By: Liz Baessler
Raspberries are a wonderful addition to any garden. Raspberries in the store are expensive and usually not nearly as tasty, since they’re bred more to travel well in the back of a truck than to taste good. Keep reading to learn more about growing raspberries in zone 8 and the best raspberry varieties for zone 8 gardens.
As a rule, raspberries are hardy all the way from zone 3 through 9. There are a wide range of raspberry varieties, however, and some are much better suited to growing in hot summers and mild winters than others.
Raspberry plants come in two main types: erect and trailing. Erect canes tend to be better suited to cold climates, while trailing brambles perform better in warmer zones like 8.
Here are some of the best raspberry varieties for zone 8 gardens. Although all of these are listed as zone 8 raspberries, the Dormanred is the clear frontrunner and likely to produce the best results in the heat of a zone 8 summer:
Dormanred – This is by far the most popular and successful of the zone 8 raspberries. It’s an everbearing plant, which means it produces fruit throughout the summer and well into autumn. The main harvest season is midsummer. The fruits are firm and must be allowed to ripen completely before they get really sweet. They’re especially good for jams and pies.
Bababerry – This variety is well adapted to hot summers. Another everbearing variety. Plants are very large.
Southland – This is another everbearing raspberry that produces a main crop in the summer and another in the fall. The plants don’t perform as well as the Dormanreds in extreme summer heat, and the fruits are not quite as tasty.
Mandarin – This is another variety with very good heat tolerance. It produces good, firm berries.
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Raspberry bushes are hardy to USDA zones 4-8, unless otherwise noted. This rating tells you the minimum winter temperature the plants typically survive when properly hardened off. Make sure you consult the USDA Hardiness Maps website, which provides information on the average minimum winter temperature in your location, by zip code. Your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone does not reflect the many of the other factors in successfully growing apple trees, including length of growing season, rainfall amounts, soil quality, and chill hours. Consult your local extension service for more detailed information about your local growing region and the factors you will need to know when selecting fruit trees for your home orchard.
I was picking raspberries Saturday morning when I noticed quite a few of the fruit had white spots on them, some affecting most of the berry. It was the first time I was able to get deep into the patch, and as I weaved my way through it,
Did you know that the individual ‘ball’ on the berry fruit that surrounds the seeds is called a drupelet? Me neither, until today.
Raspberries hiding beneath the leaves.
I was about two-thirds of the way through when it hit me. The raspberries looked like they had sunburn.
The previous seven days were all 90 degrees or hotter, so it made sense that raspberries could suffer the same effects that people out in the sun did. And the white discoloration was the burn, right?.
A quick Google search when I got back into the house confirmed what I thought. White Drupelet Disorder Apparently when sunscald (the equivalent of human sunburn, I guess) “is associated with White Drupelet Syndrome, the side of the fruit exposed to the sun will be white whereas the shaded side will remain normal.”
Unfortunately, it appears that the only thing one can do to prevent sunscald is to not plant the raspberries in the full sun in the first place.
Given that my back yard is all-sun, all-the-time, my only option might be one of those big patio umbrellas on wheels — you know the kind you can roll around wherever the sun is? Wouldn’t that be a sight!
Well, even with sunscald affecting my raspberry patch, I still picked about two pints of good berries. As Rachel Ray would say — Yum-O!
I’ll finish with today’s views of the garden. Looking west: