- Author: Jutta Thoerner
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Jutta Thoerner UCCE Master Gardener
Plants we Love: Jujube
Tree size: 16 ft - 39 ft high
Bloom season: blossoms are 1/5 inch wide with 5 yellowish- green petals; blooms in spring to early summer.
Pruning needs: prune only to manage overall height.
Exposure: full sun.
Water needs: drought resistant once established.
Jujube is known as a Chinese date, red date or Tsao. It originates from China where it has been grown for over 4000 years. About 400 cultivars are known, from a bushy plant to a tree of 40 feet tall. In the US, popular varieties include Lane, Sugar Cane, Li, Sherwood Chico and Honey Jar. Some of these have thorny branches, so picking the fruit is best done with sturdy gloves.
Our new UC Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at Centennial Park in Paso Robles has two established jujube trees. We were surprised when, despite little watering and a very hot summer, the trees were happy, green-leaved, and full of fruit. Turns out that these trees love hot summers and in fact need them for ample fruit set. If you live in a desert region or in Florida, plant jujube. Do you have cold winters? Plant Jujubes. They tolerate temperatures down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Do you have less than ideal soil? Plant jujube. There are also no known pests or diseases in North America that affects this tree.
Let's talk about the fruit. Studies have shown that the fruit has 20 times more vitamin C than any known citrus. It is loaded with 18 important amino acids. It has been used for centuries as a medicinal supplement to relieve stress and inflammation. The fruit ripens non- simultaneously, which means the fruit can be picked for weeks in different stages of ripening. The green fruit tastes refreshing, a bit like an apple. The dried fruit (which conveniently dries on the tree) tastes sweet like a date. Jujubes are used for jams, pickling and breads all around the world. Be sure to taste a few before you plant a tree and have your recipes ready when the fruit ripens. The fruit from our jujube trees is donated to the Loaves and Fishes food pantry in Paso Robles.
Consider this unique fruiting tree to a warm sunny spot in your garden.
Our Advice to Grow By Workshops are back!!!
Our next workshop will be January 21st, 2023, at 10:00 to 12:00 p.m. in our Seven Sisters Demonstration Garden at 2154 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. The topic will be “Fruit Trees: How Winter Care Can Aid Warm Weather Success”.
Learn why the winter season is so important to the development of deciduous fruit trees. You'll learn how to select and plant bare root trees, how to arm yourself for dealing with pests and disease, and how winter is an important time to perform maintenance on mature trees along with a pruning demonstration. There will also be a discussion of winter care of citrus trees. This workshop will be held in our garden so please be prepared for the weather outside. Inclement weather will cancel the workshop.
Other ways to see or reach us:
You can view workshops on Instagram live at slo mg or visit our You Tube channel at “San Luis Obispo County UC Master Gardeners.”
Visit our website at ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo/ or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our physical offices are now open!!!!!
Covid may still affect staffing levels, so it is best to call before heading to your local Helpline office:
San Luis Obispo: 805-781-5939 (Monday and Thursday 1:00 to 5:00)
Arroyo Grande: 805-473-7190 (10:00 to 12:00)
Templeton: 805-434-4105 (Wednesday 9:00 to 12:00)