Mail order evaluation 2013

drew51 SE MI Z5b/6aMay 3, 2013

OK, I ordered a hell of a lot of stuff this year.

Bay Laurel
Edible Landscaping
One Green World
Indiana Berry
Botany Shop Garden Center
A surprising entry here is Hirt's Gardens, ordered from Amazon. Impressive elderberries.

Everything from above was exceptional. Well packaged huge plants bursting with vigor!

OK, not great
Raintree - I had a huge order, all is OK, but the plants are pretty beat up.
Berries Unlimited - Small and deformed to fit package

Try to avoid
Burnt Ridge - Plants were shipped by slow boat, show weak growth Some plants were so dry I had to trim dead brown stems off of them.
American Meadows - like a big box store that has plants on the shelf for weeks before you buy it. The one plant I ordered was dry, and had weak growth. It did survive though and is now ok.
Honeyberry USA - Plants were very small for the price. Overbooked sales. Plants showed weak growth, one died.
This is a rather new nursery, and they have sent great plants to others. I did order in February though, and should have received the best plants. I may give them another chance.

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I got good stuff from Burnt Ridge this spring, but I also live much closer and everything was fully dormant.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 12:39AM
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cooper8b(zone 8b)

I had great luck with burnt ridge this spring. The trees were large and have grown well.
Just fruits and exotics in Fl sent me a couple oreintal persimmons, they looked good but were slower to lead out than the one I got from burnt ridge, still I'm happy.
I was super impressed with Whitman farms in OR I got 2 1gal geraldi dwarf mulberries and an illini moonlight magnolia, they look great and were packaged wonderfully!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 10:13AM
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I will vouch for botany shop. ordered some chester blackberries fro them last year 2 times and plants i received were in exceptional shape

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 1:34PM
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Most of my burnt ridge stuff was great. Blue Damson plum was almost an inch on the caliper and put out some blooms within a few days of being in the ground. Van cherry, Montrose Apricot and Mulberry were all good. Montmorency was a little small. The Stanley plum I got had been chewed on by deer and has no branches. Showing no signs of growth yet although the others all are. They're sold out of the Stanley now so I'm really hoping it makes it. Also, they had my grape labeled as a blackberry and blackberry as grape.

Their packaging was impecable. They shipped my stuff on a friday (no idea why they would do that) and it didn't arrive til the following Wednesday but everything was still very moist and all but one were dormant. I would definitely order from them again in the future. Prices can't be beat and I was very happy with what arrived.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 7:06PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Bay Laurel:
Communication: Excellent
Packaging: Excellent
Size and Vigor: From Dave Wilson, excellent; from L.E. Cooke, poor. I asked them not to trim roots or tops. Later shipping would have been better for my zone.

Communication: Excellent
Packaging: Excellent
Size and Vigor: Excellent
Everything in great shape and shipped late enough for my cold spring. This is my 5th year ordering from them.

England's Orchard & Nursery:
Communication: Excellent
Packaging: Excellent:
Size and Vigor: Excellent
Shipped in fall. My NC-10 was not fully dormant and I should have asked for spring shipment or kept it potted in the garage. It did not make it but I just received a replacement.

Communication: Adequate
Packaging: Excellent
Size and Vigor: Disappointing
I expected trees for $20.00, but the Peterson pawpaws were a foot tall in 4" pots.

One Green World
Communication: Excellent
Packaging: Excellent
Size and Vigor: Excellent
They held shipping my order until the black current I ordered was up to size, which was fine with me. My original order was placed in November by mail. Between then and April when I added to my order there was a price increase that added $6.00 to my previously ordered items. They initially charge this, but I did receive a refund.

Nourse Farms
Communication: Excellent
Packaging: Excellent
Size and Vigor: Excellent
I finally got my hands on Guelph asparagus. They arrived in great shape but I was surprised that there was no material to keep the roots moist. I've never ordered asparagus before so I don't know what to expect really. Everything I've ever ordered from Nourse has been far above the norm in quality.

