Hi all! My name is Ryan. I am located in western Pennsylvania (zone 6A). We bought our quarter acre ranch in 2016 and since then have been trying to transform our sterile well trimmed grass savannah into a food forest. I discovered the book Edible Landscaping by Michael Judd a few years back at Mother Earth News Festival and it completely changed how I perceive what a “good yard” means. I have since planted a few raised beds, mulched beds to begin “food forests”, and am actively planning to tear out the burning bush and traditional non-food, non-pollinator bushes and hedges around the house to replace them with more human and pollinator friendly options (native preferred in most cases other than low maintenance fruit tree options). I already have a Nikita’s Gift persimmon, Bartlett and Red Clapp pears, Shenandoah Susquehanna and KSU Atwood pawpaws, and a Honey Jar jujube. I am interested in suggestions for a complimentary jujube to the Honey Jar and had a bit of a newb question- Are jujubes self fertile? Mine had a TON of little green flowers on it this year and it produced no fruit. As far as PAWPAWS are concerned, I just finished the book by Andrew Moore (also from the Pittsburgh area) which cemented my already developing obsession with our countries largest native fruit tree while to this day only enjoying it in liquid form. I had planned on hunting for some in WV with friends this year but COVID and a baby on the way limited my ability. Maybe next year. Anyway, in addition to the cultivars I already have, I have developed a list of many more cultivars than I can fit in my yard, so I am hoping for some suggestions based on community preferences. I am currently looking into the following based on descriptions on various nursery websites- KSU Chappell, KSU Benson, Nyomi’s Delicious, Jerry’s Big Girl, Maria’s Joy, Horn’s White, Tropical Treat, and Marshmallow. I am open to additional suggestions but have limited space at my place and will probably only end up with 4-5 max. At my office we planted a bunch of native saplings this past spring but I’m not sure how they did with our drought this summer. I intend to try my hand at grafting a few of them with improved varieties in a few years (not the trademarked varieties). With that, thanks in advance for the input!
Hey, welcome to the forum.
Sounds like you have big plans for the ranch.
By ranch, I meant ranch style house haha. I’m trying to make the most of our tiny lot! I am looking forward to sharing and learning, thanks for the welcome!
I planted a “ Li” and a “ Lang” jujube.
The graft failed on the Li. But the rootstock grew and blooms along with the Lang. Both fruitful , the rootstock fruit are tiny.
Lang is good.
Not sure if it “ Requires “ Cross Pollination. ?
Someone please tell us about jujube pollination .
Pawpaws seem like a good crop on a small “ranch “,you can pack them in there. I have a lot planted here , in WV. Mostly young trees.
I like your ideas about the Yard. ( Ranch )
Welcome!! Sounds like you are well on your way to your own edible landscape. I cannot speak to pawpaws but I’ve had jujus for a few years. Some jujubes are self fertile for sure and I think there are several different thoughts on some of the others. Li is for sure self fertile and will set fruit without another variety. I have been told by a couple of people that Honey Jar is self fertile but I have no evidence of that. You will get more production on almost every cultivar if you have more than one variety. That being said there are several reasons that jujus don’t set fruit and I don’t think all of it is understood. One big reason is lack of ample sunlight. They are sun loving trees and will not produce without it. Other traits of jujubes are their ability to survive without “frills” being drought tolerant, disease and pest resistant, and able to tolerate many soils, fertile or not. However the commercial jujube facilities that I have read about do provide fertilization and irrigation for increased production. There are several members here that have their trees in sprinkler areas and feed them regularly. (My trees don’t get treated that well!). Different cultivars are more productive than others and Honey Jar is one that fruits heavily—as a rule.
I think I need to bow out now to some of the more experienced jujube growers here. They will definitely chime in as we all like to talk about our trees. @BobVance has lots of trees and he is also in PA (I think).
Glad you joined up here—you’ll like it!
I love your great response.
@BobVance is in CT. There are several,PA members here. @PharmerDrewee is one who grows jujubes.
I do not grow Lang but have read often that it is not good for fresh eating and is usually used as dried fruit.
@BobVance grows pretty much all varieties sold in the US.
Hi Katy! Thank you for the tips! I have my Honey Jar right beside the road and amended the soil around it with compost. I water it when I water my herb spiral. I have heard jujubes typically prefer well drained soil, which is what I have in that area. Last year I didn’t get it in the ground until late but it bounced back very well with lots of new growth and flowers like I said. I wonder if there is any way to manually pollinate the blooms? I do notice ants crawling on the tree which I have heard can accomplish that end, which leads me to wonder if I need another tree.
It sounds like you are doing everything right!
