I have purchased and planted about 30 bare root fruit trees over the last ten years with almost entirely positive results.
Lat year, I bought two bare root cherries from Willis and paid about 3 times as much as I have paid for any other fruit tree. They were supposed to give me fruit the first year. I received two little things with hardly any branches or roots and already leafed out. I managed to nurse them through the first year.
Now in the second year, they are almost doing as well are three cherries for which I paid about a third the price and planted this spring. I don't anticipate any fruit for several years.
Incidentally, one of the trees I ordered from this nursery was a black gold cherry. When they shipped, the email invoice said it was a stella. The plastic tag says it is a black gold.
I'm giving Willis Orchards a positive review, even though my experience with their trees hasn't been perfect. Part of why I'm doing that is, I had one experience with an online nursery this year (Garden Delights aka Online Plant Nursery aka TN Plant Nursery, which is in NO WAY affiliated with Willis, they just also happen to sell bareroot) and that was truly, terribly horrible, and frustrating, and, by comparison, Willis Orchards is doing okay in my opinion, so far, depending on how things go in the fall. Let me explain.
Last summer I ordered 5 trees from Willis: A 6 ft. Chickasaw Plum, a 4 foot Loblolly pine, a 6 foot Sycamore, a 6 foot Tulip Poplar and a 6 foot Southern Crabapple. All these trees were bareroot, and so, they did look a little like sticks in the box they came in. The pine is still pretty spindly, but it's alive and green for the most part (not the full pine I was hoping for but...) the Sycamore is doing well, and the Chickasaw plum, though it had a good bit of breakage on the branches in the box, is doing okay. I wouldn't describe any of these little trees as looking super strong and I think I've learned the hard way not to order bareroot if possible, or at least only to order smaller bareroot trees--I feel like it traumatizes the tree a little to be shipped bareroot--but the three trees I've mentioned are living and putting out new growth.
Anyway, the tulip poplar and the crabapple were the problems. the poplar tree just stuck there like a stick, on into May. I kept tending it and waiting. It tried putting out a few leaves at the base, but the top was completely dead. As for the crab apple, it never came back to life at all, poor thing. I should say, I babied ALL these trees equally, had pre-dug square, not too deep more wide holes for them, soaked them prior to planting, took them out of the box and had them in the ground almost immediately from the time they arrived, researched where to plant each species of tree, have many other trees and shrubs from different nurseries that I planted and cared for last fall that are now thriving...I don't think the fact that two of them died was my fault.
Fortunately, Willis didn't act like it was my fault either. I took pictures of the dead trees, and had no problems in my dealings with an employee at Willis named Cynthia. She issued me a $69.90 credit, and although I will have to wait until the fall to plant things once again, I'm still not incredibly upset about it because at least I have credit so my money is not completely gone. I spent hundreds of dollars on bareroot trees from that online TN nursery Garden Delights place, on over 50 trees, to have only THREE survive, and their customer service is horrific, they sent me trees that weren't even the species I had ordered, demanded that I mail the trees back to them if I wanted even a store credit, and had the rudest customer service I have EVER experience. That was not the case with Willis though. They assured me that I have a full 69.90 dollar credit, the replacement trees they will send me in the fall will also be under warranty, and they do seem to know how to properly dig bareroot plants (I think the other place just dug trees out of the woods the day before they sent them to me, with no root pruning the season before or anything, knowing they would die).
I will write again about Willis, depending on what happens with the trees I receive in the fall and how healthy they are, but at least this company shows *some* good faith in terms of making it right if some of their plants die on a customer, and I appreciated that. I guess bareroot trees are higher risk, so I'm glad they offer some form of guarantee. Also, all the trees I got from them were, in fact, labeled correctly, and, sadly, I don't take things like that for granted now either!
I purchased 3 grape vines last July 2014. The vines were shipped and arrived in early November 2014. I paid nearly $40.00 for these vines which included a $19.00 shipping charge. I planted the vines within a day of receiving them as per the included instructions. As of today June 5th, 2015, the vines show no signs of life. I called the company and was sent an email on how to check and see if the vines were indeed dead. I did the test as instructed and found all 3 vines to be dead. I again called on how to get a refund for the dead vines. I was told that if I emailed a picture of the vines, I could receive 3 replacement vines by just paying $19.00 for shipping. I Already paid for shipping once and think it is unfair to ask me to pay another$19.00 for vines I already have paid $40.00 for. If I were to do this I would of ended up paying close to $60.00 for 3 grape vines. Also the replacement vines would not be shipped until November, once again making me wait until spring to see if they have survived. Then what? What if once again I find the vines are dead? Do I call again and have them replaced and spend another $19.00 for shipping? All I wanted was a refund, the gentleman on the phone stated no way , no how does this company offer refunds, replacements only and shipping for this item would be in November at a cost of $19.00. I have decided to go to a local nursery and buy the vines. In the meantime I am out the $40.00 and no growing grape vines. I would recommend anyone thinking about doing business with this company, think it over long and hard. My advice is to try a local nursery or a better rated grower. This company does not follow accepted business practices and should be avoided.
