Developing jujube (Ziziphus jujube Mill) or Chinese date as an alternative fruit tree crop to improve sustainability of small farmers in Mississippi

Project Overview

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2013: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2016
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Ramon Arancibia
University of Missouri Extension

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: general tree fruits


  • Crop Production: tissue analysis
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Pest Management: field monitoring/scouting, weather monitoring
  • Production Systems: general crop production

    Proposal abstract:

    The purpose of this project is to generate information about jujube production, potential pests and consumer acceptance in Mississippi. Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill) appears to have potential for production in Mississippi and the south because it seems to have no significant incidence of pests and diseases. Reduced or no pests incidence results in little or no pesticide use which would improve productivity and sustainability of the production system. Jujube is practically an unknown fruit to consumers and there is no information about establishment and production in Mississippi. Similarly, there is no information on potential pest and diseases that might be affecting the crop in Mississippi. Therefore, the information generated is expected to have a positive outcome, that is improve knowledge of for decision making about adopting sustainable jujube production in Mississippi and the region.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objectives of this on-farm research proposal are:
    1) To evaluate performance during establishment of jujube under sustainable production system in Northeast Mississippi,
    2) To document and evaluate the incidence of potential pests and diseases affecting jujube
    3) To determine consumer acceptance at the local market.

    Sustainability is based on diversity in the production system as a whole and jujube appears to have potential as a fruit crop to increase sustainability in a fruit production system. Since jujube appears to have little or no significant pests and diseases in the US, it could be an excellent alternative crop to complement sustainable and perhaps organic production systems in the southern region. Little or no incidence of pests and diseases results in little or no pesticide use and in a long orchard life span which may improve sustainability.
    The purpose of this project is to generate information about jujube production, potential pests and consumer acceptance in Mississippi. Jujube or Chinese date is a deciduous tree with an open irregular form. The tree can be formed as a single trunk and can reach 15 to 35 feet in height with 10 to 30 feet in diameter. Performance of different varieties, establishment and formation, pruning, pests and diseases, harvest and storage, and consumer acceptance would be important information necessary for decision making and to promote production of this fruit crop in Mississippi and the southern region.
    Parameters that will be measured are growth and phenological events (vegetative and reproductive bud break, first flower open, flowering period, fruit set, ripening, and time to harvest) to differentiate varieties and to associate them with nutrient status and environmental conditions. Agronomic parameters will be tree size (height, trunk diameter and total growth), flowers to fruit set ratio, fruit size, color, and yield. In addition, soil and air temperature, relative humidity, wind and rain will be monitored to determine environmental conditions associated with growth, phenological events and potential insect/disease outbreaks. Soil will be monitored in spring summer and fall for fertility and nematode populations by submitting samples to appropriate testing laboratories. Nutrient status of the trees will be monitored also by tissue analysis. Since there is no information on the appropriate location of the leaves to sample in jujube, the nutrient status of leaves from different growth types (secondary, mother and fruiting shoots) will be evaluated. Although pest and disease incidence in jujube are not significant in the US, we will be monitoring and samples will be submitted to the appropriate extension specialist or test laboratory for further identification.
    Consumer acceptance will be tested by allowing consumers to taste the different varieties and request a simple evaluation (scale 1 to 5) as to whether they like it or not. In addition, sweetness, sourness, flavor, texture, mouth feel, and overall taste will be evaluated. The score will be compared to the consumer survey and used to determine potential acceptability among consumers.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.