This post was edited by milehighgirl on Wed, May 22, 13 at 14:08

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 1:05AM
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At least you didn't order from Miller Nurseries. I ordered honeyberry plants last year. One was a brittle stick with dead roots attached. They sent a replacement, that was also 100% dead. They replaced that one this spring with an unbelievable third dead plant. I will avoid Miller's from now on.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 3:02PM
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alan haigh

I got the smallest apple tree (Calville Blanc) I've received for many years (since Miller time) from Burnt Ridge Nursery, looks to be just a bench graft- screw that!

All the praise for them here but I really am not very fond of them- shipped late too.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 3:23PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

My Shinsui is in transit and is scheduled for del on monday. All cause they didn't ship on a monday. They waited till tues night!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 5:04PM
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I got some nice trees from Fowler Nursery in Newcastle, CA and Cloud Mountain Farm Everson, WA.

The trees from Fowler Nursery were small, unbranched whips, about 4.5 feet tall (and not headed), but that's EXACTLY what I want. I ordered from them last year and was pleased with what I received then, too, though the trees were bigger.

First time ordering from Cloud Mountain Farm Center and would order from them again.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 5:52PM
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I received great bushes from Burnt Ridge (sea buckthorn seedlings and haskap this year, hazelnuts in the past), which I can recommend across the board for vigor. The Cummings order (25 trees) was excellent except for some of the large apple trees (Northern Spy on B9, a couple of G11) having relatively little root. Raintree sent 6 trees, four pawpaws and six vines, mostly good, one mulberry and one pawpaw look poor.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 7:56PM
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w3Plants Botanical Growers
- Sweetcrisp Blueberry - large and reasonably priced

Henry Fields
- Ka Bluey Blueberry (jumbo) - good size, well packaged
- More items incoming...

- Obsidian Blackberry - 4" pot, well packaged, reasonably priced, quickly shipped

Indiana Berry
- Good customer service, very good pricing, decent quality plants

I purchased a number if items from farms / nurseries operating through Ebay and nearly all of it was shipped quickly and of good quality and price. All and all, nearly all of my purchases have been at least acceptable to good. I insisted on buying plants last year in the middle of a record heat wave and those plants were a bit worse than average but that is at least somewhat my fault.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 8:29PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

I ordered 5 honeyberry from Burnt Ridge. Most were ok looking and doing well. One looked dead when I got (leaves were brown, dry and would crumble when handled).

I called and told them about it and they told me to give it a little time. It's been about a month and all the others are doing well except this one which is still dead.

I'm going to call today about gettin,g a replacement. I'll post an update.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 7:58AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


I won't order from them again ever after last year they sent me a bunch of half dead conifer trees (various types)... Even if they are cheap. I've had good luck in the past, but its probably hit or miss these days.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:44AM
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Burnt Ridge - I ordered a lot from them. Overall, good plants. However, the size of the trees is a crap shoot. Like Hman mentioned, some of the trees were tiny. The smallest was Enterprise apple which was about 20 inches tall with a diameter the size of yarn. Yet, many others were nice sized with good roots. They really need to give an option to choose size and price like they do for many other plants they sell. Customer service was very good.

Indiana Berry - I ordered blackberry and raspberry. Great prices and they don't require you order in groups of five like many other sellers.

Double A Vineyard - Best root systems on bareroot plants that I've ever seen. Also the only place that I found to carry all the Arkansas varieties.

Ison's - I bought two of their hard to find Russian pomegranate. Great price and nice sized trees. Unfortunately, one never leafed out, but they will send a replacement in the fall.

Nolin River - Bought two American persimmon. A little high on price, but trees are hard to find. Neither has leafed out, but scratch test shows green under bark.

Fruit Tree Farm - Great plants, best prices on the net.

McKenzie Farm - Excellent. Customer service was top notch, great plant, great prices. Highly recommended for citrus plants.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:38AM
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milehighgirl - I have ordered from Nourse Farms for a few years and have been very pleased with the blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. I am waiting for more raspberries as I want to grow Heritage for height. A pick your own farm we go to (Yellow Hill farms) in PA is the most picturesque, clean, family run place and the bushes are perfect. They get their stock from Nourse.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 5:50PM
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This year's results:

St Lawrence Nurseries

Two trees (apple and plum). Nice sized, good roots, Plum had a bit of green on the bud tips which did not fair too well with our cold snap (-3F). But the apple is nicely dormant. Too soon to say if they will leaf out.