hartfa Amarillo, TX (Zone 6b) (1 review) May 31, 2015
Neutral because 1 of the 4 trees arrived clearly dead and with very little root system to it (the pomegranet). Planted it anyway just in case. Never did come out of dormancy or develop at all. I figured that was ok-ish since the other three came out of dormancy and did well the first season, so didn't persue refund. However, a little over a year later only one of them overwintered. Neither the apple nor peach came out of dormancy this year. So now I am down to 1 of 4 trees alive 15 months after ordering. Both peaches and apples do quite well here, and I've raised both for decades. So I'm quite disappointed, and now out of warranty.
I ordered 5 trees from Willis Orchards back in March. The trees were shipped and all were well branched and large, very impressive. Unfortunately some failed to come out of dormancy. When I contacted Willis Orchards, Jay Willis got in touch with me. He explained that if I had used any fertilezer in my potting media, it could have compromised the roots of the trees. But, Jay was so sweet, courteous and professional, and offered to replace all the trees which failed to emerge from dormancy.
Jay patiently explained their t policies, and that my new trees would be shipped in the fall. I am so happy that my trees are to be replaced, but also am delighted with the service I received from Willis Orchards. The nursery is one that offers mature fruit trees, which is difficult to find. But, they also stand behind their guarantee and service.
I wholeheartedly recommend Willis Orchards and would love to use them again. Unfortunately, I live in a townhouse, and I turned my tiny backyard into a stone patio, so I have to grow my trees in large "smart" pots.
Thank you, again, Jay, and I wish you and your company great success!!!!
Posted on November 29, 2014, updated May 24, 2015
I\'ve just received my first order from Willis ... its almost Dec. now, I was expecting the plants to come in the spring because the nights are already getting below 20 deg. here in Missouri ... so I am alittle nervous about their survival chances ... I ordered 3 pear trees and I have to say that if these stay alive I feel that I really got my money\'s worth .... the trees are a very good size for the price I paid ( when compared to some tiny crooked \" twigs \" you get from some other online outfits.) They also have a good shape , nice straight and normal looking ( not rejects or picked-overs ) ...I wish that they had left a few more roots on them when they pruned , but we\'ll see what happens.... of course the real test will be in the spring , if these trees survive the MO. winter and wake up .For now , I have to leave a positive rating because I got these at a good price , the trees are large and of a nice shape . So I will report back in the spring and let you know if they woke up or not. On May 24th, 2015, Feodosia added the following:
Well, its spring now and I just wanted to report that all 3 of my Willis pear trees have waken up and are popping out leaves .... they seem to be nice trees ...
TonyAdams Wethersfield, CT (2 reviews) May 12, 2015
Posted on May 5, 2015, updated May 12, 2015
I purchased a Katherine Havemeyer lilac from Willis. I have wanted this lilac for many years. I gave it a prominent place in the garden I have designed and built from scratch. As expected it bloomed this week, but I am very disappointed to find that it is NOT Katherine Havemeyer! Today, I sent an email to Willis with the order # and complete information and have asked them to please send me the lilac I ordered and paid for. I think they may assume that most customers will not know the difference, but this lilac is nothing like the one I ordered. I will change this review only if I get the right one, and if they send it to me promptly. Of course, I will have to wait till it blooms in 2016. I am not getting any younger...On May 12th, 2015, TonyAdams changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
After discussions with folks at Willis and after their review of the photos I sent them, they decided that I was right about not having received the lilac I ordered. They gave me a refund promptly. Fair enough!!
Last year I purchased a variety of trees and vines from Willis including a 4 in 1 Apple tree, a 4 in 1 Cherry tree, an English Walnut tree, a crimson grape, a merlot grape, a blueberry grape, and a blueberry bush. I received my items on March 21st and planted them the next day. Although the roots were packed with gel, I personally felt more care could have been taken to ensure all of the roots were secured inside of the plastic packaging, some of them slipped through the folds and were not exposed to the gel, leaving them dry and brittle. The Apple tree showed signs of life right away and actually began to produce fruit on two of the branches, though I picked them off before they could mature into anything. Soon after the blueberry bush leafed out and the crimson grape after that. The Cherry tree, merlot and blueberry grapes, and the English Walnut tree never made it. As per their 1 year guarantee, I followed their instructions online which were to remove the dead trees/vines from the ground, and ship the lower half back to them for a replacement. Their return process was fairly painless, the only time I called was midway through March to get an idea of when I could expect delivery. My replacements arrived today, a little later than I would have liked (the Cherry tree has broken dormancy) but overall they all look good. I still feel that more care could have been taken in packing the roots, but the root structures on these trees are a little less butchered than I remembered them being last year. Though I have not had a chance to see if these replacements take, it is irrelevant from my perspective as their guarantee only applies to a single replacement. However, I do feel the company deserves a positive review for a quick and easy replacement process. Aside from the packing of the roots, both the original shipment and the replacements seemed in good health upon arrival.
