Anyone growing everbearing raspberries in the deep South?

barberberryfarm(8A)January 25, 2008

Currently, we're testing Heritage raspberries and have had good luck with the 30 we've planted as we picked from them from July through the first hard freeze in November. However, we noticed when the temperatures got consistently about 90 degrees (in late July and August), their photosynthesis process temporarily shut down until we gave them some artificial afternoon shade. Once in place they started ripening again. We've got about an acre shaded in the late afternoon (after around 3 PM) which we'd like to plant 2-4 varieties in, but would love to hear from anyone who has also had success down here where it gets hot and humid in the summer. Most "experts" say you can't grow raspberries down here. I'm looking for someone who has said "yes you can"!

Thanks in advance,

Ken Barber

Millbrook AL

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If you want a red raspberry that will continue to produce through very hot periods, look for Baba, aka Bababerry. This berry was originally found near Los Angeles, and is better adapted to heat than any other that I know of, except perhaps for some of the Australian cultivars that I have not tried.

I have been growing Baba here for years, and it has been an excellent producer with no disease problems. Heritage was a complete bust for me, with low to negligible production. I don't know how difficult it would be to find Baba for sale (I seldom see it), but the west coast would probably be the best place to look. You have to make sure you find a source reliable enough that you can depend on obtaining the real article, not some other variety labeled as Baba. Personally, I wouldn't even bother trying to grow any variety other than Baba in very hot conditions. Quality of the berries themselves is as good or better than any other variety I have seen; good for fresh use and wonderful for the classic Jellyman raspberry jam. If you want a real treat, make a pie.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 12:09PM
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Thanks Don and you're right. The search for the elusive bababerry is not an easy one. For some reason they disappeared from the retail market in California a couple of years ago. One reason given was that wholesale growers had a hard time growing root stock in a profitable manner or something to that effect. Don't know all the details. However, I'll keep trying and if I find anything, I'll let you know. Thanks again for the lead!

Ken Barber
Millbrook AL

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 11:43AM
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Success. After quite a bit of searching on the web, I found some 2 year-old Bababerry plants online at a nursery in Georgia whose reviews were all positive on a variety of forum sites, so I ordered 20 and we'll see how they do. Thanks again!

Ken Barber
Millbrook AL

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 1:33PM
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Is there a trick to keeping the weeds down in the respberry patch? Do you use mulch or plastic or nothing? I live in lower Mississippi and would love to have a patch like we had in Wisconsin. I tried growing them once but the super growing weeds took them.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 10:05AM
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I know what you mean about weeds. Here in Alabama, weeds and grass definitely love the humidity. What we do is use a post-emergent herbicide called Poast which does a good job at killing most grasses, but doesn't do much to kill the weeds and nutsedge. We also use a pre-emergent like Surflan or sizamine around the middle of February in an attempt to keep the grass and some small weed seeds from germinating in the spring. I've added a link which describes these and other possibilities you may want to consider in your quest to grow a weed-free raspberry patch. But let me also add, most raspberries shut down their photosynthesis process when it gets over 90 degrees (i.e., the berries will stop ripening), so afternoon shade in some fashion should definitely be in your planning.

Hope this helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: Weed Management in Blackberries in Florida

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 7:05PM
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Where did you find the baba plants?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 1:43PM
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I apologize for not responding earlier to your question. I found the bababerries at the Willis Orchard Company in Georgia. I ordered 20 and received them about a week later, all of which were in great shape and packed well. I've included their web link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Willis Orchard Company

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 9:53AM
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