Ordered several trees over a year ago and one peach tree did not survive. I waited till other trees leafed to be sure it was dead and that made it a couple months past their 12 month warranty. Based on other comments I was afraid they would not want to honor the warranty but I had no problem. Since they were busy during the spring it took a while to get a response but then they processed a replacement order with no problem.
We have a small orchard (about 200 trees) and have been buying trees by Mail order and then online for about 45 years. I have gone through about every major nursery and learned a lot. I had not ordered from Starks for a long time so I thought I would try them again last year.
Just so everyone understands my unique situation. We had the coldest winter in our history two years ago and our coldest February in history this last winter along with cooler than normal summers so this has been very difficult on all orchards in Michigan. We also live in a strange Micro-Environment. We have a University of Michigan weather station 8 miles away and they have completely different weather than we do here in Capac.
I ordered a Spring Satin Plumcot, Green Gage Plum, Shiro Plum, Bubble Gum Plum and the Cream of the Crop Peach tree collection.
I was very disappointed when they arrived. The Plums were ok but the ‘Professional Pruning was just taking off every limb and cutting to 4’ so they fit in the box. The Peach collection had to have been a mistake. I only order Supreme so they were supposed to be 4’ tall with a minimum 5/8” trunk. They were about 3’ tall and the diameter of a pencil. Plus they were clearly in poor condition.
I planted them the day they arrived and the Green gage started growing within a week. The Shiro and Bubble Gum plum had very limited leave but no growth. The peaches were a total loss. Some had tiny hair-like leaves come out for about 3 days then turn jet black like they were burned by fire. The only one that had leaves was the Elberta Queen but it never leafed out this spring and it was past the warranty.
One the plus side they replaced all but the Elberta Queen without any hassle and the ones they replaced them with were in fact 4’ but still no limbs.
Due to the service I gave them another shot this year. I ordered a Golden Delicious, Candy Crisp apples, Harglow Apricot, Elberta Queen, Flamin’ Fury Jumbo Peaches, Royal Giant, Sunglow Nectarines, Elephant Heart Plum and six jewel Raspberries.
I have several Golden Delicious trees but know the only true ones come from StarkBros so you would think they would send out their best. In fact it was in the poorest condition and still has not started growing as of the 4th of July.
Most of the other trees are going well except for the Elberta Queen which has not produced a single leaf, the harglow Apricot, Sunglo Nectarine and the Burbank July Elberta Peach (replacement for last years).
I am still leaning toward Starks as my go-to but since I am in my 60s a lost year is annoying at best. I may upgrade this review depending on what happens next spring. I also use two other nurseries. They have different issues but I got 100% good trees from both of them this year.
One last note; That Green gage is a freak. It’s 6’ foot tall and has limbs growing 3’ out! It may become my favorite tree when it starts producing.
Gardening requires faith and responsibility. Stark has both, especially with their product and customer service. I urge you negative "gardeners" to exercise a little faith and responsibility, for your own good. This site isn't the place to debate your issue with the company. Pick up the phone and call or move along.
I have several years, past and recent, of positive experiences ordering with this company. Sure, their boxes don't say THIS END UP, but our friends in the delivery trucks don't mind that anyway do they? Sure, much of their product is pruned prior to shipping. It can't be to fit in those (spacious) boxes, but it is to balance the tree tops with the disturbed root system. Any gardener who isn't blinded by victim-rage knows this is important. It doesn't hinder growth and performance in the least.
If you have 100% mortality rate on anything, it's time to take responsibility and call a spade a spade. If you can manage to receive plants with dry roots in a package with wet paper inside, consider that you might be a wizard. If you wait for a clearance sale and complain about availability, I want to meet you because you make me laugh. If real-life gardening is too real for you, they have an app for that.
Just so I don't seem like a Stark BRO, I will say Stark could improve in their communications to customers when things are not going to ship as planned. I am a gardener, which means I'm the most patient person on the planet next to a mortician, but it's easier to rest easy if I know about the occasional delay or unexpected change to my order.
Stark, you have always been a pleasure to work with even when things don't go perfectly. It's gardening. Anyone who expects perfection has got the wrong idea in the first place.
Toddott Kentwood, MI (Zone 5b) (18 reviews) June 27, 2015
Posted on June 19, 2015, updated June 27, 2015
I order from dozens of companies. All of the plants I order survived, except those from Stark\'s. Raspberries, Gooseberries, Pear Trees. None thrived the year planted. All died the next year. The pear trees had been \"pruned\" by their professional staff before being sent. The branches had all been cut completely off, leaving two inch stubs. They claim this is good for the trees. It wasn\'t good for mine. I waited all summer, but it never did sprout. Bought a male and female Paw Paw. One died. Not sure which one. Rasberries...dead. Gooseberries (a plant I thought impossible to kill)...dead.