I ordered three of each: 2 year-old Indian Summer Red Raspberry Plants, Heritage Raspberry Plants, and Southern Bababerry Raspberry Plants. They had a shipping window of 11/10/2014 - 04/10/2015 but arrived in November. They were very securely and well packed and had moisturizing gel covering the majority of their roots. They were all fully dormant. I did a nick test and they all had green underneath. I planted the same day they arrived. It's the first week of April now and they have all broken dormancy and are doing really well (some that get more sun even started growing a month ago).
ericjp Virginia Beach, VA (1 review) March 30, 2015
Ordered several varieties of apple and pear threes.
A couple of my trees on my order were really beat up. They had a lot of heavily damaged bark at about mid height. I planned on espaliering some so it wasn't too big of a deal. I did find out this year that a Chojuro Asian pear tree from a previous order is really a Kiefer pear. I contacted Willis Orchards about having the wrong pear and sent them pictures of the pears showing that they are not an Chojuro pear. Jay from Willis Orchards said that it looked like I had 2 different varieties on the tree. I sent further pictures from different angles showing positively that it was not in any way shape or form an Asian pear tree. I have not received any further response from them. I'd hate for anyone to spend the time tending to a tree for several years and ultimately find out that you don't have the same tree that you ordered. Based on my latest experiences I will no longer order from them.
I bought a Pomagranet tree last year. I planted it. It never came out of dormancy. Willis orchard replaced it this year. Waiting & hoping for better results. My problem with Willis Orchard is they promised a satisfaction guarantee. However, with the replacement, they provide no guarantee. Not sure if I will ever do business with them again. Waiting for tree to come out of dormancy again.
I ordered from Willis Orchard I was so afraid because I found this website after the fact. My order arrived today via Fed Ex and was packaged nicely. My Dwarf Nectarine Tree has buds and is very green. My two Gogi Bushes they are really nice and green. I'm so happy to get everything. My order is beautiful and I couldn't be anymore happier. I never give reviews but when I read all these comments and they were so negative. I decided to give my input. I hope this helps the next person with their decision to order. Thanks Willis Orchard.
mrstjohnson Winter Garden, FL United States (2 reviews) February 28, 2015
I bought some nice pecan trees from Willis. I would recommend their pecans. Teresa
tooner2 Charlotte, NC (7 reviews) February 18, 2015
Very pleased with my recent order. The Albemarle Pippin apple tree (hard to find elsewhere) was good-sized, well-shaped, and sturdy. The packing was excellent. Very pleased with my purchase. Much better than what I have gotten from some better-known companies!
I was pretty satisfied with my purchase here. My trees arrived 6 days after the order was placed. The root ball was wrapped and packed with ice, and the roots were in very good shape (by my judgement at least). I ordered two 4-5 ft trees and three 3-4 ft trees. You can see from the pictures below that almost all the trees were ~5 ft + 1ft of root, so I thought that was definitely as advertised or better.
I've had bad experiences in the past with other mail order plant companies and have come to realize that there are inherent risks with bare root plants. What I expect from a good company is:
1) You got your order as specified (size, species, etc) and it wasnt *over* pruned, or a younger plant sold as an older pruned plant.
2) It was delivered on time such that the roots didnt dry out.
3) Customer service is good in the case that a mistake is made.
(And for my part I always make sure I plant the trees within 24 hours of when I get them)
I thought this company met all those expectations. Now I just have to take care of the trees to make sure they set in and grow!
AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COST!!! . Ordered two fruit trees on 6/9/14 as advertised for zone 4 area. At a later date (after some research) I informed them they misrepresented zones in the fruit tree section and wanted to cancel my order, Spoke to Jay Young (customer service mgr.), put on hold for a bit only to be told that I was correct and the trees were not for zone 4 and would perish. Also told they would change the errors on their web page... (its been weeks and hasn't happened yet) I asked for refund and told I would get it minus 10%. I objected to the minus percentage refund due to the fact they misrepresented the product and was no fault of mine. And to just find out that they ship in March due to Georgia weather was my other reason for canceling, we still have snow on the ground up till May some seasons. They had plenty of time to refund my credit card and when asked why nothing has been posted yet they blamed the banks and credit card company.. Just got of the phone with both and nothing on Willis Orchard end is being done. When Jay was pressed on why all the 193 bad reviews at Dave's Garden, guess what? Not their fault, we are somewhat disgruntled...Maybe if enough of us wrote the Attorney Generals office of Georgia it would open their eyes up and deal with customers in a different way. I'm writing and mentioning Dave Watchdog site as evidence!!!
Posted on December 30, 2014, updated January 29, 2015
I very carefully weighed my options when I decided what and where I was going to order from. I opted to use an online grower for multiple reasons, one being I could check out reviews about them and another being I could fully research exactly what I was buying before I bought it to ensure it would grow properly in my home. The fact that Willis was located in Georgia, to me was a bonus because the record low temperatures in the regions did a number to area growers.
