Trees: Where to get fruit trees

Cobleskill, NY(Zone 5a)

Where is the best place to get cheap fruit trees. I am in zone 5 and want to start an orchard. Any type is fine.

Princeton, NJ(Zone 6a)

When it comes to fruit trees, cheap usually equals small or inferior quality. Inexpensive improperly cared for fruit trees will have poor root systems and/or a poor graft union and will likely be nothing more than a single stem whip. Your best bet is to check out your local garden centers, alot of them have pretty good sales on nursery stock this time of year.

Circleville, OH(Zone 8b)

I made this mistake this year as well, I bought several small fruit trees with cheep prices. Now I realize it will be several years before these bare fruit. I will pay more next time and save up for bigger trees.Even if it means fewer trees each year. Mike

Cobleskill, NY(Zone 5a)

So What can I expect to pay? Also, what are some good trees for a beginner. We have an existing crabapple tree that came with the house, and I am tempted to go into the adjoining field and dig up wild apple trees. We also just got a baby cherry tree. I am new to trees and would appreciate any info. and tips. How about a pear tree?

Princeton, NJ(Zone 6a)

You can expect to pay on average around $20 per tree if you go the mailorder route which is fine as long as you buy from a reputable nursery. Two that come to mind are Miller's, and Jung's, Fruit trees are best planted in the spring and some nurseries won't even sell them in their fall catalogs.

Whatever type of fruit you choose be prepared to be diligent with a home orchard spray program if you want quality fruit. Some have been successful using natural methods (beneficial insects, etc) but I have no luck with that.

I would say that apples are probably the easiest. Those apples you have in your field are probably wild crabapples and unless you like the fruit, I wouldn't plant them in your yard. There are two types of cherry trees, sour or pie cherries and sweet, generically known as bing cherries. Sour cherries are easier to grow than sweet but I'm not sure what you have.

In any event, fruit trees are not a plant 'em and forget 'em proposition. They require proper pruning, spraying and in the event of cherries, protection from the birds. Dwarf trees will make this job alot easier. My suggestion to you is if your're really serious about fruit trees, go to the library and pick up a few books on home fruit growing and get some of the basics down first. Ortho makes a good series for the beginner. Good Luck!

Silver Springs, NV(Zone 6b)

You might also look at Rodale's Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (either edition), especially if you dislike the idea of potentially unnecessary chemicals or if anyone in your household has asthma, or sensitivity to petrochemicals and pesticides.
Another source potentially is to look at the entries under "fruit trees" or "orchards" on an online site such as, and see if your public library can get any of the ones you are interested in on interlibrary loan.
Also, as a beginner I've found the Reader's Digest Back to Basics book useful; it is at most small/large libraries and sometimes used bookstores. Concise info will give you an idea of some possible trees for your zone, as will your county extension office.
I'm in zone 6 across the continent from you, but you might like to ask someone in your area if they think Manchurian Apricot would do well where you are.
Smaller (12-20') trees are easier to care for, especially as you get older or if you have to do it all yourself without someone to help.
One thing you can do now besides reading and learning the amazing variety of fruit you can grow, and how to care for it, is to look over your land for potential sites (distance from water faucet or other water source is a factor, as is potential future tree growth interference with power/utility/phone lines), and if you are in a stony soil area start digging and destoning the wide deep holes where you plan to put your trees; if you think you might mail order some in the spring do get one of those c. 12" x 18" white plastic pails, as usually mailordered seedlings need their roots refreshed in water for 12-24 hours after shipping and before planting. (In case of an unexpected spring snow storm after mail ordered trees arrive, keep them in an above-freezing location in the deep pail of water until you can plant them.) Remember to dig the holes for the trees at least one foot deeper and one foot wider than you think they need!
One theory behind late summer/very early fall planting in areas where ground doesn't freeze below the top inch or so of soil is that it lets the seedlings establish a better root system before spring energy goes into leaf and branch growth; some people recommend compost mulch and/or straw to help shelter the area around it in winter.
Another thing you might like to consider is bramble fruit (berries), asparagus, and rhubarb as usually you get at least a small crop by the third year, and with fruit trees usually you are waiting until the fifth year.
The more hyperbolic advertising copy in mail order catalog descriptions, the less likely the tree is to survive. Agree with posters that usually it is better to go with a recommended by locals (not related to the owners!) nursery, or major catalog company. I have gotten some less expensive stuff from H.Fields and Gurneys, and if their stuff doesn't grow they will credit account or replace it.
Happy tree growing, and good wishes for your future orchard.

Silver Springs, NV(Zone 6b)

When chosing sites for tree planting, don't forget to keep at least ten feet away from sewer lines or septic lines and tank.
Just noticed your Cobleskill location, and believe there is a major fruit and/or nut tree catalog company situated there; you might want to check under Gardening/Nurseries in your local yellow pages and then take a ride to see the place, especially if they have workshops or information sheets on what grows well in that area and how to care for it. If nothing else, you'll get an idea of the physical reality (size in height, weight, width, root length and width) of different stock offered.

