By Emmy Ulmschneider and Debbie Roland, Master Gardeners
Do you want to grow a fruit crop that has few problems and pests reported? Jujube might be for you. It is a tree that needs hot and dry temperatures. It came to Texas in about 1875 and can grow up to 30’ tall. I find that in West Texas things will grow as reported but usually don’t grow as tall as they would in say East Texas where they have plenty of rain.
Jujubes have rough bark and are deciduous with leaves that are shiny, dark green and fuzzy on the bottom. The most common varieties in Texas are the Li and Lang. The Li has the largest fruit and the best flavor. The flesh is edible, and the texture is crisp. At maturity the skin is a mahogany color and should be harvested before it becomes wrinkled.
The other variety is Lang which produces a more spreading tree, The fruit is red skinned when mature.
Plant in soil that is well drained. Jujube will survive in soils where other trees might not live since they thrive in soil that have a large range of ph. The have survived in drought conditions much better than other fruit.
If root sprouts form, they should be cut off at or underground. Any plants produced from these sprouts will not produce the same type of fruit as the mother plant, so transplanting is not recommended.
The only type of fertilization required is nitrogen. Use .2 lb per inch of trunk diameter up to 1.0 lb maximum. One application in the spring is adequate.
If you have questions, call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700.
For additional information, and to access our blog for past articles, go to westtexasgardening.org. Click on Resources.