Never had this problem with any other companies. Bought cherry trees, apple trees, currants, peach trees, gooseberries, honeyberries, etc. and all survived...100 percent survival.
I ordered a raspberry and they sent the wrong variety. They immediately corrected the problem...but both the correct and incorrect raspberry died. I have dozens of other raspberry plants and all thrive. On June 27th, 2015, Toddott added the following:
They are sorry I'm having trouble with my bare root raspeberry and suggested I try a different location. Uh...it's dead. I don't think a new location will help. It arrived not as a bare root, but as a "barley" root. As for pruning the tree to balance the leaf and root, if the tree had any decent root system, pruning (butchering) would not need to be so severe. none of the other companies I order from butcher their trees and yet they seem to be the healthy trees.
They suggested contacting customer service. Are they going to send me new trees or just suggest I plant them in a new location?Company representative comment on June 26, 2015: On Jun 26, 2015 12:18 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here regarding your bare-root raspberry plants, gooseberries and other fruit trees. We take all reviews to heart, as this is our opportunity to improve our service and your experience going forward.
We professionally pre prune our trees because the digging process can break many of the tree’s feeder roots. The result? An imbalance may occur between the huge top growth and the roots’ ability to support it.This imbalance can heighten the effects of natural transplant shock. Pre-pruning our bare root fruit trees brings the balance between the roots & top growth back into proportion… ensuring the best chance for survival and transplant success. After pre-pruning, the growth will bounce right back once the root system is firmly established!
If you are still having issues getting your bare root raspberries started we suggest that you consider a new planting location. And I encourage you to reach out to customer support so that they can further assess your situation to see what can be done to help you.
Posted on April 1, 2015, updated June 25, 2015
Posted on August 25, 2014, updated April 1, 2015
Posted on August 16, 2014, updated August 25, 2014
I desperately want to like this company and be a regular customer of Stark Brothers. Everything in their catalog looks so tantalizing and they offer so many varieties at the click of a mouse, but my experience with them has been all bad. I have planted pear, apple, nut, and cherry trees under ideal growing conditions and had a 100% mortality rate. Something is wrong. The trees do fine the first summer, leaf out the second spring, then die the second summer in spite of adequate rainfall and watering and 2 summers that haven\\\\\\\'t been very hot. I spray consistently. I am losing the trees too late to take advantage of their satisfaction guarantee policy of 1 year.I have written to the company and recieved a prompt response but a very defensive one. Companion trees purchased at Lowe\\\\\\\'s are flourishing next to the dead Stark Brothers trees. I really don\\\\\\\'t believe that the cold winter or my gardening practices are responsible for 100% mortality for Starks and 0 % for Lowe\\\\\\\'s. Apple trees that won\\\\\\\'t grow in the Blue Ridge mountains? A lilac shrub I bought from (tiny, tiny) died as well. Be prepared to be disappointed and waste your money and precious time when ordering from this company. I am very sorry to say this, but it is what happened to me.On August 25th, 2014, tooner2 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Since I posted my negative review on this site, Stark Brothers has been trying to work with me. They have offered to refund or replace the trees. I am going to accept 2 trees, plant them in pots, give them extra attention, and see if I can get them to live and grow over the next year. Will change the review to positive if that works. On April 1st, 2015, tooner2 changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
I can report that the apple tree replacement is sending out shoots from below the graft and nothing else so far. I have photos I\'d like to have attached showing the difference between the replacement cherry tree I received from Stark Brothers and the new cherry I ordered from Willis Brothers. Wow, what a difference in both top growth and root system! Stark Brothers continues to be a disappointment. It\'s good that they sent the replacement, but the poor quality of it makes me change my rating back to negative. I\'m finished with this company for good. On June 25th, 2015, tooner2 added the following:
The company has never responded to my last email about the unsuitability of their replacment tree. Before ordering fruit trees from them understand this, the tree will die, likely during the second growing season. If you complain, the replacement tree they send you will also die. In the meantime you will have lost precious growing seasons. This company is not what it used to be. Company representative comment on August 20, 2014: On Aug 20, 2014 11:56 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here regarding your fruit trees. We apologize that you feel dissatisfied with the response from our customer support manager regarding our limited warranty. Our Promise of Satisfaction states that you are eligible for a free one-time replacement -- or a refund of your full purchase price (if you don't want a replacement) -- as long as it is requested within a year of delivery.
Our customer support manager will reach out to you again after she further assesses the situation and gets a clearer view of the issue. We look forward to hearing from you.
flame7749 Bowling Green, KY (1 review) June 25, 2015
Stark Bros. use to be a great company with great plants. They must have changed management or something.