-- What I ordered:
Red Delicious Apple Tree, Granny Smith Apple Tree, Stella Cherry Tree, Weeping Santa Rosa Plum Tree, Golden Delicious Apple Tree, Shinko Asian Pear Tree, Blenheim Apricot Tree, Sam Houston Peach Tree, Bartlett Pear Tree, Then three I believe of 3 year old grape vines, and a blueberry bush
What arrived: Everything- Wrapped meticulously and nicely pruned in a box, bare root, with gel. They arrived just as we had begun to warm up a bit and they had not broke dormancy. We had already prepared all the holes as we were expecting their arrival. We purchased mostly Ez-picks, a couple instant orchard size but the Blenheim was young and was the only tree we bought on a whim (without previously researching). The blueberry bush already had some green on it and was the first we planted immediately out of the box in an area with acidic soil just perfect for blueberry bushes. We soaked the roots for the others and added mycorrhizal fungi to the soil when planting to help the roots have the absolute best start. All the trees were planted within a few hours of arrival. The grape vines honestly looked fairly poor. I know dormant vines always do, but these had me really wondering. We planted them along the trellis built for them and crossed our fingers. Within about a month, the Sam Houston just looked pitiful despite it being one of the more expensive trees we bought. I called a neighbor who happens to be a horticulturist and asked for help. He said a lot of peach trees were fairing poorly this year, I explained it had only been transplanted a month prior and he said the best we could do was give it some time to see how well it would do. By late August, a scratch test revealed it was indeed completely dead and we removed it. It was also around that time that my shinko asian pear died of fireblight. The entire tree (that is suppose to be resistant to fire blight) was overtaken and had to be removed as well. Our blueberry bush did not take off either and our grapes remained sticks as well. Dead. Now onto to the good news. The Santa Rosa weeping plum flourished beautifully. The Stella Cherry tree had minimal growth but it is thriving. Our three apple trees had lots of foliage growth and grew wonderfully. The blenheim we purchased was not much more than a 1 year maiden and as such performed like one. A little growth but too soon to say how she\'ll perform. The barlett pair had minimal growth, I am keeping a close eye on him- but being now it\'s winter, we will have to see how he does once breaking dormancy.
So why the neutral-
Well, my experience with their customer service was positive when I ordered. They answered questions in a timely manner and I appreciated that. I was disappointed that my trees did not perform as well as I\'d hoped, but I am still watching carefully. Due to an error on my end (tossing the receipt that came in the box) and being a victim of identity theft, I had closed my bank account so I could not pull up my receipt. After reading their guidelines on their website and other reviews stating the difficulty of attempting to get replacements, I didn\'t even bother and have sucked it up as my loss.
I am now researching to put a new order in for this year for several more trees and some other bushes and grape vines. I am not sure what company to order from. I am on the fence with whether or not to order again from Willis or not. I appreciate that they offer mature trees that other companies do not. In the same breath, I\'m unhappy that my blueberry bush did poorly, and my grapes and a few trees died. I\'d rather pay a little more and have healthy plants and trees than to put all this time, research and effort into a losing battle.
I may update this eventually in the future when my trees get a little older. I did take many pictures when I unboxed my trees that I had planned to blog about, perhaps I\'ll do that this spring and update their growth. I noticed when researching this company there were some but not many unboxing/planting/growth updates online. That is vital information for someone like me with limited land to grow on, and a large family to feed. On January 29th, 2015, HeatherCarter changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
I am just speechless at the level of customer service. After seeing this on here, they reached out to me to and are replacing the part of my order that did not live and that level of customer care has most definitely convinced me to place another order next month as well. Company representative comment on December 31, 2014: On Dec 31, 2014 9:42 AM, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
We are sorry to read that some of your trees did not survive and that you would have redeemed warranty if you had receipt. It's OK that you don't have receipt, as we will have your order record of file. Please contact us and we will gladly replace the ones that did not grow.
Willis Orchard Co.
alanstrees Ellabell United States (1 review) January 7, 2015
My experiences with this company have met all expectations. All orders were correctly and timely shipped and all plants have survived but one, and I believe that the problem there was may fault. I have ordered, on several occasions fruit trees suitable for wildlife, and they range from paw paws, apple seedlings and crab apples, pears, mayhaws and mulberries over a 3 year period. Most were tubed. All were bare root, and I am NOT a fan of this to start with. I'm an air root prune, accelerators or rootmakers, propagate them myself kind of guy. I just like to plant stuff. But I have to admit that I've done well with the bare roots so far, and I wanted pollinators and genetics from different populations to go with my own. And I give them the proper care.
