Lowes for good stock?

marxxxMarch 11, 2009

Any opinions on Lowes fruit? My local store had tons of trees, plants, and vines today. I was particularly interested in several grape vines and a tree or two.

I bought two plum trees form them last year, and they both survived. I guess I am wondering if the plants are what they say they are and if people had good luck with their growth and production compared to other suppliers. I have read good things about starks (and plan on buying somethings from them), but lowes is definitely cheaper on some items + the trees are quite large for the price (4-6' trees for $20).

Thanks in advance for any input~


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
the_gurgler(DFW TX 7b Sunset 33)

I've only bought a few things (some blackberries, strawberries, and an Issai kiwi) from Stark Bros. I've not been impressed. I would have been ticked off if their stuff wasn't so cheap. Plan on whatever they ship meeting the minimum of your expectations. I would say they are of average to below average quality. I have not ordered fruit trees from them though, perhaps those are better.

What I have read in these forums is that you want to look out for trees that have had a lot of root damage when purchasing from the big box stores. I cannot really speak from personal experience on the quality of trees at Lowes.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 8:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

You know what you are getting buying from Starks and other reputable nurseries. They have sent me all good stuff this past year.

At Lowes you are probably going to do ok. You get a fertilizer forced root bound tree with hopefully clean soil. But there it happens enough that you get a plant that isn't what the tag says. There is no knowledge of rootstock, it may just say dwarf and another tag that says 'grows to 35 feet'.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 8:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I've purchased a few items here and there from the larger retailers and it all depends on the characteristics of the individual store. I have found that the staff makes all the difference when taking care of the product lines. Some retailers seem to have a dedicated staff who through training and experience know how to care for the products, while others are simply not provided with the correct tools to learn the roots. Depending on your own skill level I would try to purchase certain items earlier in the season therefore you are the one who will be responsible for the upkeep of the product. Otherwise you may run the chance of the products becoming either sold or neglected. I've also noticed that some retailers don't seem to restock certain products, once they are sold, you then may need to wait until next year. Also don't forget to check into seeing if the retailer has a warranty, which is good for some of the more expensive products.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 9:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
myk1(5 IL)

When something doesn't grow from Lowes you have to dig the dead stick up to get your exchange/refund.
I suppose that's to be expected with an in person store but aggravating when you're trying to beat the one year mark and have to dig in mud.

My 2 living cherry trees are from Lowes and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with them that wouldn't be wrong with any other store that crams their trees together to maximize space.

You do know that bigger does not mean better don't you?
The size that people often complain about with Starks and other mail orders is what is best.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 2:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I saw at my local Lowes yesterday that they have winseap and golden delicious 7 - 8 feet tall for $19.99 but I wouldn't buy them if they were $1.99. Its fun to look but those trees take a long time to recover from whatever they have to do to fit those huge roots into those 3 gallon plastic pots. On top of that they have to survive being transplanted again into a spot in your yard. Double shock.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 9:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I imagine every area can be diffrent but the Lowes and H.Depots in my area have super bad reps for having mislabled stock. I know one person who thought something was wrong with her apple because it looked and tasted strange. Turns out it was an orient pear that had been labled as a yellow deliciuos apple. Lots of horror stories of these types of things happening. I would stick to a local retailer who handles locally grown trees before I headed down that road. Just my thought.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 11:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Have seen creative labeling of trees at Home Despot here as well. These and Slowe's I've noticed getting bedding plants etc. from local growers, but the trees and shrubs seem to be mostly trucked in from outside the region. Kinds not hardy here being offered as outdoor stock or with southern location growers indicated on the tags are good hints. (Some plants hardy here are obtained primarily from California nurseries even at independent outlets). Packaged fruit trees etc. appear to be the same as those at supermarkets etc.

With fruit trees the first thing to check is if these are the right varieties for your area. If not locally adapted it doesn't matter what condition they are in.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 11:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For the investment in time and care before you see (or more likely don't see) one piece of fruit three or four years down the road, you've gotta be nuts to buy fruit trees from a big box. I can probably guess the sorry varieties of grapes they're selling.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 1:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all the advice guys!

I bought two plum trees from them last year, and they did better than my expensive nursery stock (I am a little concerned that they could turn out to be standard size, or different variety than labeled). Their first year they are larger than all but one of my tress that are several years older! I do realize that my previously HORRIBLE soil was likely the largest contributor to slow development (nothing grew there).