In the past 3 years I have consistently gotten trees, vines and bushes from them with the roots dried out. The bare root plants come with the roots tied up with plastic and wet material around them however during shipping the boxes are always turned upside down and the packing falls off. I have complained to them several times and the same thing happens. They do replace the plant free if it doesn't live however the second plant is shipped the same way and it gets you a year behind even if the second plant lives. If the second plant doesn't live you have to reorder the plant at cost, they did offer free shipping on the one pant, but would not take the shipping cost of the one plant off of the next order even though it was a big order so I canceled it. It seems to me that someone would correct this. I contacted a representative by phone, and she was not helpful nor very sympathetic to the fact that there plants are poorly packed and refused to let me speak to a manager. She told me that she would have a manager call me, but that never happened, I have waited a month before writing this to see if someone would call back.
Also to make matters worse, their "free professional pruning" consist of cutting off the roots and top of the plant to make it fit a box. Not just a few roots but major roots. It is a shame because the plants look like they were great size and healthy and the solution is simple, management needs to make sure the plants are trimmed and packed properly.
I probably won't order from them again.Company representative comment on June 26, 2015: On Jun 26, 2015 11:39 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here. We are very sorry that you did not receive a response from the customer support manager regarding your frustration and disappointment with the level of service you were provided. Your issue has been forwarded on and our customer support manager to reach out to you after your situation has been assessed.
We ordered a set of 10 asparagus roots. After following the enclosed directions, only 4 sprouts had emerged after 3.5 weeks. Since those that had emerged were a 1 foot or taller, we had concerns that the rest were not viable. I contacted Stark Bros. via their online chat at their website. We had the problem solved and a new set of 10 roots on the way in less than 30 minutes. The roots arrived on schedule, and after soaking and planting almost all of the new 10 roots have sent up stalks. We are very happy with their customer service! Prompt, friendly and helpful.
My review is based upon Stark Bros.' customer service and business practices. I only actually received one peach tree from them and I just planted it, so I have no comments yet on their products.
My experience- I ordered two peach trees from this company during their end of season clearance. One peach tree was on sale at half price, and one was at full price.
Well of course the half price item was out of stock (even though the website still let me order it). However, the company never notified me of this fact in any way, nor gave me the option to cancel my order.
Before I knew it, the full price item was shipped alone at the FULL shipping cost of BOTH trees.
I contacted a representative by phone, and she was neither helpful nor very sympathetic to the fact that any good company would have contacted me regarding the cancellation of my sale priced item in order to give me the opportunity to cancel the remainder of my order before it shipped.
Based upon this experience, I do not recommend anyone buy from this company, and I will not order from this company or any related company again.
I will update this review should the company offer any sort of sympathetic response or at least a refund of my shipping costs.Company representative comment on June 26, 2015: On Jun 26, 2015 2:51 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here. We take all reviews to heart, as this is our opportunity to improve our service and your experience going forward. Our goal at Stark Bro's. is to provide healthy, viable trees and plants and provide an exemplary level of customer service.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find your account so that I could ask our customer support manager to assess your situation. I ask that you allow us another opportunity to rectify this situation by either contacting customer support directly or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please mention this review when you contact customer support.
I ordered 3 of their All In One Almond trees last year. They shipped right out, and arrived looking good. All three started leafing, but then 2 just shut down. Sad. I let them know, and they scheduled me 2 replacements for this year.
This year, the one from last year woke up fine, and the 2 replacements arrived, leafed out, and look good. Very happy.
Ordered multiple varieties of strawberry plants (150 plants total) that were received promptly. Within one week, all 150 bare root plants had leaves and several weeks later all 150 are doing well and growing vigorously. Very happy with the quality of the plants so far, the ease of ordering, and prompt delivery.
I highly recommend this company: great products and great customer service. Last year I bought 3 trees there and 2 are doing very well. The 3rd one was not. When I called in, the rep was very nice to talk to and quickly set up a replacement. I supposed to received the replacement yesterday. Unfortunately, FedEx lost my replacement. I called in this morning, the rep checked and set up 2nd replacement!! What a great company!
Posted on June 8, 2015, updated June 8, 2015
Posted on June 8, 2015, updated June 8, 2015
I absolutely LOVE Stark Bro\\\'s!! So far I\\\'ve ordered 20 berry plants and seven fruit trees and will definitely be ordering more in future years. This is my go-to nursery and I only buy from others if they don\\\'t have something I\\\'m looking for. I would definitely recommend this nursery, the costumer service is outstanding and the website is VERY well organized and easy to navigate.On June 8th, 2015, MeganRoseMcLain added the following:
I should also add that the shipping is very fast and all my plants are thriving!!On June 8th, 2015, MeganRoseMcLain added the following:
I should also add that the shipping is very fast and all my plants are thriving!!