My reason for this post is to convey my experience and to add that a satisfied customer rarely says thank you to the vendor, much less post on a publicly shared site. I have no stake in the game. But I WILL use Willis Orchard again. They offer selections that I want, the quality so far has been good, and the customer service contact, while limited, has proven to be excellent. They do seem to know what they are talking about. I hope all find this helpful.
I wasn't happy with Willis. I wouldn't order from them again. I ordered $75 worth of berries. I had to remind them a couple months after ordering to receive them. I ordered mixed ages - from 1 to 3 year old canes. There was very little difference in the cane size. It took me two years to figure out that the Baba Berries I ordered were not Baba Berries, but Wineberries (sort of a weed berry). I emailed the company and sent a photo from a website as that was how I finally figured out that they weren't the correct berry. The service representative said I needed to send a photo from my garden of the fruiting berry but by that time the berries were gone. None of the berries I got from them did very well. I bought some golden berries and they didn't produce either. The shipping was on the high side as well for what I received - a box that weighed about a pound with about a dozen spindly canes in it. Not worth the money and lousy customer service.
I recommend that you use another vendor other than Willis Orchard Company for your plants and trees. I made my order in early March 2013 and received my products in early April 2013. I had pre-dug holes for each of the items, sprayed them down thoroughly upon arrival, and quickly got them into the ground. I kept the plants well-watered during the 2013 growing season. My results with their products were highly disappointing.
All-in-one Almond tree: No leaves or growth in 2013 or 2014
Mahan and Hican Pecan trees: 2013- one tree had three leaves, other no leaves or growth; 2014- no leaves or growth on either tree
Anne Raspberry plants (5):- 2013- two plants had a few leaves; 2014- no leaves or growth on any plants
Chickasaw Plum tree: No leaves or growth in 2013 and 2014
In contrast, cherry, fig, apple, and pear trees from other vendors grew very well on my property in 2013 and 2014. In contrast, Anne Raspberry plants from Burpee grew very well on my property in 2014.
I am a gardener with 40 years of experience. I did not contact Willis Orchard for an exchange because, quite frankly, I do not wish to receive more weak trees and plants that will take up my time and fail to prosper.
LeviG1965 Clemson United States (3 reviews) December 30, 2014
I recently purchased a few bare root pecan trees from Willis Orchard. They arrived a little later than expected, but they looked excellent. I was pleased with the price, compared to what I saw online from other similar places they were a little below average on the price but a little above average on the quality. I purchased last year from another nursery here in S. Carolina and had less luck. Company representative comment on December 30, 2014: On Dec 30, 2014 5:51 PM, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
Willis Orchard provided excellent trees and Jay Young was extremely helpful
I've purchased Apple and pear trees from Willis Orchard in the past and was very satisfied with all the trees I received. I purchased 2 giant Fuyu persimmon trees last spring, unfortunately the didn't survive. I contacted Willis Orchard's Jay Young who was... Read More
Sanford , TN
Good quality fruit trees and customer service.
I went online because I was looking for fruit trees and found Willis Orchard company. I ordered about 9 trees that came on a timely manner and well packed. They are good quality trees and I recently ordered 2 more. I am very pleased with their quality and the... Read More
Very Good Company.
This was the first time I worked with Willis Orchard Company. I hope to do more business with them in the future after my great experience with them. I ordered strawberries from them. I found that they are very prompt with their shipment and their order exceeded... Read More
I ordered three trees from Willis Orchards. I received only two. I emailed them and asked for a record check because I had not received the third tree. They checked their records and apparently their records showed that all three trees had been sent. HOWEVER, they... Read More
New Hampton, MO
Nice selection and great quality, well handled and taken care of.
Willis Orchard Company provides quality products and great customer service. I've purchased from other businesses, but the quality that Willis has is off the charts. They do phenomenal packaging, and everything has been great. Other places usually send me inferior... Read More
Cartersville , GA
Willis Orchard Co was a very good company to work with. They had a good selection of trees and they even helped us plant the trees in our yard. It was a great experience. Read More
Columbus , OH
Much better than I ever could have expected.
Willis Orchard Co provided me with plants with really long healthy roots. I was very pleased with them. They were also in clean tidy packaging, and they were delivered to me on time. At first I thought they would be really small plants, but they are a great size.... Read More
Stand by their products, keep their word!
I have had many dealings with Willis. In just a few cases, the tree did not survive, or I was sent the wrong plant. They replaced each without any problem. Jay in customer service went above and beyond to help me, and even set up orders to automatically ship in the... Read More
Great products, customer service, and delivery.
Willis Orchard Co has very good prices and quality. Whenever they have a desired item in stock, they send it right away. I am impressed with their variety and I usually go there for vines and little trees. Whenever I call them, they always put a knowledgeable staff... Read More
San Tan Valley, AZ
I would like to thank Willis Orchards for being honest, and responsible. I had a problem with some of my trees, they offered some very responsible solutions, which fixed all my problems. I'm now a satisfied customer who wants to let you know that you're dealing with... Read More
Man with brown thumb is happy
Everything with Willis Orchard Co. has been good so far. They have trees that are hard to find in stores. I bought three trees from them, two were an American Chestnut tree, which brought back memories from my childhood. I was extremely thrilled that they sold... Read More
Outstanding Product and Customer Service!!
