This post complements last week’s post on a Photo Journal of a Young Jujube Tree Coming Out of Dormancy, by getting up closer on the buds themselves as they come into life.
The photographs below show a cluster of terminal (tip, end) buds on a several-years-old Ta-Jan back in the spring of 2017. I found this particularly striking to photograph, as it was so different to the more slender stick-like grafts we send out.
I intend to write more about the different buds, and how their positions along a branch determine future tree development, but for now please enjoy this series of photos! The days displayed here match the days listed last week — for no reason other than consistency really.
Viewing Suggestion: Click on any of the photos to view in a pop-up window. You can then scroll through them manually via the left and right arrows that display at bottom left of that window, or click ’start slideshow’ at bottom right for this to happen automatically.
Ta-Jan, Day 1, 14th August, 2017
Ta-Jan, Day 4, 17th August, 2017
Ta-Jan, Day 7, 20th August, 2017
Ta-Jan, Day 10, 23rd August, 2017
Ta-Jan, Day 12, 25th August, 2017
Ta-Jan, Day 14, 27th August, 2017
Ta-Jan, Day 18, 31st August, 2017
This photo isn’t the best, but can you see a hint of green developing at the top?
Ta-Jan, Day 20, 2nd September, 2017
That hint of green has increased noticeably in two days!
Ta-Jan, Day 22, 4th September, 2017
And some more again here. Can you see a hint of green now coming through the bottom left group of buds now?
Ta-Jan, Day 24, 6th September, 2017
That second growth of green is more apparent just two days later, while the shoots at top just keep growing. Both these groups grow rapidly from this point on.
Ta-Jan, Day 27, 9th September, 2017
Ta-Jan, Day 32, 14th September, 2017
This photo cracks me up — can you see the two-eyed critter with his arms and antennae extended?!
Ta-Jan, Day 35, 17th September, 2017
Does he look cranky to you?!
Ta-Jan, Day 36, 18th September, 2017
Ta-Jan, Day 37, 19th September, 2017
Ta-Jan, Day 38, 20th September, 2017
Ta-Jan, Day 39, 21st September, 2017
Those branches at top went on to become ‘fruiting branchlets’ — peculiar to jujubes, and the deciduous branches on which the flowers and fruit grow. They had all fallen off by the following winter. With no permanent branch growth having developed at all, this meant that this particular tree was pretty much as tall at the beginning of the season as it was at the end. I was quite disappointed with it! As I mentioned above, this tree was a few years old, but seemed destined to be a dwarf.
Mind you, the poor thing had been somewhat neglected in a small pot for years, and I finally got around to potting it up in winter of 2018, with plenty of fertiliser and tender loving care. Coincidence or not, but the following year one of those terminal buds shot out during the spring of 2018, to become a permanent extension of the main trunk. The trunk, to the tip of that cluster of buds, was about 40 cm high in spring 2017. The new shoot that grew over spring 2018 alone was 55 cm, and had forked into two branches by season’s end. The little dwarf more than doubled in height!
But sometimes these trees do behave like this, and put on a growth spurt later than their peers. A little Li here has shown exactly the same behaviour, going nowhere last year and growing nothing but fruiting branchlets. Now it too is showing a strong growth spurt a year later. For comparison, a similarly-aged Lang has tripled in height in the same amount of time.
Update: I later wrote about the Lang and Li here.
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Hi Kristi. Thanks for this most informative description of how a jujube tree can behave. Last year I had the same experience with a Chico jujube tree that was in a 30cm pot when I bought it. I was advised to leave it in the pot so that it could establish itself. It produced only fruit branchlets (which I thought were its normal structural branches). The six or so jujubes that resulted were excellent eating, but the branches all died and I was worried the plant had gone to heaven (or hell in this case). The pictures here show exactly what I experienced. But no, after repotting into a half wine barrell with lots of composted chicken manure and old potting mix in late autumn, Spring came and so did Chico’s resurrection, with four bunches of fruiting branchlets and two new structural branches showing lots of vigour. The suckers have also started to push through the soil. So thanks for this webpage, I will bookmark it for frequent reference to your excellent posts.
And thank you Adrian for taking the time to write this, and for your kind words.
Yes, those fruiting branchlets are something else when you’ve never encountered them before!
Repotting and fertilising your Chico was of course good to do, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it responded the same way if you hadn’t touched it actually! Some of them just seem to be like that.
The Li and Lang mentioned in the last paragraph, for example, are of similar age and have always been potted, watered and fertilised the same, yet responded so differently last year. Lang was off to the races from day one, while runty Li just sat there and fumed about something for a year before deciding to join the world.
The Lang, now 110cm tall from a 30cm start, appears to have slowed its growth and is developing more secondary (permanent) branches from which fruiting branchlets are growing.
The Li was 22cm high at the beginning of spring last year, and 22cm high at the end of summer this year! But this spring, it pumped out one massive bright green 55cm shoot that will eventually harden, brown, and become a permanent extension to the trunk.
I can see another post coming up! Thank you so much again for your comment which has inspired me - I shall take photos of those two, with a write-up that hopefully explains all this better to anyone reading this who hasn’t experienced these fascinating trees for themselves.
As a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a picture of my Chico Jujube tree (to which I referred in the above post) now growing two structural branches in its second year (i.e. after purchase).
The photo also shows the mini sucker poking its head up through the mulch. Note that at the base of the branch on the right a snail seems to have taken a chomp out of the new trunk – but I’m sure that time will heal that. I will watch it closely and then splint it if it doesn’t thicken somewhat. This thin part seems to have had no effect on the health of the branch above it, so the juices must be flowing quite well both ways through the thin bottle neck, and I understand jujube wood is quite hardy. Of course, I wouldn’t want to lose a whole branch laden with fruit. Also, I hadn’t realised that the other branch just below that could become another permanent branch in any case. The chicken wire is there to protect it from a swamp (black) wallaby that keeps eating my roses, young apples, spinach, fennel and carrot seedlings every night. The drought brings it in from Mount Ainslie to suburban heaven, where the gardens are still lush with lawns and spring growth.
Here in Goulburn NSW we’re a couple of months behind the kinder climes of Sydney and the coast and our recently planted Li and Ta-Jan have only just started to come into leaf (the Ta-Jan a couple of weeks before the Li).
Both are very small atm and it will be interesting how they progress now that we’ll shortly be coming into summer.