Glen Arm, MD(Zone 7a)

Cost is mostly in relation to the number of trees you want.I buy my trees in lots of no less than 50.You can get a considerable break in prices.50 Golden Delicious on bud 9 rootstock,3/4" caliper,cost me $6.10 apiece.50 Redhaven and 50 Redskin peaches cost $5.70 apiece.60 asian pears,10 each of 6 varieties,cost $6.70 apiece.You can also specify what rootstock you want,which is a plus for zone and soil conditions.I deal with Fowlers Nursery in Calif.,Willow Run in Wash. and Hilltop Nursery,not sure where right now.Ask for a brochure from nurseries that deal mainly with those crops.Most deal in lots as small as 10.Maybe try a co-op with others.Have not had good luck with Starks or Millers.
Most nurseries are helpful with any questions about your specific needs,give them a call.

Princeton, NJ(Zone 6a)

Yes its true everything is cheaper by the dozen so to speak, but unless your're planting an orchard, the average homeowner has no use for 50 or 60 trees, even ten is pushing it. Add to that the daunting task of trying figure out which rootstock you want and I think its just too much for the novice to have to deal with. About a half dozen or so of carefully chosen dwarf or semi dwarf trees is about all that is needed to keep the backyard gardener in fruit all season.

Vinita, OK(Zone 6b)

I purchased four apple trees from Starks catalog last fall. Their service was outstanding -- my trees arrived in under a week, prepruned, very well packaged, with concise planting instructions & they were very well-grown 4' (after pruning) trees. The price was reasonable, but certainly not cheap. I hope to start seeing fruit in two years. I do agree that the more reading you do, the better off you'll be with any type of fruit.

lowell, MA(Zone 6b)

I had a problem ordering a fruit cocktail tree from Four seasons nursery. It has never grown. It still looks like a dead branch. When I wanted a replacement, they want the original shipping label sent with the tree.
Why not just send me back a receipt so I can be assured I won't get ripped off. I sent them a bank statement of the online transaction. Do you think I'll get a replacement tree next spring or just a song & dance from them.

South Point, OH(Zone 6a)

Try the C& O Nursery, they have a special internet offer of any 3 fruit trees for just $29.95 - plus shipping & handling.

They sent me impressive looking trees - Rainer Cherry, Sunglo Apricot & Shiro Plum in 2001. They are doing well, but no fruit yet.

L.A. (Canoga Park), CA(Zone 10a)

My grandparents lived in zone 5 of Pennsylvania and they had fruit trees. After my grandpap died, the trees were pretty much left to fend for themselves. The most productive and pest-free where the pear trees, so I would assume that they are very easy to grow. Some apple varieties were really prone to worms, but "yellow transparent" and "Baldwin" did pretty well. Cherries were good some years, but you have to protect them from the birds.

Shipshewana, IN(Zone 5b)

Yeah, My neighbors down the road have two pear trees in their front yard. They arnt gardners they dont even mow thier lawn!! The pear trees look like they are doing just fine. Also, my neighbor nextdoor has an apple tree the branches out into my backyard. That house is full of a bunch of early twentys aged guys. I dont think they even know what a plant is. Anyways, there apple tree is splendid.

Louisville, KY

Meghan, What kind of space do you have for fruit trees? There is a wonderful Nursery in NC where you can order Heirloom Apple Trees. I am listing below the varieties they carry and descriptions and history of same. Enjoy!

Bensenville, IL(Zone 5a)

Meghan, National Arbor is a good place, they're an organization has all kinds of info. Denise

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

One company that seems to sell "cheap" trees and maintain a good reputation with their customers is Vernon Barnes & Sons. I've never ordered from them (I'd always been scared off by the specter of "cheap=inferior" problems), but after seeing the customer reviews in the Watchdog, I think I'll at least get a catalog, as I'm in the market for some small-ish trees this year:

Toledo, IA(Zone 4a)

HI--- if its where you can see the trees get there as early in the year as possible and look at all the trees of the kind you want and pick the best ones ---i dont care how cheap there are those with good strong roots and thriving limbs just get there soon after they are put on display--ask the employees when they are going to be coming ahd bee watching---bare root are always a greater gamble but are the same story the upper end of the tree tells a lot about the bottom commonly--the difference between a fifteen dollar and ninety dollar tree is significant but if you look at both places the more expensive has some trees at ninety dollars that are by far worse than the best twelve or fifteen dollar trees offered at the discount place---selection is often an issue with the high dollar places but the discount place may have what you want--looookkkkkkkk-- be blessed--stevo

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