The Chinese date or Jujube is an exotic stone fruit. Jujube is similar to figs and ranges from roughly the size of a marble to as big as a plum. Eaten fresh they taste like a very sweet apple, however when dried, which is commonly done with jujube, they take on a taste that is best described as a cross between a date and a plum. Unripe fruits are green[ish], and turn a reddish brown when at the peak of perfection.
Exceptional trees can attain a 40 foot stature when mature, but this of course is under the best of conditions and the most vigorous of specimens.
They flower from late spring into early summer. Jujube flowers are small and somewhat inconspicuous, they are white to pale green and yellowish and are mildly fragrant at times.
Jujube is capable of producing fruit with a single tree, it is self fertile, but multiple trees are best for genetic diversity.
Seeds from fruits that have been produced via self pollination are frequently sterile.
How to Grow a Jujube Tree
The jujube tree can tolerate temperatures well below zero, negative 20 F to - 25 F can't kill it. They do however perform best in relatively warm climates. It requires only a moderate duration of winter chill in order to set fruit the following season. Jujube will withstand high summertime temperatures so long as it has gone through a winter dormancy.
Sun and Soil
Full sun is best. They will tolerate a wee bit of shade but will flourish best when basked in warm sunlight. They are fairly versatile so far as soil goes. Sandy, well-drained soils are best heavy, clay and poorly drained soil are worst. They will tolerate soils with high salinity or alkalinity and a wide range of soil pH is acceptable. Basically don't be overly concerned about the soil type - just avoid heavy clay soils.
Jujube Trees can be started by seed but do not always come true to variety. Grafted root stock is the most common mode used to produce jujube trees. If you plan on purchasing a tree or two chances are it will be a grafted tree.
They perform well with very little fertilizer. A balanced fertilizer applied lightly wouldn't hurt at early and mid season. Avoid fertilizing as winter encroaches.
Pruning should be done during dormancy to remove dead wood and shoots as well as to maintain shape and stature, it does not appear to help fruit production much. Extensive heavy dormant pruning is not advisable.
Jujube is considered an exotic fruit and has not been extensively grown in North America, so its known natural enemies aren't well documented. Any pests that will attack other stone fruits, apples, pears and so forth should be considered a potential threat.
Harvesting Jujube Fruit
Harvesting jujube fruit is a snap. Once it has turned dark brown and its still firm to the touch, it's ready to harvest. It is best to cut the stem as opposed to pulling the fruit from the vine.
Some people leave the fruit to dry on the tree. Varieties intended for drying have a very dry, mealy texture when eaten fresh. If you do not want these types of jujube avoid Lang and Li varieties.
You Might Also Like...