Monday, 26 October 2009 15:16

Fruiting Mulberries and Jujubes

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Question: Interested in Mulberry and Jujube trees. Would order thru local nursery, but need information.
Prefer small to moderate. One party lives in Solvang, CA; 90's typical in summer and can freeze in winter. The other is in Santa Barbara in a location that rarely freezes, and average highs are in the 80s.
What varieties are most desirable? I had a Pakistan Mulberry and it tasted sweet but blah.

Answer: Leslie, thank you for your question.  Cold weather will not be a problem in either of those beautiful locations for the trees you are looking for.  They are in USDA Zones 7 and or 8 depending upon where you stand.  Depending upon how close you are to the ocean in Santa Barbara for the summer fog may affect the Jujube fruit which likes the heat for the October fruiting.

We grow the following fruiting Mulberries: White Fruiting Mulberry (cold hardy to USDA zone 6), Cooke's Pakistan Fruiting Mulberry (our own selection) (Zone 7, maybe 6), Teas Weeping Fruiting Mulberry (Zone 3), Black Beauty Fruiting Mulberry (tree and bush forms)(Zone 4) and Persian Fruiting Mulberry (tree and bush forms)(Zone 4).

As you can tell by some of the names, the fruiting mulberry (Morus alba and Morus nigra) originated in the Middle East and Asia in areas with much harsher and colder weather than Solvang and Santa Barbara (an envious understatement!).  The most cold sensitive fruiting Mulberry seems to be the Pakistan which has been sensitive to freeze in the first year or so on new, tender growth but survives the cold when more mature.  It should not be a problem in Solvang or Santa Barbara.

You said smaller size is a consideration.  The White, Pakistan and Persian get to be large trees.  The Teas Weeping is a smaller tree with a weeping, mounding growth.  The Black Beauty is semi-dwarf, getting to only 15 feet tall, but only 10-12 foot tall if purchased in bush form.  Both produce small blackberry sized fruit.  Although the Pakistan is probably too large for your application, I was surprised at your impression of the flavor.  It has been our favorite of the fruiting mulberries for the fruit size and taste.  Of course I favor sweet fruit so I may have to go back next summer and compare strength of flavor with other mulberries at the same time.


We offer four varieties of Jujube with a fifth slated for 2011 delivery.  Li is by far the most popular due to its fruit size and that it was the first one we offered to the market many years ago.  Lang seems to be losing ground as the second most favorite as our newer selections become better known.  And both of those are very thorny.  The third one we brought to the market is Sherwood.  I was attracted to it since it had very few thorns and it was very sweet.  It ripens a month later than the others but seems to set a little less fruit.  Since the summers are not as hot or long on the coast, this might not be the best choice.   The fourth one is the GA 866 which I also like and has grown in popularity.  We have also tested the Sugar Cane fruit this summer and it is a winner too (again my sweet tooth).  It will not be on the market until 2011 from our fields.

Honestly, I cannot tell you much about ultimate tree size of the Jujube.  We prune our parent stock so heavy for the wood that we do not ever see a full sized tree here.  I don't think there is enough difference in tree size to make much of a difference in your desire to select a smaller tree but I suspect Li and Lang are bigger based upon their re-growth and the Sugar Cane seems to have smaller wood suggesting possibly a smaller ultimate size.

So, based upon what little I know from your email. I would probably plant a Black Beauty Mulberry (tree or bush) and the GA 866 Jujube (or Sugar Cane if you can wait another year).