In past years the trees I have gotten here have been of good quality, shipped quickly and dormant.


Mixed results. The $5 Gold Rush apple was very good quality and dormant, and arrived at the right time for planting. English walnut was nice sized but had started to break dormancy but looks like it will survive. Blueberries were a disaster, took two to three reshipments to get live ones. On the good side, customer service was very pleasant to deal with and willing to reship until I got some living plants. Again too early to say what will eventually grow.

Henry Fields

Disaster. They shipped two Prime-Jan blackberries a month or more too early, and when they arrived they were in leaf. Customer service would have reshipped, but they were all sold out so they refunded my purchase price (but not the shipping).

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I got some exceptional plants from Nourse, AA Vineyards, Arboreum, ACN, and even Raintree had good blackberries for a change. I was somewhat disappointed in Berries Unlimited, the 1-gal plants were 1-qt plants in a lot of extra dirt.

Re: Millers they love to do that trick of replacing dead plants with nearly-dead plants; nearly all the replacements I got them them were horrible quality and died. I tried for three years to get a Rochester peach from them that wouldn't die but I gave up.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:09PM
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I got two pink lemonade blueberries from Starks in 1 gallon size. They each had a pencil or thicker stem with multiple other stems. both have since leafed out although a few of the smaller branches died back.

a 3 year meyer lemon from four winds that had significant die back of all the new growth leaves and then the branches back to the main branches (it may have gotten too cold during shipping?). The tree is holding on now but is only putting out new growth on two branches. Additionally the tree was shaped kind of odd. They typically are rated very highly so maybe i got unlucky.

I also got 2 banana plants from going bananas. They showed up looking great and i thought they had excellent customer service.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 10:18AM
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My orders from Burnt Ridge last two years have been very good. They included pawpaws, Am. persimmon seedlings, goumi, raspberries, jujube. All were small but healthy and packed well.

I just put in my BR order for this year (apple, apricot, seaberry, jujube, and Asian persimmon) but have not received it yet.

Rolling River sent me some very nice autumn olive plants and a Chinese yam, very carefully packed. I will order from them again as long as they have what I'm looking for at the time.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 11:12AM
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I bought a cherry tree from burnt ridge about 3 weeks ago and just got it this week. I had emailed them ahead of time and asked how large their trees were, they said most are 4-5'. mine was about 42" including roots (root ball was kind of mediocre) so a little short of the mark and kind of scrawny, but its budding out and seems to be doing ok. I bought some kiwis from them 2-3 years ago that were huge but im a little disappointed with this order, but I think itll be ok

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 4:58PM
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alan haigh

When trees are available of types I seek I generally prefer nurseries that produce for commercial growers. Size will fluctuate somewhat depending on previous growing season but I know what's coming ahead of time as they detail sizes in statement before shipping. Quality is always good, besides a few crooked trees, and they are packed beautifully.

Of course, because I order in some quantity, bundles of 5 of each variety, I pay only around $10 a tree- something the likes of Raintree, or Trees of Antiquity won't do for me- although TofA gives me some discount.

The two large nurseries I'm using these days are Adams and Van Well, both of whom sell individual trees to the small grower as well. The trick with such nurseries is to order now for next year so you get what you want. Adams is selling more antique apple varieties every year.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 5:12PM
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To respond to Harvestman's general recommendation of the kind of nurseries that sell to commercial growers, I ordered two or three trees several years ago from C&O and got surprised with various unexpected small order fees that about doubled the cost of the trees over what I was expecting. Those fees might have been in the fine print somewhere and I overlooked them, but I'd be extra careful reading the fine print if I ordered from a nursery that sold mainly to customers not like me.