So, I do understand that bigger is not always better... But I was curious what everyone here thought of them. If I could save money, get larger trees, and not have to wait a couple weeks to get my my trees and vines I would have been happy to give them my money. I am mostly concerned they could be mislabeled (that would be worse to me than buying a dead plant, then you lose years growing and your money!).

I think I will give starks a try for a most of this years stock.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 1:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Starks isn't a bad choice (the big box stores are), but there are lots of better ones in terms of selection, quality, and price. Burnt Ridge, Adam's County, Cummins, Van Well, and Vintage VA are just a few.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 2:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
myk1(5 IL)

"For the investment in time and care before you see (or more likely don't see) one piece of fruit three or four years down the road, you've gotta be nuts to buy fruit trees from a big box. I can probably guess the sorry varieties of grapes they're selling."
Different people, different situations, different experiences.

I got cherries on both my Montmorency and Northstar the year after planting.
2 years after planting I had plenty.

I don't know what is up with the Montmorency but I suspect it is the same strain as what Stark is selling as "starkspur" because it's loaded and has quite a few doubles.
They weren't mislabeled and the strains are satisfactory.

These two trees are kind of disposable for me. The Montmorency will probably get enough growth to out grow them but I expect the Northstar will be dead in about 5 years from the borers.
If I was ordering other things from Stark I would've thrown them in but otherwise it's not worth it for me to pay shipping on a tree I expect to die quickly or to pay a huge premium to buy from a local nursery.

The only bonus I would've got ordering was I wouldn't have had to prune the lower branches on the Northstar as high as I had to because of Lowes' overcrowding.

This year I was ordering from Starks and I plan on trying grapes. But I'm going to pay the premium for grapes from the nursery rather than Starks because I only like Starks for trees and I figure the local will have a selection better suited to my extreme locality (Starks is in my general locality which is why I use them for trees).

I wouldn't buy an apple from Lowes but would have no problem getting another Montmorency from them. When I bought an pear from a local nursery it ended up being a Stark bare root shoved into a pot the same year I bought it (no roots).

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 5:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
garbird(zone6 KY)

The apple trees from Lowes in Louisville, KY are from a nursery called Judkins in TN. I just called Judkins to ask what type of root stock their apple trees are grafted to, and was told that they only use "domestic seed grown root stock". I still don't know if they are suitable for this region. It did'nt do me any good to ask. I started another post on this topic earlier today to see if anyone has heard of a nursery that does'nt use a commercial type root stock like EMLA-111 or any of the other types described by the online fruit tree nurseries.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 6:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

garbird, Good find about Lowes selling seedling Apples. Professional tool stores warned me their lower price drills etc have plastic bushings instead of roller bearings. So I wouldn't doubt their growers use seed to save a buck. Folks will have to come back and buy longer ladders too.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 8:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
garbird(zone6 KY)

They are not seedling apples. They are apple varieties that are grafted onto seedling root stock. I just wonder how they know if the root stock is going to be dwarfing or standard. The trees are labeled semi-dwarf. I'm just concerned about the grwth characteristics of these domestic seed grown root stocks. Will they produce healthy semi-dwarf trees in my climate zone?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 9:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's the problem with Lowes, HD, etc. Although you get the instant gratification of "seeing what you're getting," you really don't know what you'll end up with in the end. You can get healthy 2-year stock on a known rootstock for less than $20 shipped from a reputable mailorder source, so why continue the investigation?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 9:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I have this to say. I ordered blueberries from Burnt Ridge, and I was in shock when I opened them. They were roots in soil covered with damp newspaper. Very poor packing for shipping, and the poor little things had to undergo more shock when I planted them! They seem OK, but I'm sure the trip through UPS was devastating for them!

I have NEVER had a problem with Lowes, HD, or even Walmart!! I will not order from Burnt Ridge again!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 11:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
glenn_russell(6b RI)

This is the 2nd post I've replied to like this in the last couple daysÂ

What it sounds like you received were bare root plants, which is what most online nurseries ship. Were you expecting bare root plants? I agree, the nice nursery websites and catalogs often don't make this obvious. The bare root plants I've seen usually come with no soil at all.... some web newspaper stripes inside a plastic bag, inside a box. If you're not expecting this, than it can be quite a shock. But, the plants will grow and will do just fine.