Over two years I have bought over $2,500.00 worth of trees and berry plants from Jason Willis. I have not had one issue, have gotten sweet fruit on the first year! Cynthia is outstanding in customer service, also knows the product that she sells. I will always... Read More
Fjkaram Pottsboro, TX (1 review) December 26, 2014
First time, Last time. They shipped only one out of eight blue berries from a four different type combo offer I ordered. I Called and was told to send pictures--I guess they did not believe me. Called again and was told"Steve" could help, and he did agree to ship the remaining plants. Problem was only four of the eight plants were tagged with the type bush . They told me that the plants should have been separated in tagged pairs and tied together. This was not the case. The excuse was that there was a new "FED EX guy. WHAT??? My plan was to track the progress of the four types to see which I may want to order next time. They offered no resolution and said there was nothing that could be done. I was told by a lady to send pictures of the eight plants and that they would be able to identify which was which. Someone called me after I sent the pictures and asked why I had sent the pictures. Guess they do not convey messages.
In my business if I had made such a mistake I would have offered the customer the option of returning the plants at my expense and would have made certain the order was shipped out correctly.
This company lacks training, quality control, internal communication and management that cares about customer service. Look elsewhere for you gardening needs.
I welcome a response from the management team to prove they are listening to their customers. I find that the negative comments on this site indicates they do not and could care less.
dentednj Califon, NJ (Zone 6b) (2 reviews) December 18, 2014
This is the first time I didn't check here for a review before ordering from a company. If I had I would not have ordered as their customer service seems to be highly erratic. As it is I ordered 9 fruit trees and an elderberry bush and a week later they arrived looking fine. I planted them the same day they arrived. Since I pruned them after planting I know that they are living. It is Mid-December here in NJ and the soil is still highly workable in my garden so I am hoping they will do okay and I will have spring growth. I will follow this review up once spring has arrived and we see if they will live. I am hoping they are the correct fruit selections of my order since that also seems to be a problem from other customer's comments.
I ordered a persimmon tree several years ago. It took a couple of seasons for the tree to fruit as expected. What was not expected was the variety. I did not think that it was the variety that I ordered. I took a picture and sent it. They double checked my order in their records and confirmed that the picture was not corresponding to the variety ordered. Even after the several year time period, not only did they send me a new tree for free, but they sent me a bigger starter tree than originally ordered to help make up for the time it will take to get new fruit.
Thanks for the great service and for standing behind your product after so long!
I have done business with online nurseries for years but have never been as unhappy with the product as I am with my first (and last) order from Willis Orchards.
In October I ordered 6 apple trees and 5 drake elms. Taking note that part of the order would not be shipped until the 10th of November I monitored my email after that date for a shipping notice. None came and about a week later I called them to inquire about when to expect shipment. I was informed they did not ship until December. Upon receiving this information I requested they ship ASAP as I wanted the trees by my birthday on the 24th of November. They shipped them on the 24th and receipt was made via fedex on the 26th. Holes had already been dug and fertilizer added for the trees arrival. The apples will probably survive but note there was only 1 of the 6 that had a single leaf remaining. All of the others were bare. The drake elms were the most spindly looking things imaginable and did not have a green leaf amongst them. The remaining leaves were dead. They appeared to have been harvested weeks before they were shipped. Of the 5 received, one had a large gash about 3 inches long in the bottom of the trunk. Here in Florida that means an infected tree that will die within the year. I threw it in the garbage.
I will not do business with this company again and will warn others about them.Company representative comment on December 1, 2014: On Dec 1, 2014 10:18 AM, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
The trees you mention are not supposed to has leaves at this time of year. They are supposed to be dormant when transplanted. That is why they are not shipped any earlier than mid November. We ship the northern states first then start on the southern states so we typically don't start shipping these type of trees to Florida until December, which is the beginning of planting season for that area. If you will contact us regarding your order, we will take care of any problems you have. Also you should not add fertilizer when planting bare-root trees, as stated on the planting guide accompanying the order.