Dexterity Lake Hiawatha, NJ (1 review) June 3, 2015
I purchased 4 blueberry bushes, fertilizers, coco bricks and two apple trees in November 2014. They were planted per stark brothers instructions.
I contacted them around 1/28/15 and complained early on that a few of the bushes looked dead. They said, it sounded like they died back and to give it until spring. I contacted them again in early April and didnt get a response until May 7th.
I explained the bush is still dead and there is an issue with my golden delicious apple tree. Again, emails have been ignored and I am being ripped off. I have sent pictures, numerous emails and no one responds.
The ones that died are the cross pollinators I need.
I was a repeat customer. Left yelp review and filed complaint with BBB. Cnat issue a chargeback because too much time passed.Company representative comment on June 4, 2015: On Jun 4, 2015 9:21 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here. We are very sorry that you did not receive an email response regarding your blueberry bushes that failed to live. Customer support did respond to your email request to replace your banana plant but must have over looked your blueberry request this spring.
We are very sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you. Your blueberry plants are still covered by our limited warranty and can be replaced if you'd like.
Our customer support manager will reach out to you after she further assesses the situation and gets a clearer view of the issue.
I've been ordering from Stark Bros. for a few years now ... Ive had more success with their plants then most other mail order places I've tried ...and I gave up on Walmart , big box store trees long ago ( all diseased ) .... I can't afford Stark's cherry trees but I have gotten nice peach and apple trees from them ... I have bought " blight resistant " pear trees from them but they have all succumbed to fire blight here in MO. I didn't write to them about the 2 Maxine "stark delicious " pear trees dieing on me because I reckon that this area might just be a bad place to try and grow pears . I don't think the fire blight was Stark's fault .. . I bought a Carpathian walnut tree from them that never sproated a single leaf , and a plum tree died on me this year but Stark replaced them without a problem ..... their replacement policy is trouble free and makes them a safe bet to buy from ...... yes, their pruning is extreme , to fit it in a long rectangle box but I'd rather start out with a nice straight , solid-trunked tree right at the get-go instead of dealing with some crooked twisted spindly thing that some other places send you .... all of my Stark trees have grown nice branches in no time and have become attractive trees that didn't need too much in the way of staking or corrective action . I like Stark Bros. and I'll keep buying from them for sure .
I ordered a contender peach tree and some guards from stark bros after some hesitation from reading reviews over the web. However, since most of their competitors had a deadline for spring ordering (that i had missed by less than a week) I decided to roll the dice.
I received my order a few days later with everything I ordered in the box and alive. I tested my soil's moisture level and pH level based on their instructions (and the instructions on almanac.com) and planted my tree. It's been a few weeks now and the tree is doing great! It's budding well and quickly. Now, I really can't tell you if it's what I ordered until it grows a peach, but I am very happy so far.
If I did have some constructive criticism, I would encourage Stark Bros to add a 'this side up' arrow to their boxes, when I received my box it was upside down and all the wet shredded papers were everywhere but around the roots. If I had to guess, I would think bags aren't sealed to prevent plant suffocation, So I think an arrow would help a lot.
But all in all, it was a great experience and I would definitely order any plants I can't get locally from them!
I had ordered trees from Stark. Upon opening the box, found all four were placed into an unsealed plastic bag, two without any material around the roots, one with moist paper around roots and one actually potted up. The two trees without any material around the root system appeared dead, but I planted them. No leaves, no buds. The other two that were properly shipped have leafed out. I tried contacting the company three times by email and have had no response. I would like a refund for the dead trees; I know dead when I see it. I have many, many years experience planting trees and transplanting trees. What I would like is some kind of a response from the company. I would never order from them again.Company representative comment on June 4, 2015: On Jun 4, 2015 10:07 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here. We are very sorry to hear that you are claiming that you did not receive our email responses.
Our email history shows that customer support team received an email on 4/3/2015 and our customer support manager responded with a call to action on 4/9/2015. Another email was received on 5/15/2015 by you and customer support responded on 5/20/2015 asking for more information.
Your email response that was received on 5/29/2015 has not been responded to but will be addressed today by our customer support manager.
