Apples are far and away the most popular fruit in America and beyond. This means it’s the goal of many a gardener to have an apple tree of their own. Unfortunately, apple trees aren’t adapted to all climates. Like many fruiting trees, apples need a certain number of “chill hours” in order to set fruit. Zone 8 is right on the edge of places where apples can conceivably grow. Keep reading to learn more about growing apples in hot climates and how to select apples for zone 8.
Can You Grow Apples in Zone 8?
It is possible to grow apples in hot climates like zone 8, although the variety is considerably more limited than it is in cooler areas. In order to set fruit, apple trees need a certain number of “chill hours,” or hours during which the temperature is below 45 F. (7 C.)
As a rule, many apple varieties need between 500 and 1,000 chill hours. This is simply more than is realistic in a zone 8 climate. Luckily, there are a few varieties that have been specially bred to produce fruit with significantly fewer chill hours, usually between 250 and 300. This does allow apple cultivation in much warmer climates, but there is something of a tradeoff.
Because these trees need so few chill hours, they are ready to blossom much earlier in the spring than their cold-loving cousins. Since they bloom earlier, they are much more susceptible to the odd late frost that can wipe out a season’s worth of blossoms. Growing low chill hour apples can be a delicate balancing act.
Low Chill Hour Apples for Zone 8
Some of the best zone 8 apple trees are:
- Beverly Hills
- Dorsett Golden
- Tropical Beauty
- Tropic Sweet
Another set of good apples for zone 8 include:
- Ein Shemer
Cultivated in Israel, they are used to hot desert conditions and require minimal chilling.