Posted on November 25, 2014, updated November 25, 2014
I attempted to place an order this morning. The woman answering the phone was so hateful that I chose not to. I have sent a personal email to Jason Willis. Will revise if I hear from him. I do not want to deal with this woman if my trees should die!On November 25th, 2014, a8383 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Received a very kind apology from Jason Willis.
juliannen New Hartford, NY (1 review) November 24, 2014
I ordered cherry trees, grapes, and raspberries in September. It's now almost December. I'm in upstate NY and it is way too late to plant. When I called Willis Nursery they treated me horribly! The worst customer service I've ever had! I asked what I should do with the grapes when they got here since you should plant them in the Spring. She said there was some button on the order form and offered NO help. I spent $100 and like many many times before expected my plants to be shipped when it was time to plant them. I've always ordered in the Fall for my Spring planting. The guy (once transferred from the wicked witch) pulled up my weather and we are having a freakish warm day..ONE day.. and asked what my problem was. The problem is is that it will be 20 in another day again. The snow just melted so I can see the ground. RUDE RUDE RUDE. I so wish I had found these reviews before I went with them. I am going to try to save anyone I can from ordering from them.
thecityman Orlinda, TN (1 review) November 11, 2014
Posted on May 27, 2014, updated November 11, 2014
Posted on April 22, 2014, updated May 27, 2014
I placed an order for 6 fruit trees and 2 raspberries in late march 2014. I was a bit nervous because they charged my credit card within a few days even though my order wasn\'t sent until 3 weeks later. But its all good. Just about the time my order was going to ship, I realized that I had made a mistake on my order and selected a tree I did not want. I sent them an e-mail explaining that the mistake was entirely my fault, but that I would really appreciate them changing my mistake tree to one I wanted (a Hachiya Persimmon). I got an e-mail back saying my order had already been put together and was in the shipping area to be sent. Nevertheless, the lady who e-mailed me that said she would try to change it for me. I had little hope, but less than 24 hours later she e-mailed me back and said they had been able to pull my order, go get my replacement tree, take out the try I didn\'t want, repackage the order, and ship it. I am explaining all this detail because I really think it bodes well for the company and their customer service that they went to so much trouble-at absolutely no charge- and all for a mistake that was entirely my own. Many places would have said it was too late, impossible, or at best charge a change order fee. Anyway, as promised, my order was shipped on a Friday and fed ex tried to deliver it the very next day to my door in a different state over 500 miles away. (Fed ex screwed up so I had to wait one more day that was in no way Willis\'s fault) As for my order....the good news continues. All my trees arrived in very good condition. They were incredibly well packaged....bundled all together, with all roots submerged in the gel stuff most places use which was still very much wet. The roots and gel were all inside plastic, which in turn was tightly wrapped with practically a whole roll of shipping tape, then the whole bundle was placed in a perfectly sized box, with bubble wrap occupying all extra space to prevent too much movement during shipment. The condition of all the large trees was outstanding. They were dormant but starting to wake up-enough that you can tell they are most likely going to bud and leaf out. There were less roots that I\'d prefer, but that is fairly common with Bare root shipped trees. The 2 small trees (1-3 feet) and raspberries seemed to be a little more dry that I had hoped, but they were fairly green on a scratch test so hopefully they will be ok. Overall. all the trees appear to be alive and I\'m pretty sure they will be ok. I promise to come back here in a few weeks and update this review to let everyone know whether all my plants survived and, if not, how Willis handled the dead ones. But I am confident most if not all will live, and in view of some of the reviews on here I think Willis Orchards deserves the Positive rating I am giving them for everything that has happened so far (as described above). My experience was a very, very good one and if my plants live-and I think they will- then I believe they have just become my favorite fruit tree source.On May 27th, 2014, thecityman changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
Well, things didn\'t turn out nearly as well as my original post indicated. As it turns out, I had more tree and plant deaths than with any order I\'ve ever done. I wanted to wait before updating this post to be absolutely certain of what did and did not live. I am now prepared to give you those results. In total, I ordered 5 trees and 3 plants. Out of that, a grand total of two trees lived. Two. That is a 75% failure rate. All 3 raspberry plants died as did 4 of the 6 fruit trees I purchased. Specifically, a plumcot, a Green Gage plum, Tanenashi Persimmon, and a hachia Persimmon died along with the 3 raspberries. A mulberry and Blenheim Apricot lived. I mentioned in my original review that the trees looked alive when I received them but I had some concerns about the roots on some. They were, however, packaged well. I also have to wonder if they held my order back, out of ground, longer than normal in order to make the order change I requested. If so, they didn\'t tell me that and of course I\'d have preferred they not make my requested change if it really did result in all the other trees being left out too long and caused their death. But that is just guess work anyway. Its also possible that fed ex\'s error than caused the trees to be in their hands an extra day and 1/2 could have contributed...who knows. All I know is I spent over $100 and ended up with only 2 trees, one being just 10 inches tall. I also want you to all know that I am quite certain the deaths were in no way my own fault. I got my trees at around noon. I went home immediately unwrapped and put all of them in a bucket of water where they sat for about 6 hours. That very evening I went home and put every tree and plant into the ground into holes that I had previously prepared by slightly amending the good, fertile, well drained soil I have. I watered them in and over the next 4 weeks kept them reasonably well-but not over-watered. I used the same techniques I have on all my fruit trees, and I currently have 62 trees in my orchard and over the last 3 years I\'ve only had 2 other trees die. I have 27 raspberry plants and have lost maybe 5 over the last 3 years. My point here is I may not be a professional orchardist but I certainly have enough experience and understanding to know how to properly plant and care for a new tree or plant. There absolutely had to be something wrong with these.
