Jujube trees are still not well known, which is somewhat surprising considering they are so fantastic, being heavy fruiting and excelling in hot climates. This makes them a perfect match for much of the southern United States. They are hardy, deciduous trees that reach a height of between 30 to 40 feet, depending on the cultivar. Let’s take a closer look at how to plant a Jujube tree in your backyard.
What You'll Learn Today
How To Plant Jujube Trees In The Ground?
The Jujube tree is easy to grow and not too fussy about the conditions it finds itself in. Planting is simple, providing you follow a few basic steps.
Jujube trees love hot, sunny locations and will usually thrive once established with very little special care required.
Without full sun, the fruit crop can be poor, so ensure the spot you have picked out is really sunny and open, so your Jujube tree can get all the light it wants and needs.
Well-drained, sandy soil is preferred by Jujubes. They don’t tolerate heavy clay or poorly drained soils well, and a lot of improvements to these soil types will be necessary to make them suitable.
Simply adding sand to a heavy clay soil won’t help matters, as this only causes it to become more like concrete! Instead, try mixing in both large quantities of organic matter and a little sand to improve things.
It’s often easier to plant a tree in a mound you have made on top of poorly draining ground. The mound can be made from a mixture of organic matter, soil, and sand.
Note that any sand used needs to be clean and free from salt.
1. Hole digging
If the soil is suitable, dig a square hole that is slightly larger than the root ball of the tree you are planting. Round holes are not ideal as they can cause the roots to ball or spiral without growing outwards to support the tree as it grows.
Some additional organic matter such as well-rotted compost can be added to improve a slightly heavy soil along with a little clean sand. If you already have free-draining soil, this won’t be necessary, and you can simply fill the hole back up with the same soil you took from it.
Ensure when placing your young tree into the hole that when replacing the soil, you don’t leave any air gaps, so tamp it down gently at regular intervals.
Also, make sure that the level of the soil when you have finished matches where the original soil level was on the trunk of the tree.
Don’t add any fertilizers to the soil when planting.
Although once established, Jujubes are very drought tolerant when they are young and newly planted, they need help to establish a deep root system. This is achieved by regular deep watering.
This means once or twice a week (depending on weather and how free draining your soil is), you water the tree on a slow trickle feed for 40 to 50 minutes.
The watering pipe should be placed around the tree at the same distance from the trunk as the canopy. Water should gently but continuously trickle around the tree for the total amount of time.
This allows the soil around the roots of your Jujube to become thoroughly wet, and the water will drain down deeply below the tree, encouraging the roots to grow down and search it out.
Jujube trees don’t generally need much by way of fertilizers. Once planted, you’re best to give them a good mulching with a deep layer of organic mulch which will feed them naturally as it breaks down, while also helping to retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
Note that your watering pipe should be laid below any mulch layer and not on top.
Use of a balanced NPK fertilizer 10:10:10 can be used in spring, the year after the tree has been planted to help with growth.
Giving your newly planted tree a good pruning to remove any excess branching and establish a strong, open shape is advantageous and will help ensure the tree grows well in the future.
How To Root A Jujube Tree?
Jujube trees grow readily from cuttings taken in late winter while the tree is dormant.
T-shaped cuttings work well. This involves finding a two-year-old branch that has another branch that developed in the previous season growing from it.
Cut the two-year-old branch about two inches on each side of the younger branch and pot it up in good potting compost.
You can choose to scrape back the bark and cambium layer to the wood on each side at the bottom of the branch. Remove about two to three inches and add some rooting hormone to the bare wood areas.
This is not generally required, providing you keep the cutting moist, but not too wet, it should grow roots and leaf up the following spring.
Another method of getting roots to grow, is by air layering your Jujube tree. This involves finding healthy young branches during the early part of the growing season and removing the bark and cambium layer down to the live wood all the way around the branch for about two to three inches.
Apply rooting hormone to the bare wood and cut a piece of plastic wrap that is at least three times as long as the bare wood section.
Fill the plastic wrap with a two-inch layer of good quality potting mix that is wet. Wrap this carefully around the bare wood section, so it is totally covered by the wet potting mix.
In this video, you will see how to plant Jujube Trees as shown by a professional Jujube grower:
When Is The Best Time To Plant Jujube Trees?
The best time to plant Jujube trees is in spring or fall. In spring, plant your young trees once all chance of a heavy frost and frozen ground has passed, but before the tree starts actively growing.
In fall, planting should be done when the tree has lost its leaves but before winter sets in. Fall planting can be advantageous, as it gives the tree time to develop some additional root growth.
How Many Feet Between Jujube Trees?
Commercial growers suggest planting your Jujube trees 10 to 15 feet apart. However, many Jujube trees will grow in excess of 30 feet tall with a similar width, so this is something that must be considered in a backyard scenario.
The trees can be kept much smaller than this with regular pruning.
I would recommend planting trees 15 to 20 feet apart as a minimum unless you are going to prune them and keep them much smaller.
Remember that to produce the best crops of fruit, Jujubes need as much sunlight as possible, so shading from other trees will reduce this.
Jujube trees are easy to grow and care for when given the right conditions. They like plenty of sunlight and thrive in heat, so it’s lucky that they are highly drought tolerant once fully established.
For best results, planting Jujube trees in well-draining, humus-rich, slightly sandy soils is preferred, but they are pretty tolerant, and it is only very poor draining soil such as heavy clay that is likely to cause them issues.
It’s possible to plant them in a mound when the soil is heavy so that the roots don’t get drowned.
Jujube trees don’t need much fertilizer, and a good layer of organic mulch is generally the best solution, as it has other benefits, including retaining moisture, slowly feeding the tree as it decays, and reducing weeds.
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