Posted on May 7, 2015, updated May 21, 2015
Outrageous customer service! I put in an order back in April, which arrived, and I quickly planted the trees. A week later I got an email from them telling me that my order was on its way! It turns out a second order had been entered into their system using my credit card. On the phone with the customer rep she made it seem as if it was my fault! Why would I make the same exact order twice within a couple weeks? The solution? I have to sit at home all day Saturday waiting for the FedEx truck to get here, refuse the delivery, then wait for Stark to figure things out and reverse the charge on my credit card. Absolutely insane! Will never do business with them again because (1) their credit card security measures are obviously inadequate, or their Web site has some major problems and (2) blame the customer for what was obviously a screw-up on their end, then ask me to fix it for them? Ludicrous.On May 21st, 2015, furrybill2000 added the following:
So as it turns out you can call FedEx to refuse a shipment and have it turned around from wherever it might be. No need to sit at home all day Saturday...Stark may want to update their customer service rep training to reflect this...
Once Stark knew the package had been refused they refunded my money, have to give them credit for that.
Then I got an email telling me I was getting a $25 certificate for my next order. Today a catalog arrived with the certificate. Knowing that I won't do business with them any more and knowing that they would continue to kill trees by sending me endless catalogs, I called to delete the account. I was told that this is not possible. Yes, they will stop sending catalogs [doubtful] but they REFUSE to delete my personal information from their database.
Plus ca change...Company representative comment on May 8, 2015: On May 8, 2015 10:07 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here regarding your recently shipped orders. We take all reviews to heart, as this is our opportunity to improve our service and your experience going forward.
Our customer support manager will reach out to you after she further assesses the situation and gets a clearer view of the issue. We look forward to hearing from you.
I ordered from Stark Bros. because of the generally positive reviews here on Dave's Garden. I have had many bad experiences with mail order garden suppliers and am very leery of ordering by mail.
So far, I'm impressed. When I got the plants, I had the same reaction as many others. I ordered 50 bare-root strawberry plants and 5 bare-root raspberry canes. The strawberries looked barely alive and the raspberries looked completely dead. I'm not new to this, so I was mildly concerned, but not alarmed. I know life can spring from dead-looking things.
The plants came well packaged, with good instructions on how to prepare and plant them. Unfortunately, life intervened and I was not able to plant them until nearly two week later. I was sure I would lose most if not all of them.
That's not what happened. Everyone single one of those plants has not just survived, but thrived. The strawberries were sending out leaves less than 48 hours after I put them in the ground! The raspberries, which were just little sticks with dry looking roots, are growing so vigorously, I may have a small crop of raspberries THIS season!
Moreover, I find their website to be one the best, most information resources on the internet. They are constantly updating it with useful information. I will definitely be ordering from this company again. Thanks to the other Dave's Garden readers that took the time to share their experiences.
I ordered from Stark last year and the trees came through wonderfully. However they didn't make it through the winter and I contacted them and they promptly sent replacements! I will continue to order from them and recommend them to anyone else who wants what they offer.
Have ordered from this company two years now, bare-root, as well as potted. When ordering from them, I have learned that a couple of plants won't make it, so I tend to order a couple more of each. When I have contacted customer service, they are pleasant to work with and will reimburse up to one time for any plants that don't make it.
I ordered plants from Exciting Gardens on April 11, and I ordered from Burpee and Stark on April 24th. Stark promptly shipped my order (within three days), and the plants arrived packed nicely, and looking quite healthy. Was able to get everything in the ground right away, just in time for warmer weather and a rainy week. Buds are developing on my trees, and strawberries are leafing out nicely, already. Quite pleased with both the shipping speed, and condition of the plants/trees. Have also ordered in the past from Stark, with no problems. (True that trees' branches are mostly removed; but they seem to branch out just fine afterward.) My orders from the other two companies still haven't shipped--I'm hoping they decide to before we start getting hot, dry weather. I will order from Stark again, in the future.
I've just planted them, so hopefully they grow it it turns out ok in the end. I like the varieties of fruit trees available, but the "professional pruning" is a horrible misnomer! The trees were not pruned! The branches were all cut off. I bought 8 bare root fruit trees, 3 of them have 3-4 branches about 3 inches long, the other trees were straight sticks. On the website they say something like: "don't worry about pruning during the first year, we've taken care of that." All they have done is make the trees branchless and easy to ship. 9 trees, 3 grape plants and 24 raspberry plants were jammed into two 9 x 9 inch boxes. No branches at all. I even ordered the "supreme" trees, wanting to get these things growing as quick as I can. This whole first year will be used to try to get a few branches on, which I will then need to prune to what it was supposed to be like upon arrival. Super lame. My suggestion: shop elsewhere.
bckkiller1 Lexington, VA (3 reviews) April 20, 2015
I have no problem with this company who ships appropriately sized bare root product and anyone who calls them a stick thinks that's Lowes root bound trees are a good product.
Stark ships timely and provides a good product and I have never had a problem with their one year gurantee. I have had great experience with customer service and good luck with their online question forum.