For a general response to this thread, since last summer I've received orders from Edible Landscaping, Hidden Springs, and Burnt Ridge, each of which I'd dealt with at least a couple times before. I think Burnt Ridge is alright, not great. I'd recommend Edible Landscaping and Hidden Springs very highly. Hidden Springs seems to mostly sell pretty young/small stuff, but they've got great prices, and everything of theirs I've planted has come on strong and done great (which I can't say for some of the larger stuff I've gotten.)

I also ordered tree seed from F W Schumacher, and everything was fine with that order other than a very small small-order fee I wasn't expecting and the order taking about a month longer to arrive than I would have thought reasonable.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 7:11PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I did not have a good experience with C & O and won't order from them again.

Here is a link that might be useful: C & O Nursery..not a good experience

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 1:10AM
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alan haigh

Milehigh, I ordered from C+O for years- mostly to get cherries in gisela root stock but I also ordered certain plums I can't get on the east coast. Their trees always arrived in excellent shape and were of very good size.

Recently they've drastically reduced their selection and are no longer of use to me- I tried Van Well at Opea's suggestion as a replacement source and have not been disappointed.

However, I get my orders in early and I'm not a small customer (except by commercial grower standards) so my experience may be different. I believe that Garden Watchdog gives C+0 a good rating, though.

I would never order from a nursery that doesn't let me know the size of the trees I'm getting ahead of time if I had a choice. In rather extensive experience with stock, I haven't found that smaller trees tend to establish faster at all, and, in fact, I have to baby sit them for an additional year before they are ready to sell. To the home buyer that's the equivalent of waiting an extra year to enjoy a harvest.

As far as nurseries that cater to home growers, I believe if a company sends out mass mailings to sell stuff the expense of said mass mailings generally comes out of the quality and size of their merchandise. Also that you are best off dealing with nurseries that grow their own merchandise. Raintree is an exception to this rule and there are others.

Cummins and Trees of Antiquity are two very good nurseries that produce all their own stock.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 5:31AM
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Ordered apple trees from Orange Pippin, all one year olds not huge of course, but all healthy.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 9:29PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)


Oddly I found that the inventory of Orange Pippin coincided exactly with the inventory of Cummins.


I agree with you regarding mass mailings. In fact I usually refrain from buying from a company that has a really polished website. I hear Grandpa's is good and they have a nice website, so that can't be the only factor, but there is a physical limit to how many varieties can be grown well by a single company.

Cummins and Trees of Antiquity are really up there in quality IMHO.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:58PM
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I ordered from Grandpas twice second time they sent me a Crimson Gold apple instead of a Crimson Crisp apple. They quickly fixed the problem and I got a free tree out of the deal. They seem to have increased their inventory hugely in the past couple of years.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 8:51AM
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I'd like to put in a good word for isons. I placed several orders with them this year and I was impressed. Good source for muscadines, blackberries, and figs.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 9:17AM
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kngskid(Georgia zone 7b)

I am a repeat customer with the five nurseries that sent me very nice trees this year; Ison's, Edible Land, Rraintree, and Bay Laurel. I also ordered from Rolling River and Burnt Ridge this year. I don't care for their tiny trees and probably won't order from either nursery in the future but the tree from Rolling River is thriving and I expect it to do well. Burnt Ridge on the other hand told me to continue to watch the dead trees and completly avoided the fact that they are dead and my request for replacements.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 2:48AM
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alan haigh

Sometimes you have to settle for small trees. When I order nut trees or persimmons from small nurseries such ans England's trees are most likely to be quite small, but I know of no one else that has the varieties they grow.

The reason I ordered a tree from Burnt Ridge was because they carried Calville Blanc and the price was right- but I would have tried to find it elsewhere if I'd known it would be so small.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 5:43AM
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Hi all, finally got in the last trees yesterday.

#1 Arboreum

#2-3 tied Raintree and One Green World

all excellent and healthy trees but the Arboreum root systems were beyond compare. Huge.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 8:11AM
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Burnt Ridge - I ordered 8 fruit trees, 1 was missing and I wasn't charged. Maybe they ran out. Plant quality was good. My sugarcane jujube was almost an inch thick but my silk hope was very small I would order from them again.

Stark bros - same quality as Burnt Ridge. I would order again.

Ison - GREAT plants but small.

