OPINION Trees have featured in this column in recent times. Today, we look at a smaller version Sylvia Vella is trialling at her property off Nangetty Walkaway road, just over the bridge. The Vellas decided on a tree change about three years ago. Sylvia runs a marketing business from home, but is keen on a future in horticulture if their venture works. That brought them to these acres, not far from the Walkaway township. “We had planted the jujube trees in July 2018 and installed reticulation,” Sylvia said. “So unfortunately after 21/2 years, many of them did not take, but the few that did are doing well.” Jujubes are a sweet apple-like fruit with a pit instead of a core. They come in a range of varieties. The one chosen here is the Li variety as it requires a low number of chill hours, but loves the sunshine. The tree goes dormant each winter and loses its leaves and small branches. It comes up again in September, with flowers and fruit developing shortly thereafter. “We have struggled with the wind since we have planted them,” Sylvia said. “We have since planted wind breaks but they will take a while to get growing. We hope to have a productive orchard in a few years ... right now it’s a hobby!” Wikipedia describes the jujube as a small deciduous tree or shrub reaching a height of 5m-12m, usually with thorny branches. The leaves are shiny-green, 2cm-7cm long and 1cm- 3cm wide, with three conspicuous veins at the base, and a finely toothed margin. The flowers are 5mm wide, with five inconspicuous yellowish-green petals. The fruit is an edible oval drupe 1.5cm-3cm deep. When immature it is smooth-green, with the consistency and taste of an apple with lower acidity, maturing brown to purplish-black, and eventually wrinkled, looking like a small date. There is a single hard kernel, similar to an olive pit, containing two seeds. Meanwhile, the wind this summer has been ferocious at times and it has affected gardens all over Geraldton. Wind breaks are essential to grow any crop under these conditions. We have found that a 50 per cent shade cloth is good to break the winds force, but it needs to be high enough so the wind doesn’t roll down onto the plants. The intense heat at various times is another factor to consider when protecting summer gardens in Geraldton.