If you look at Burnt Ridge at Daves Garden Watchdog, you will see that they have a very high customer review rating. See here.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 12:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I agree with Glenn (and I think I responded to your earlier thread). I've bought 100's of plants from Burnt Ridge and can vouch that their packaging is very well suited to dormant bareroot plants. 99% of my plants have done well once they were established. Ordering a bareroot plant means you'll be getting a bundle of plants with their roots surrounded by wet newspaper, sawdust, moss, peat, etc, in a plastic bag. If you want potted plants you have to pay more, pay much higher shipping (to ship all the dirt), and accept a limited selection. One of the best sources for potted plants is Edible Landscaping. Hartmann's also sells potted blueberries. Or you can roll the dice and buy them from a big box store (non-grafted and small root system plants such as blueberries, as opposed to trees, are actually one of the safer things to buy from them, assuming you like their selection).

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 12:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Garbird - those seedling rootstocks will make standard size trees. It's very misleading that they are calling them semi-dwarf. You simply don't know what kind of roots you'll get from a seedling unlike a regular rootstock where every tree is the same and the characteristics are well known. Any decent mail order place will have much better rootstocks that will control size and give you earlier fruiting which a seedling rootstock will not do. I'm ordering from Raintree this year for the first time based on some reviews on this forum and the wide selection.

Desertdance - I've had several plants shipped to me that way and they did well. It's much more common to not have any dirt on them at all which is cheaper for shipping. I've even ordered roses that were sent completely bare with no packing or dirt or newspaper at all and those did fine too. So I wouldn't worry about your blueberries.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 2:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree..it's misleading to call those trees grafted to seedling rootstocks anything but full-sized. Even an actual semi-dwarfing rootstock would give you 75-95% of full-size, That's still a very vigorous tree. Also a bit misleading to say that alot of these trees are 'mislabelled'. Might lead one to believe that it was an accident.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 3:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

.... for clearing that up. And I agree. I purchased many fruit trees from my local nursery fellow that I picked up in person due to close proximity. I finally made a purchase that I felt I could not go pick up in person, and the product was shipped to me. When it arrived, it was wrapped in moist newspaper. I thought if I were a first time customer I may seriously question this method of shipping but after already doing business with this quite proficient fellow, I planted the trees and they exploded with growth.

As for Lowes, I once asked them what their rootstock was and they replied "fruit".

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 8:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mislabeling of plants at the big box stores is a common scenario. I had a friend who worked for a time as a propagator at one of the big nurseries in McMinnville, TN, and they indicated that it was common for the big box folks to buy 'overruns/seconds' from them, but they did not want them labeled - they would provide their own - so...that 'Orient' pear might actually be a Bartlett or Keiffer, or who knows what.
I've know more than one person who bought 'bargain' fruit trees at a big box and when they fruited, it was very apparent that they were NOT the variety that was on the label when they purchased them. Heck, one guy bought a Santa Rosa plum that turned out to be a Fuyu-type Asian persimmon.

I've never ordered from Burnt Ridge, but I've always seen good reports from folks who have, whom I know are good experienced orchardists. They typically indicate that BR's plants are small, but establish well and grow vigorously, if provided appropriate care.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 11:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

I'll second Lucky's experience. When I started planting trees here in 2002, I went with big box (Walmart). One time I bought two white peach trees (labeled White Princess). Maybe they meant "Yellow Princess", cause they produce yellow peaches. Another time my wife bought a couple plum trees from Walmart, that were labeled as the same cultivar. However, their leaves were different and they bloomed at different times. One of them produced fruit, that seemed to me, to be of such poor quality, it was probably the rootstock fruiting. The other one died (my fault though). A fifth tree I purchased from Walmart, seems to be labeled correctly. It was labeled as a Red Bartlett. It does indeed produce red fruit, with the Bartlett taste.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lucky, right, that's what I was saying. The term 'mislabelled' infers that it may have been accidental. These plants are really 'relabelled'. Whatever will sell is what they become.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 2:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I found some blueberry plants at Lowe's this weekend & bought them. The box didn't say if what type, only the name & zone. After researching the names, they are all northern highbush & I need SH or rabbiteye, so back they go. You would think they would have varieties for our area. I guess I'll order mine online. Good luck

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 11:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cowboyup4christ(Zone 8)

bare root is always best with fruit trees as they adjust to the soil better and adapt to the new environment much sooner than a root bound potted plant. I have never lost but one bare root tree and it grew from the root stock and became a thorny pear instead of a Asian pear. beautiful blooms no fruit.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 8:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
west_texas_peg(8a West Cen TX)

The best fruit tree in our garden came from a big box store. It was an end of season sale item, too. Produces some of the best peaches I have ever eaten. Would love to find another one like it!