Bottom Nursery- bigger and and stronger muscadines.

Edible lanscaping - I picked up my plants there. Plant were very healthy but small.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 11:00AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

It seems overall the mail order nurseries did really well.
I made 2 more orders to One Green World, and the plants are great. No bare root, all actively growing plants, dirt and all, no wilting, large, nice!
Also for 7 dollars I ordered a 2nd Carmine Jewel. A tissue cultured plant was sent by Henry Fields, and we all know this nursery is more for the casual gardener, I must say the tree is excellent. Very impressive.
In a trade I also obtained Cupid and Juliet, very nice and growing well!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 11:40AM
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alan haigh

Mrs. G., what did you get from Arboreum? Seems they carry stuff not tested for our climate but probably some of Scott's favorite peaches.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 12:10PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

I ordered one tree from Arboreum and didn't receive it during the normal planting season, despite numerous emails to them.

I finally did receive the tree. Then a few weeks later received an email asking if I received my tree. I told them I did. Received another email from them a while later telling me the carrier mistakenly sent my tree to Bucyrus, Ohio instead of Bucyrus KS and they couldn't track the tree down. I told them I had already received my tree, but they sent me another one anyway.

I ended up getting both trees in very good condition.

Aboreum gets a "D" in communication, but I give them a "B+" (or even an A-) overall because their stock is very good and they really do try to satisfy their customers in the end. They just need to read their emails.

I ordered just a couple different plums to try from Burnt Ridge. One was OK, but the other had pretty bad damage to the trunk (damage about 2/3 the way through the trunk). Tree did leaf out and is still alive.

I got 25 trees from Adams. They were fine except that one tree had an active crown gall on the roots, which confirmed why I've seen crown gall on some of their trees I've dug up and moved.

I've had a couple bad experiences in the past with C&O and probably won't order from them again. One problem as Milehigh mentioned, is the extra fees they tack on, making their trees expensive. Another issue is that one year they couldn't fill my order because frigid winter weather killed some of their stock. That's understandable, but they kept my deposit money (as a credit to my account) instead of sending it back to me.

This happened once with Arboreum, but like any good business, Arboreum refunded my money to me in the form of a check.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 3:05PM
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H-man, I bought a Chinese 'Shui Mi Tao' Peach and an 'Early Crawford' Peach. I think they'll be fine here. Hope so anyway! Mrs.G

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 8:00PM
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I re-read every review. On line the only nursery I could find that sells 'Calville Blanc d'Hiver' is Orange Pippin USA. It sounds as if Orange Pippin only sells whips is this true? I do not want a whip I want a a three year old tree on dwarf stock. Help! Mrs. G

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 10:08AM
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alan haigh

Trees of Antiquity doesn't sell CV? I know Burnt Ridge does- that's where I got my rooted twig of this variety this year. How bout Cummins?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Mrs G, many places sell Calville Blanc. See the Google search below for lots of them.


Here is a link that might be useful: Calville in Google

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 4:30PM
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Olpea, Could you expand on your problems with C&O?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 11:17AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"Olpea, Could you expand on your problems with C&O?"


I ordered from them a couple times, the last time was 2 or 3 years ago. I don't want to give the impression they were terrible, but I was dissatisfied enough the last time that I probably won't order from them again.

The first time I ordered I discovered after I placed my order they have a big boxing fee. It's been a long time, but I think it was an extra $15. I don't believe any other nursery I do business with charges this random fee if you order at least 3 trees. Additionally I think they charged more for shipping than other nurseries in WA. It significantly increased the cost of my small order. I don't mind occasionally paying a high price for a variety or two that I really want to try, but I like knowing the cost on the front end.

The last time I ordered from them, they had a winter freeze event that apparently killed all their young peach trees. I had already made a deposit on a small peach tree order. They wrote me a letter indicating they couldn't fill my order because the trees died. That's understandable, they couldn't do anything about that, but they kept my deposit money as a credit to my account. I thought that unprofessional and probably a marketing decision by some manager as a "clever" way to insure their customers come back for repeat business. The way they handled that irked me a little.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:33PM
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