If I had to list one negative is that once I ordered a thornless boysenberry to get one with thorns and then have their customer support tell me they didn't sell a thornless one until I had them google it and there name was first in the product line. Other than that beautiful experience witll well packed and dampened trees. I have only ever ordered fruit trees from them and I have 41 standard fruit trees of which they make up about half as they have a decent selection
I've had nothing but great experiences with Stark Brothers. My great grandfather planted the old family orchard through them almost 100 years ago and today I'm proud to use them for the vast majority of my trees and plants.
I've had issues getting many things to take root and survive and without even an ounce of doubt, they quickly ship replacements for me. There have been times, while frustrating, that orders have been delayed due to weather or inventory issues, but they always have the best interests of the plant at heart. Sometimes I get impatient but they are delaying it to make certain I have the best chance of the plant surviving. As I write this I'm looking forward to receiving more plants form them this wekeend and planting those.
Stark Brothers is reliable and stand by their products. Every single time I've had them not survive within that first year, they are happy to send a replacement no questions asked. Their customer support and guidance is top notch as well.
Also check out their blog as it has lots of cool articles in it.
I ordered a dwarf meyer lemon tree toward the end of this winter. I was told it would ship on March 22. It did not ship. I called the company and was told it would ship on March 31, due to weather conditions in my area (I am located on Long Island in New York). I can understand that of course, as we had a harsh winter. But now it's a normal spring temperature and Stark continues to use temperature as an excuse. I emailed the company and was told it would ship early this week and I'd have an email confirmation informing me. Nothing. I called 2 days ago to check the order status and was told it would ship yesterday and I'd have an email confirmation yesterday to inform me, and the customer service person guaranteed it would be shipping yesterday. Obviously it did not. I have heard several times recently that this is how Stark has been conducting their business. 4 times they changed my delivery date? Not acceptable, and each time I speak with them, they act like I'm the one who is wrong. There are no excuses now - the temperatures are fine for shipping the plants, and I have already decided that whether the plant is in good condition or not upon arrival (if ever), I will never be placing another order with Stark again, nor will I recommend this company to anyone else. This is among the worst customer service I've experienced, and I have ordered trees/plants online before from other companies and have been satisfied.
PoorWolf Melody Hill, IN (2 reviews) April 8, 2015
After a physical condition limited my gardening ability and budget, I was able to justify one more order from Stark. I ordered 6 dwarf supreme fruit trees, with the website stating professional pruning was included as a free service. After several years of buying from Stark with great satisfaction, what I received were 6 odd "clubs". Dwarf Supreme is described as 4-5ft stock, professionally trimmed, what I received were best described as clubs, 2-3 ft bare root, trunk only, with all branches cut to the trunk. Disappointed after years of satisfaction, I called to complain, and to their credit, Stark Bros immediately reshipped the entire order, but out of 6 trees again only 1 had any branches, and out of 4 branches 2 were broken off. With a scratch test, most seem to have promise of survival, but it will be at least 4 to 5 years for them to have any sort of branching structure, let alone blooming or any fruit production. The trees were literally pruned to death, seemed that 6 trees had all possible branches cut off only to fit into 1 box, rather than ship in two or three boxes. I spoke to Carla, a polite, most helpful customer service employee that reshipped the order and I received it in only 3 days, but again, pruned to death, with 6 trees received and only 1 with any sort of branch structure. It was easily seen that several large branches had been cut off each tree, apparently with a SawsAll, to fit the entire order in one box, leaving a 2 1/2 ft bare root tree with an also trimmed 3-4inch trimmed root structure just buzzed off. I hate so much to leave a negative review of Stark Brothers after years of doing business, but feel the need to urge others to not put on their boots and be ready to plant their order when it's received. I have 5 trees in the ground that seemed to be ready to plant, and the rest are in flower pots on my patio to be pampered and encouraged to grow, not what I expected for "Dwarf Supreme" prices from Stark Brothers. A few are trying to break dormancy, with small buds, but the rest show no promise after a week in ground. I hope for the best, and can't complain about customer service, but I strongly urge Stark Brothers to STOP the drastic pruning, and ship in 2 or 3 boxes if necessary, just to send products worthy of their name.
I've ordered from Stark's 3 times now, once back when it was Miller Nursery. I've had really good communication and good to excellent quality plants each time.
I've had two problems with them: shipping, which as another reviewer mentioned, you can simply request for them to ship later and they will, and raspberry canes.
I ordered raspberries last year, and as dormant plants do, they looked like dead sticks. Planted them, got a few leaves, and then really heavy rain. I have clay soil...They drowned. I called and Stark's sent me more. I attempted again, and dug them all up after 6 weeks. In my terrible soil, the roots had turned to mush. Lesson learned: select plants suitable to your soil type! The only raspberries I have success with here is potted ones.
