Raspberry Heat Tolerance

Asimina76(7)April 24, 2014

I live in central NC. I am under the impression that red raspberries prefer a cooler climate than mine, and I'm aware that blackberries do much better here. I'm thinking that purple raspberries would do better in my climate. I could site my berry patch in partial shade, but I'm not sure if that would be the right approach.

Does anyone here have any advice regarding raspberries in Zone 7 (maybe 7.5 really)? Do I have some incorrect assumptions?


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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Its hit and miss. I would try Nantahala, a variety bred in North Carolina to deal with the heat there. It fruits very late in the fall so misses the worst heat. Variety choice is important for you in this case, don't just get any kind.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 9:12PM
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Caroline red raspberries should be fine there. They are more tolerant of heat than many of the others. Since they are fall-bearing (bear twice a year) you might want to try both the summer and fall crops to see if one crop performs better than the other. The summer crop would probably avoid the warmest months.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:45PM
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Not sure if this is even fair to my Caroline, but most of them didn't make it through the intense heat of the summer of '12.

I think I only have a few crowns in that row now. I figured they may spread some to fill in...

I even put up sheets to block the sun, but in the end they just didn't make it. I'd say I lost 75% of them.

On the other hand my Heritage powered through the heat/drought of '12 and looked no worse for the wear.

I like the flavor of the Caroline a little better though.

Again, that may not be typical, or rather a good or fair litmus test. That was BRUTAL heat.

The rows are also about 150 feet apart.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 1:10AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Nourse says Caroline is not heat tolerant. On the other hand, its done well for me personally. So there seems to be a mixed message on Caroline :-)

I would strongly recommend getting Nantahala, it was bred in NC for NC.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:55AM
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I'm sure there are a lot of variables on what promotes healthy plants, but I haven't yet had a problem with raspberry or blackberry plants dying from heat. Last year (2013) was below average temperatures but 2012 was above average temperatures with 100F being hit several times. I have drip irrigation, clay soil, and a north-facing garden, of which may improve their survival chances.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 11:22AM
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I looked into some of the suggestions here, and 'Nantahala' is looking good to me.

I have an area planned for the raspberries that is open, but has a few trees around it. Does anyone here think that the partial shade might help, or would full sun be better?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 1:19PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

I'm also in NC, and I've experimented with several different varieties over the past few years. Heritage has done reasonably well for me as a spring-bearing variety (the second year canes fruit before it gets too hot here), but, like with the other fall reds that I've tried, the fall crop often arrives too early (August) when it's still very hot. This seems to lead to poor production and a lot of competition with wasps for what little fruit there is. Nonetheless, when I have gotten fruit from Autumn Bliss and Caroline, it's been very good. I'm trying out Nantahala for the first time this year in the hope that it will fruit later. My only concern is that some of the descriptions that I've read suggest that it's better suited to the foothills and mountains where summers are cooler.

The only Summer Red that I've tried is Prelude. While it hasn't been a heavy producer, the berries are fantastic and, like Heritage, are early enough to beat the summertime heat. If you're interested in Purples, Jewel yielded exceptionally well for me last spring, and the flavor was top notch.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 1:40PM
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I'm in Raleigh and by far the best producer for me is 'Heritage'. In a mild year I can get far more berries than I can eat off of both crops and I have picked berries almost up to Christmas. It is the worst about catching every disease out there and the berries don't have the best flavor fresh but cooked for jelly or as a sauce it taste just like any other red raspberry. I have had 'September' and 'Caroline' and 'Dormand Red', all have struggled during high heat summers. I have never picked enough berries off of them to compare the flavors. I think there is only one tiny stem of 'September' up this year in that row. It looks like the past summers of high heat and drought along with this recent hard winter have done a lot of them in.

I do have a few 'Mandarin' which were developed here at NC State years ago. They are weak plants, prone to virus and very hard to propagate. I have them in half day sun and they seem happy but not as robust as Heritage in full sun.

I just bought some 'Polka' and 'Josephine' to try in the shade with the 'Mandarin's'. They are big enough to fruit this year so I'll know more later.

I had both 'Kiwi Gold' and 'Fall Gold' and both suffered this winter - died all the way back to the ground. It will be a month before I see how alive they are.

For Blacks I am growing 'Jewel' this year but my plant is tiny. I have grown them before in shade and they did great but you get a lot of plant for few berries. With more light they may perform better but you have to either prune them all the time or be prepared to have a large plant in the yard.

Growers trying to grow reds in this area do all the tricks to keep them cool during the summer - shade cloths, white fabric mulch to reflect heat away from the ground, lots of watering, etc.

I was told 'Nantahala' wouldn't do well here (by the person that bred them), they were designed for the mountains.

Good Luck.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 2:21PM
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Hmm, the 'Nantahala' answer might not be so cut and dry I see. I'm tempted to try it anyway to find out if it will fruit late for me. I may try it and plant 'Heritage' if it fails. My mother grew heritage successfully in this area, so I'm pretty sure it would work.

Thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 6:37PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

John thats an interesting bit from the breeder. It sounds like no raspberry does really well where you are. I am in zone 7a and can get good results from several varieties if I give them a bit of shade during the day. Jewel, Josephine, Prelude, and Caroline all have done well. I just added Nantahala myself recently. Heritage and Taylor did not do as well.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 6:57PM
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I am in Peoria, Arizona and am trying out a couple varieties not holding out much hope but I did have heritage that made it all the way through the summer and is now producing a small amount it is in a container so I was able to relocate it to more shady areas as the sun moved this spring I put in a baba raspberry and dorman red, I was told the flavor of baba is good but dorman is poor, guess I will see if they survive, I have a couple boysenberries , there are people here that have had success with them.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 7:46PM
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If I could find a Nantahala locally I would buy it and squeeze it in somewhere. You never know who's gonna do well which year. Heritage gets a bad rap (and I've been known to slam it) but for this area it is pretty much fool proof. It's just that if you ever travel to the mountains or up north where they really grow raspberries you'll never be satisfied with the flavors down here in the low lands. And, a lot of raspberries have very fragile flavors, you can pick them as the sun is coming up and they taste excellent but by noon they are blah.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 8:20PM
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Not trying to bash Heritage but it was bland for me and it had trouble with (wet) clay soil. Caroline and Anne have grown well and both taste good but they just haven't produced a lot of berries, Anne especially. I planted Cascade Delight last year and it (surprisingly) overwintered fine this winter for me. If it turns out to be a good berry, I'll probably remove Caroline and possibly Anne and replace it with Cascade Delight and Glencoe Purple Raspberry.

I had trouble in August with the primocane crops on both Anne and Caroline due to stink bugs. I'm thinking an earlier berry that produces all of the berries at one time is probably a better approach for me.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:13PM
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