    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 5:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I work in a Lowe's garden center, and it is known as the best one in our district. I spent most of my day today sorting fruit trees, making sure they were arranged by kind and type (all apricots, specific kinds of apricots grouped together), printing signs to specify types (instead of "assorted apricots", which is the SKU), carefully placing them with distance between each plant, turned to minimize overlap with other plants, lifting by the pot and not the trunk. Plants arrive with a "pretty tag" with a photo on it, but also a white tag that is harder to remove which also states the variety.

That being said, I know that not all of our garden centers do this. Even if they do, as time goes by, plants get pulled in and out by customers and limbs are broken, etc. In a good center, there is at least one person who can discuss recessive genes, cross-pollination, and grafting. In ours, we have two. The best approach is to ask for the specialist, and see what happens. Usually, one or two stores in a 100 mile radius are decent. I have never seen a variety deliberately passed off as a more popular one(for example a common pink crepe myrtle labeled Tonto)at my store...we just explain we are out of that variety. But I can't vouch for all stores. I have also seen plants come in with completely and egregiously wrong labels/cards from the growers (as in 50 creeping St. John's Wort with Gerber daisy cards in them)

Better to buy early, when they have come in recently, and good luck!

Dallas, Texas, Lemmon and Inwood Location

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 11:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have had the best luck with the trees, the cherry trees especially, the first time i brought them home, they had tons of cherries ripen and they were good, I look for the trees there that have lots of branches and i watered them like crazy, hope this helps.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 5:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Every tree I have purchased has been from either lowes or HD. Both of these stores in California get the stock from Pacific Grove or other reputable dealers/orchards. Mostly everything I have seen and bought has been bare root and in a PRE LABELED bag or labeled from the orchard themselves. All of my trees from my red baron peach (The best most juciest red yellow peach I have ever eaten) to my Satsum/Santa Rosa/Itallian Prune 3in1 plum tree has been bought from HD and Lowes and these trees have flourished and tasted great! If you know what you are looking for you should have no problems buying from either one of these two big box stores. Most of the time the sales people have no idea about how to grow or what tree is what. I never rely on the workers for advice and if I do need help I ask for the SPECIALIST. HD and Lowes get their stock from good dealers so if they are mislabeled it is probably due to a mistake or because it is the last of the stock late in the season. My advice is to know what you are looking for and get there early in the season and buy BARE ROOT in the bag. That way if it mislabeled or in the wrong bag you know it is a mistake from the grower and not HD/Lowes.

I have only bought one navel orange from wal mart and it is a little slow to grow but the oranges are so sweet and juicy! I know I have been lucky but I know what I want before I buy it! Research what type of fruit tree you want before you decide to buy and then go early in the season when they first get their stock to make sure you are not picking through the left overs that could possibly mis labeled due to the million other hands that have already been on them!

There is nothing wrong with big box stores as long as you know what to look for and dont go in expecting everything to be handed to you on a silver platter with gold fruit dripping from the branches..lol You have to remember that MANY MANY other people shop there as well and are always moving plants around and misplacing things and alot of the workers have their heads up their yoo-hoos.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 7:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I purchased several Lowe's fruit trees on clearance in '09, and they are beautiful and healthy. And all but one produced a fair amount of fruit this year (didn't get it covered enough when a late freeze rolled in and it got the blooms). And each tree has turned out to be the variety that its label indicated. They are still young, so I don't know if they are going to be semi-dwarfs as indicated or not, but on the off chance that some of them turned out to be standards I simply planted each tree as if it were a standard. But then I do that with expensive nursery stock, too...just in case. :)
Would I purchase from Lowe's again? Most definitely!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:59AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Apricots, Hunza and Manchurian blossom and flowering.
Hi, I live in Oslo, Norway, which is around a 5b or...
November Vole Damage
Voles have attacked my apple trees. A few of them are...
stark bros apricot with pits that taste like almonds
Does anyone have experience with this apricot variety? http://www.starkbros.com/products/fruit-trees/apricot-trees/stark-sweetheart-apricot It...
Bushwhacker Blood
Thinning Pears
I have several varieties of pear trees (Bartlett, Comics,...
Plum tree
My plum tree has new growth. I remember a couple of...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™