However, roses are notably finicky and I ordered a Peace Rose off my first order (2011). She is still with me, through TWO replantings due to moving. Bloomed nonstop from May til October this past year. I ordered more roses last year, and despite my dog digging them up and shaking them all over the yard, they went crazy and took off upon replanting.
My new order was a Key Lime Tree, two Cranberry bushes, and a Forest Pansy Redbud. The Lime is way bigger than I expected, and thorned me good getting out of the package. I had no idea it would have thorns, but it looks awesome. The cranberries are potted nicely and seem vigorous. The Redbud is 4' tall but not overly leggy like Big Box store plants. I cannot wait to see it bloom. It is starting to bud already and I hope a late frost doesn't do in the beautiful flowers it is promising.
Stark is now the my preferred company to order from, it just makes life easier. Here's what I've experienced- they have a great variety, their prices are reasonable, the quality is exceptional, and their service is amazing. Almost everything I've ordered from them was healthy and sprung to life after planting, and those that didn't- just give them a call and they'll send a replacement without any hassle. Last year a dwarf peach tree didn't make it, I called and they said a new one would be shipped next season- but they only had that version in standard this year, and Brenda sent me an email about it, and without any fuss added a different variety dwarf (that I liked) to my incoming order this year.
Also, I still have 10" of snow on my property, (plus my land is prone to flooding in early March) so I emailed them and asked to push the shipment date later- again, Brenda responded and pushed the date to April without any hassle. To the complainers here- they can't know your local conditions all over the country- talk to them, believe me, I have, and they have NEVER given me a problem. Again, these are living products, if some die, TALK TO THEM before getting angry, my experience is they want to help.
cjparker Kennewick, WA (Zone 7a) (11 reviews) March 14, 2015
Posted on April 11, 2013, updated March 14, 2015
I have ordered twice a year now from Stark for the past 3 years. Each item I\'ve received is doing fine! I got raspberries the first year I planted the canes, the peach trees are full of blossoms, the Honeycrisp apple tree is growing like mad, the blackberries have come up strong and healthy, and the 2 in 1 plum and 2 in 1 cherry have grown more than expected. I am delighted with the quality of my plants and look forward to reaping the harvest when the trees are mature enough to set fruit. My plants have all arrived in excellent condition, healthy and strong.On March 14th, 2015, cjparker added the following:
As always, another great experience ordering from Stark Bros. My mini-orchard is in full bud, and all trees are beautiful and healthy. Great communications.
cajunmark Denham Springs, LA (1 review) March 14, 2015
I live near Baton Rouge, Louisiana where the weather can be rather intense in the summer. I ordered 11 different fruit and nut trees from Stark Brothers in the spring of 2013. Everything was fine until i planted these plants in the ground. i followed all the directions but i think the heat and humidity from Louisiana got the best of these plants. Of the 11 plants only 3 are left and 2 are barely surviving. My brother planted one of the apple trees across town and it is doing well. I dont know that it is Starks fault or just the area that i live in.
Be careful if you live in a weather environment like central Louisiana.
Here's a list of the plants and their status:
Stark Kwik-Krop Walnut - Dead
Starkrimson Sweet Cherry Semi-Dwarf - Dead
Starkspur Red Rome Beauty Apple Dwarf - Ok
Starkspur Red Rome Beauty Apple Semi-Dwarf - Struggling
Wilson Delicious Apricot Standard - Dead
Stark SweetHeart Apricot Standard - Dead
Burbank July Elberta Peach Standard Supreme - Dead
Readhaven Peach Standard Supreme - Dead
Concord Seedless Grape - Dead
Stark Bountiful Butternut - Barely Alive
Dwarf Banana - Ok
I didn't contact Stark to complain or get my money back because i felt it was the harsh weather hear the did in my plants.
Javerezii Lady Lake, FL (3 reviews) February 28, 2015
Nice people. Wonderful trees. Good service. Fair price. What else could I ask for. Thanks, J.A.jr
I will never order from these people again, I ordered two elderberries, which they shipped OVER A MONTH before my planting season. When I contacted them to complain they condesendingly informed me they "shipped at the proper planting time for your area and if you can't plant dorment plants can be safely stored in your garage".
It wasnt "proper planting time" a little clue there is how none of the three other nurseries I had orders in with have shipped yet and the plants were NOT dorment. The plants themselves seem fine but the customer service here and level of common sense is vile.Company representative comment on February 13, 2015: On Feb 13, 2015 2:50 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here regarding your elderberry plants that were recently shipped. We take all reviews to heart, as this is our opportunity to improve our service and your experience going forward.
