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Growing "Cool-Weather" Berries in the Tropics

 
Joe Battle
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Location: Haiti
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Have any of you had success with growing blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or any other "cool-weather" berry in the tropics. I have friends that are successfully growing blackberries and strawberries higher up in the mountains. I remember hearing of some blueberry cultivars having success in Hawaii.

What have your experiences been? Can you suggest any particular varieties or cultivars? Any tips for planting and care?
 
Sean Banks
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I have seen this in the Philippines....in a place called Baguio City....they grow strawberries there at high elevation.
 
Joe Battle
Posts: 43
Location: Haiti
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Thanks @Sean. I'm already fairly confident about strawberries, first from experience (my family grew a couple of acres of strawberries in the USA when I was a kid) and second because I've seen them grown in Haiti before, also at high elevation.

What I'm less confident about is fruit that requires a certain amount of chill hours before it will blossom and bear fruit. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries fit that description, so do many fruit trees like apples, peaches, etc.

BUT... I know there are ways around the chill requirements with certain varieties. That's what I'm looking for here.
 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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I can grow strawberries. I gave up on the low chill blueberries because of the severe rust issues in my area. It wasn't worth the hassle and the chemicals. I haven't tried anything else although I have a neighbor who has some sort of blackberry.
 
Steve Farmer
Posts: 370
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
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My temp range is 8C - 45C. Blackberries and peaches grow well here. I've failed with blueberries and blackcurrants but some of my neighbours have had limited success, so by no means impossible. Frosts are unheard of.
 
Joe Battle
Posts: 43
Location: Haiti
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@Steve: We are at about 500m elevation, somewhere between 15 and 20 North Latitude, I believe, and the average daily highs and lows in our region barely fluctuate throughout the year. Our temperature range last year was about 16C - 37C (including nighttime lows). Our day time temperature hardly ever drops below 30C, so it may be a bit more challenging for us to get the same results. But I bet my friends that are higher up in Kenscoff, Haiti would have great successes.

@Su Ba: If rust wasn't a problem, do you think that the blueberries would have been successful? We plan to experiment with a cocktail of essential oils to deal with rust in a coffee program that I'm involved in. Maybe you could look into it. Here's a link to a Brazilian scientific study on treating rust with essential oils.
 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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My bushes actually bloomed and produced fruit for two years. But each year a bout of rust moved through my area, defoliating the blueberry bushes. I didn't have the time or knowledge to deal with the rust issue, so I abandoned the idea of growing blueberries.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 384
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I wonder if the new primo cane blackberries might work? They produce on first year growth. Just a thought . I have no experience with such a warm climate.
 
David MacKenzie
Posts: 10
Location: Big Island of Hawaii
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Aloha,
Like Su Ba, I am on the Big Island, near Hilo at 1400'. Mulberries are growing here for us and I am planning to try some of the blueberries here as well. We also have the native raspberry, which is kind of bland in taste but does well, and the ever-to-be-feared Himalayan raspberry, which has some of the wickedest thorns of any plant I have seen.
David,
Hilo
 
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