Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba), a deciduous fruit tree grown in China for more than 4000 years, bears very nutritious fruit that have been consumed as food and widely used in traditional Chinese medicine (Yao, 2013). Jujube is gaining popularity with commercial growers and home gardeners in the United States because of its low maintenance requirements, nutritious and tasty fruit, and health benefits. However, as the demand for jujube trees steadily increases, the tree supply from nurseries is becoming a limiting factor. Jujube tissue culture propagation is progressing (Y. Chang, personal communication), but grafting is still the dominant propagation method.
Jujube grafting became popular in China in the 1980s. Before then, suckers (small plants from mother plants with root attached) collected from established jujube trees were commonly used for new plantings (Guo and Shan, 2010). Bark grafting, cleft grafting, side grafting, and whip/tongue grafting have been popularly used in nurseries in China (Guo et al., 1994; Shi et al., 2006; Wu et al., 2018). Bark grafting and cleft grafting were common in top-working to change cultivars (Li, 2009). People in rural areas also graft jujube cultivars to sour jujube (Ziziphus spinosa) in the wild to increase productivity (Wang, 2014). Compared with traditional jujube-producing provinces, grafting in place was more popular than planting grafted trees in the newly emerged jujube production areas such as Xinjiang in China (Chai et al., 2016; Ma et al., 2019). There are hundreds of publications about jujube grafting in China, with the majority being popular science reports or experience summaries. Published research of this topic is limited (Li, 2009; Shi et al., 2006; Wu et al., 2018). In the United States, an extension publication about jujube grafting was published in 2014, and it included a grafting video link (Yao, 2014). A similar extension publication was published in western Australia (Johnstone, 2020).
The jujube program at the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Sustainable Agriculture Science Center in Alcalde, NM, started in 2010. In Spring 2011, the imported scionwood from China was grafted onto sour jujube rootstocks. Then, different types of grafting techniques were used for imported cultivar amplification, cultivar propagation for cultivar trials, top-working, or other reasons. This report is a summary of the successes and problems during 10 years of grafting experience and a discussion of the effects of environmental factors on grafting in Alcalde, NM.
Chai, F., Fu, X., Shi, Y. & Zhang, J. 2016 Productive cultural management techniques of grafted Huizao in grafting year Xinjiang Farm Res. Sci. Technol. 4 10 11 (in Chinese)
Johnstone, R 2020 Propagating jujubes 27 July 2021. <https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/minor-fruits/propagating-jujubes?nopaging=1>
Ma, Y., Li, G. & Jie, Y. 2019 Culture managements for grafted high density huizao on directly seeded rootstocks Xinjiang Farm Res. Sci. Technol. 2009 4 22 23 (in Chinese)
Shi, M., Yang, S. & Liang, X. 2006 Research on reproduction and grafting-breeding techniques of sour jujube kernels For. Sci. Technol. 31 5 62 63 (in Chinese)
U.S. Department of Agriculture 2008 Soil survey of Rio Arriba area, New Mexico, parts of Rio Arriba and Sandoval counties 26 July 2021. <https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_MANUSCRIPTS/new_mexico/NM650/0/Rio%20Arriba%20Area%20NM.pdf>
Wang, X 2014 Early cropping management techniques for grafted jujube cultivar Dapingding on sour jujubes in place Northern Fruits 2014 3 42 43 (in Chinese)
Wu, S., Zhi, F. & Jia, Y. 2018 Effects of different grafting times and scion types on survival rate and growth potential of Ziziphus jujuba cv Zaocuiwang. J. Hebei Agr. Sci. 22 6 47 50 (in Chinese)
Yao, S 2013 Past, present, and future of jujubes – Chinese dates in the United States HortScience 48 672 680 https://doi.ort/10.21273/HORTSCI.48.6.672
Yao, S 2014 Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) grafting New Mexico State Univ. Coop. Ext. Serv. Publ. H335. 20 Aug. 2021. <https://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/H335.pdf>
Yao, S. & Heyduck, R. 2018 Ornamental jujube cultivar evaluation in the southwestern United States HortTechnology 28 557 561 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH04073-18
Yao, S., Heyduck, R. & Guldan, S. 2019 Early performance of jujube fresh eating cultivars in the southwestern United States HortScience 54 1941 1946 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI14312-19
Yao, S., Heyduck, R., Guldan, S. & Sapkota, G. 2020 Early performance of drying and multipurpose jujube cultivars in the southwestern United States HortScience 55 1804 1810 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI15344-20