Ants will pollinate. Your tree was very young and although jujubes are very precocious they will fruit more with maturity. I have noticed that when my trees were young they attracted only ants but as they grow larger with more and more blooms they gave off a much stronger aroma and all sorts of insects were attracted. I have seen numerous types of beetles and wasps, butterflies, mason bees and other small bees, and lots of flies. I don’t ever see bumblebees or honey bees. The more pollinators the better your fruit set will be. You will likely get some fruit next year but in my opinion maturity is a big deal with production just like with any other fruit tree. Another variety will help. Ask Bob Vance what would be the best for your area. Don’t go with Lang…there are many others that are better. There are several jujube threads on here where we discuss the different kinds. WE LOVE TO DISCUSS JUJUBES!
My Lang produced this year and I sampled a few. I was not impressed. I think it’s reputation as “not good for fresh eating” is well deserved. On the other hand, HillBillyHort isn’t the the first person I’ve heard say that it is good, so there must be some combination of circumstances where it does well.
Honey Jar is the opposite end of the spectrum. I don’t think there is really anyone who doesn’t like it, other than Fruitnut (and he didn’t like any jujube). The only critique is that it is a bit small, but I find it conveniently bite-sized.
Don’t feel bad for not knowing that Katy- Tippy knows because she stopped by
I’m less than 100 miles East of PA, but I think I’m much further from Ryan in Western PA. I suspect that the overall climate isn’t too different though. At least when compared to TX/CA.
I completely agree with both points. Absolutely full sun and fertilize and water the heck out of them and they grow so quickly. In another thread I posted pics of when they got minimal care (mulch, but no extra water) and they didn’t grow more than 6 inches in 3 years, while the ones in good conditions grew 6+ feet and fruited in year 2.
There are definitely people out there who have varieties that I don’t (I’m working on it…). But I have a lot and am still evaluating a lot of them. Of the commonly sold varieties, Sugar Cane is the obvious choice to pair with Honey Jar. It isn’t as universally loved in some parts of the country, but has been great for Tippy and myself (MA and CT). Others you may see that are very good would be Black Sea, and Massandra. Good fallback options are So (productive and ornamental) and Autumn Beauty (large size).
There are also some good jujube varieties which are not widely for sale. By the time you are ready to graft in a few years, I should have more info about which are worth it.
If you haven’t had fresh pawpaw, you should really try to locate some to try before committing to too many trees. I had them a couple years ago and while they weren’t bad I felt like 1-2 fruit was enough (for quite a while, not just for the day). I have the opposite reaction for jujube, which I want to keep eating.
Well to be fair ,“ Lang “ is the only one I have eaten, I have no others to compare it to .
So it’s the best / worst / only …one I have eaten.
Maybe I should get out more…?
Or get some other varieties for here.
If it’s not a good variety, that’s good news to me,
Gives me a good reason to find some better ones.
I know the turkey s think they are good !
I have had some that were fairly good especially early when nothing else was ripening but if I have others to eat the Lang goes to the turkeys…
KSU Chappelle gets rave reviews from Cliff England who knows pawpaws. I’d trust him.
Hi Disc…I’m also in PA, (Philly suburbs). I have one Jujube plant that I’m struggling with so I’m not the one to offer advice. Just wanted to say hi and welcome.
I see what you did there Yes I figured between the jujubes and the pawpaws I should be able to keep them small enough to not interfere with the solar panels.
Hi Susu! Thanks for the welcome! Based on what I see so far it looks like both of us may benefit from adding additional trees.
Hi hambone! I actually spoke to Cliff last week inquiring about the pawpaws he has available. From looking around at multiple nurseries it appears that Chappelle receives universally positive praise. At this point it is my 1st choice, but I need to figure out what else I can fit in the yard!
Hi Bob! Thank you for the tips on jujubes! I had not heard of Black Sea, Massandra, So, or Autumn Beauty but had heard of Sugar Cane. I think on the jujube front I plan to buy a second one for faster production, and will try grafting pawpaws in the future. As far as pawpaw tasting is concerned, I am expecting to use most of my harvest as frozen pulp as a replacement for bananas when I make smoothies, so even if I am not super thrilled about them I can experiment with other things. They can’t be worse than the wheat grass powder I use haha. Is there a particular nursery you would suggest for jujubes? I do plan to order from England’s this spring for pawpaws.
Susquehanna is a must have, ranked high by many tasters. Unless you like mild, which I don’t, then Shenandoah. Maria’s Joy didn’t wow me either. Overleese another must have.
NC-1 and Allegany get high marks. I wouldn’t shoot for absolute largest. Forgot to mention Kentucky Champion, hear raves about it too.
I have Honey Jar jujube and it tastes good but it is too small for me. I have heard good reports on ShanX Li and GA 866. I am looking for a scion of GA 866. I was impressed with Wabash pawpaw for its color and taste. The flesh is the color of a sweet potato. Eddie Rhoades Georgia USA
Thanks for the suggestions Eddie! I will look into those varieties.