when I was cutting scion on mine and I cut a piece off the upright I trimmed the next lateral so that it would stimulate more growth.


if your tree is already fruitful at that size i will probably keep it as tall i could manage(just enough to be able to reach the fruits), and will just follow the 2nd advice your friend told you-- to remove apical buds. I will definitely keep the laterals, since those will be where virtually all of fruiting stems grow from. The apical buds will produce upright stems(which will then produce fruit-bearing laterals along its length), but will not be as productive per unit length of stem on its first year because it is more of the thick but non-fruiting stems and less of the leaf- and blossom bearing- stems on its first year. Usually only two fruiting stems(the lacy herbaceous leafy/fruiting stems which get shed at the end of the year) per node on its first year.
Halting upright growth(pertained to as primary growth by Prof Yao) will prolong the productive lifespan of the laterals(secondary growth per professor). I prefer to refer to them as uprights and laterals because secondary growth(laterals) may develop primary growth(uprights) which may add to the confusion. Btw, each “node” borne on the laterals is actually also a lateral stem that has very short internodes, which get longer each year(fruiting spurs), which is why it is more inclined to produce more than two fruiting stems after the first year–because it will have more nodes as the spur lengthens. I remember posting pictures of these somewhere in this forum but forgot which thread it might be.
explaining juju stems is the most challenging, but briefly said, laterals are where practically all juju fruits will be borne, and decapitating apical buds/upright growth prolongs the laterals productive lifespans(as long as the tree is getting ample direct sunlight). The only reason you need a much taller jujube tree is if there are so many trees and overhanging structures or nearby buildings that cast shadows on it.

if your juju is being grown on an open field with no taller trees or structures nearby, you could grow it not much taller than a tomato bush, simply by pruning off uprights every year, and let the fruiting spurs “do all the growing”


below is the pruning i will do if it were my tree and if growing it in the northeast(referring to my previous post). Pretty basic decapitations of uprights.

i will actually not prune the laterals since am very greedy for jujus :smile:


i agree with what Prof. Yao had posted, but also would like to add that once an upright stem grows out of any of the lateral’s nodes(fruiting spurs), that fruiting spur will likely already lost much of its ability to bear fruiting stems in the future. It may still have the capacity to produce another upright if the previous one was removed, but the nodes along the spur won’t be inclined to produce much fruiting stems. If you look at the specimen on figure 4 on Prof Yao’s webpage, you’d notice that there were hardly any, or maybe just one fruiting stem, that grew from any of the fruiting spurs. Better to just let the new uprights be and have them fruit on the new laterals, since the lateral the upright budded from will no longer be as fruitful as it was when it had no uprights growing from it.

incidentally, several uprights on opposing laterals will produce a neat candelabra type of growth. An espalier of sorts


I do too. I cut in winter to increase vigor, and cut in summer to slow it down. That is true for all trees. I’m a firm believer in pruning trees. I will not ever use a ladder. I’m too old. I think it keeps the trees young and healthy too.
I just pruned all my trees, I love pruning actually. It took time but I totally get it now.
Sometimes mother nature throws you a mess. Like I have a tree that only had three scaffolds to begin with. One died! Now it looks extremely funny. I’m trying to figure a way to get another scaffold. It is a nectarine and like peaches., it does not throw a lot of secondary branching. Winter pruning only for a bit!


jujus actually self-practice what you and i preach. If left to their own devices, the laterals will get old and regress, especially if the uprights produce more laterals higher up. The laterals typically thicken with time, but slow down in growth after around five years, and will ultimately be self-pruned into dry sticks. Unlike upright stems, the juju lateral has a limited lifespan, and may only perennate if an upright stem grows from at least one of its fruiting spurs.

jujus would be the perfect “trainees” for you, since they will take to severe pruning and won’t hold a grudge(unless grown in shady conditions). You could literally sculpt them into forms you’d want them to be. There’s this nursery in california that trained their jujus into what appear to be italian cypress. Will see if i have the pic in my retired laptop.


LOL! A good thing, as the years go by I seem to be more brutal. I have a weeping Santa Rosa plum that refuses to weep. Which is fine actually the fruit is amazing! Well if you were to describe what I like in plums Weeping Santa Rosa would be it. A sport of Santa Rosa. Two limbs were weeping all the rest got pruned harshly!

I’m adding Elephant Heart as it sounds like a plum I would like! The only others I want to try are pluots Flavor Blast, Flavor Treat, and Dapple Fire. I would love to try these!
I love Dapple Dandy WSR, Spring Satin,Nadia, Honey Punch, and Flavor King and Queen. I hope to try Superior, Toka, Lavina, Laroda and Vermont this year. I have high hopes for all of those.

Most people think Flavor Queen is bland, but I find it so tropical like I love it! I want more yellows. Burbank made Inca, I have that too, hope to also get fruit this year. Vermont is a yellow too. I want to try more yellows!

Inca plum was introduced by Luther Burbank in 1919. Inca is a beautiful golden color, magenta specks and a magenta blush around the stem. The fruit is rich, dense and crisp with golden flesh. The Inca has a unique flavor for an Asian plum with a pleasant balance between tart and sweet. Inca has a very low chill requirement.


i love santa rosas! though haven’t seen a weeping cultivar offered at nurseries here. I just wish could grow them here without being paranoid about premature death… I’d be the one weeping! :disappointed_relieved:

i tried growing red baron and arctic jay which produced good fruits for a year or two. I sure miss them.


LOL! WSR is almost exactly the same as SR maybe produces better. Tell me if you only had 2 jujubes to pick, what two? I only have two, I may add a third. So looking at cultivars. That is all I have room for.


sihong and chico are my top 1 and 2, but honey jar seems to be the majority’s favorite, which happens to be one of my faves as well. HJ is definitely a must-have, being cosmopolitan.

hj is a heavy producer even when grown out-of-zone( colder regions)


Thank you for you explanation. I admit, at times, I got confused (easily happens to me).

Thanks goodness, you gave an illustration using the pic of my actual tree. I am a visual learner. Seeing how it’s done is much easier than reading an explanation.

Again, thank you very much. I will try to comprehend all of what you wrote. You are throwing me a curve ball when you went on to explain uprights growing off laterals :kissing_smiling_eyes:


juju “stemology” is probably the most complicated among fruit trees. Anyway, briefly said-- all uprights will bear laterals but not all laterals will bear uprights.

lastly, juju upright stems are generally perennial, while laterals generally have limited lifespans, unless an upright stem buds out from one the lateral’s nodes(or fruiting spurs)


print-screened this from my other thread. Anyway, pointed at by the yellow arrows are all laterals, and two of the stems transected by red bars are the only two uprights in below photo. Take note that an upright developed from the tip of one of the long laterals(happens rarely, but relatively common occurrence with sihong, and specimen below is a seedling from sihong pit)