Our customer support manager will reach out to you after she further assesses the situation and gets a clearer view of the issue. We look forward to hearing from you.
I've never had one second's trouble from Stark Brothers. I have had a couple of trees that didn't make it and both times they sent replacements without any trouble at all, shipped free.
I recommend Stark Brothers nursery without reservation.
josh72 Three Rivers, MI (1 review) December 20, 2014
I was a little surprised to see the number of negative reviews for Stark Bros given my extremely positive experience. I have tried ordering from several nurseries thinking I could get as good of quality at a lower price and ended up coming back to Stark Bros every time. I have ordered everything from blueberries, grapes, and raspberries, to fruit, nut, and flowering landscape trees. I can't say that I have had one bad experience and have been delighted with the quality of product I received. I don't waste my time with other nurseries anymore.
I have purchased many plants from Stark Brothers nursery with great satisfaction. I would recommend them to anyone. Plants are always well packed and delivered in a timely manner by FedEx. I have been very pleased with the instructions and the results. They are without a doubt my go to plant company.
troman1973 Bellwood, NE (Zone 5a) (8 reviews) July 28, 2014
I wouldnt have posted negative other than the customer service I received at the end. I ordered a Cherry Tree, A locust and 6 raspberry plants. The trees came healty enough, a bit small for the price I paid, the both of my trees are alive and seem healthy. That is all I ask from mail order I dont expect huge trees.
What I am disppointed in is the raspberries they came looking very dead, but I know with raspberries they can look like that but spring back to life when planted. So I planted the first 6 and nothing came up. I called back they said they would replace them. They did, but when I got the 6 new raspberries they looked just as dead, but I planted them any ways because I really wanted them. This time I waited over 2 months and nothing. I didnt expect ALL of them to grow but out of the 12 I got, I thought maybe ONE would have made it. I called customer service to see what could be done and was told fairly rudely that was all that could be done. So i have 12 dead sticks that I paid for. The money was not that great but it was idea that you can send someone dead stuff twice and not stand behind it. I told them I had planned on putting in future orders with the company but now I will not because I cant trust what I will get and they dont stand behind it. Company representative comment on July 28, 2014: On Jul 28, 2014 1:44 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here regarding your bare-root raspberry plants. We take all reviews to heart, as this is our opportunity to improve our service and your experience going forward.
Our bare-root raspberry plants are dormant when they arrive to you. The new growth often comes from the roots of the bare-root raspberry plants (a difference from most other fruiting plants and trees) and not always from the canes above the ground. What stimulates the new growth is pruning at planting time. Were you instructed to prune your bare-root raspberry plants’ canes back to 2-inches above the soil on your replacement plants? We apologize that you feel dissatisfied with your raspberry plants and also your experience with our customer support team. While we have upheld our warranty* when we replaced your raspberry plants, our customer support manager will be reaching out to you regarding your issue and we hope we are able work with you to improve your experience with our company.
*Our Promise of Satisfaction states that if for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, let us know within a year of delivery and we will send you a free one-time replacement or refund your full purchase price if you don't want a replacement.
In 2013 I placed an order 976465 with Stark Brothers for two grape plants "Somerset Seedless". This year the vines had grapes and every grape has at least two large seeds in them. So either Somerset was really not a seedless grape or they supplied the wrong grapes. I e-mailed them about the problem several days ago (twice). They have evidently decided to ignore my e-mail. It would be nice and only fair to hear from them and either get replacement "seedless" grapes to take the place of these or a credit. At this point I have to say my experience is ***NEGATIVE*** due to misadvertised product and unresponsive customer service.Company representative comment on July 28, 2014: On Jul 28, 2014 12:55 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
We apologize that you did not receive a timely response to your inquiry. Our customer support manager has replied to you as of last week in regard to your seedless grapes developing seeds. We hope the information you were provided helps alleviate your concern about the product. We apologize again for the delay in response and hope our customer support team can work with you to improve your experience as our customer.
6 years ago I ordered and planted 3 Heartnut trees from Miller's Nursery. It was listed that they would produce in 3-5 yrs None of these trees have ever produced nuts. Stark Brothers, who now own Miller's, refused to take any responsibility for these infertile trees and would not give me a credit or refund.
I have ordered many plants from many companies. After several years and probably a couple thousand dollars spent, I'd say that stark bros plants are the most consistently healthy when they arrive and the healthiest as they grow. They also arrive at the correct time to be planted (which has been a problem for me with a few other nurseries). They tend to be a bit higher priced than other nurseries. But in exchange you get better customer service, plants sent more reliably at the time they should be planted and healthier plants.