Now, one very, very important point: I HAVE NOT YET NOTIFIED WILLIS ORCHARDS of my dead plants nor have I requested replacements, so I cannot yet judge their customer service when it comes to warranty/replacement. Their site says to wait a few months to be sure what lives or dies, and that is what I am doing. One could argue that it is unfair to change my review from positive to neutral without giving them a chance to redeem themselves. But I felt a 75% death rate alone warranted a change in my rating. I\'m also not thrilled with their policy of requiring me to pay postage to return dead trees, but I suppose that is to protect them and I won\'t hold it against them. I also hate having to wait until fall or maybe spring to get replacements, but I know trees survive better when planted at those times so I will accept that. To be fair, if they do honor the warranty and replace all my trees and plants without a big hassle, I will probably change my review back to positive. But in the meantime, I believe a neutral rating is appropriate in view of the high failure rate. On November 11th, 2014, thecityman changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
WHile this is a very long review, I think it is important. It has gone from Negative (because so many plants died) to Neutral (because they SAID they would make it right but I wanted to wait until they did) to Positive (because they DID make it right). I've already explained why I gave the negative and neutral, now I want to tell you how they earned a "positive"...............:
I have been absolutely blown away by the level of customer service and the way Willis Orchard's handled the problem once I reported my dead trees. Basically, at the very end of summer I called and reported that 3 of my 5 trees had died and all 3 of my berry plants had died. I spoke to a wonder lady named Sylvia who almost immediately, without any interrogation or accusations or difficulty of any kind, apologized for the dead trees and plants and offered to replace them all or give me credit toward other things. When I inquired about having to mail in the dead stuff or send photos of them, she said they would trust me and that would not be necessary! WHAT!!!! In todays world, that is an amazing position for them to take. Even more amazing, she basically told me that she would leave it up to me to decide who would pay the shipping on the replacement order. WHAT!!!??? I felt that because bare root plants can and do die without them or me being to blame, if they were going to just take my word on what had died then I would pay the shipping on the replacements. Long story short, I put together a new order which included several new trees that had not been on my original order. Sylvia simply processed my new order and deducted the amount I had paid for the original trees and plants that died, added the shipping (with my blessing) and processed my new order.
I simply cannot fathom how they possibly could have been any more polite, accommodating, or better to deal with in any way. They went BEYOND their stated replacement policy by not making me send dead plants or even photos of dead plants, and even expressed a willingness to pay postage-which I do not think they should have to do since the dead plants may not have been their fault. They never questioned my honesty or made it the tiniest bit difficult to redeem my warranty. As icing on the cake, I mentioned that I had one tree which I thought was dead but which still had a very slight greenish tint on a scratch test so I wasn't going to claim it as dead and they went ahead and credited me for that tree as well...even though I hadn't officially tried to redeem the warranty on it yet. In short, Willis Ochards went above and beyond what they needed to do to satisfy me. It wasn't because I'm a big, regular customer because I'm not. They epitomize what any company-not just a nursery-should strive to be in terms of customer oriented.
One last note: On top of all the aforementioned things they did right, the last and perhaps best final compliment is on the replacement order I just received. Without exception, each and every one of the 8 new trees I ordered were larger than the size I specified in my order-meaning they voluntary bumped up my tree size without charging a single cent more-even though larger sizes obviously sell for more money. ANd they are not just longer; they are thicker and healthier too. I am thrilled with my new trees and with the service I have received. If I could somehow give a more positive review of this company than I have just done, I would do so. They deserve it. I'm mystified by the negative reviews I see here. All I can say is my experience has been a 10 out of 10.
HartPA Drexel Hill, PA (1 review) October 29, 2014
I have had 2 separate and positive experiences with Willis orchards. My first was that the tree that I had ordered (damson plum) was not a damson plum. After a few quick emails and some pictures that I sent, they determined that it was if fact a different tree (some kind of rare green plum). They immediately rectified the issue and are shipping a new damson plum at no cost.
My second experience was with their general phone number. A very nice lady (I forget her name, Cynthia, maybe) helped me with selecting what the best cherry tree would be for my area. She also gave me the phone number to my local extension office to make sure the tree suggested was best suited for my area.
I plan to order from them again. Great customer service.
rosepetal2 Danvers, MA (7 reviews) October 3, 2014
I ordered Elberta Peach, Blenheim Apriocot, Shinko Asian Pear, Shinseki Asian Pear and Meader Kiwi from Willis Orchard. I ordered all 6' trees and received varying sizes and paid approx $140 for the lot. They were dormant, packed well scheduled for March 24th ship and received 1st week April 2014 when here in MA we were subzero worst winter conditions. Couldn't find the Meader Kiwi - it was under the peach tree and was DOA, I called for replacement (May) and was told it would ship dormant Nov-Apr. Also I specifically asked for trees that were not pruned as I wanted to use for espalier. After several emails I was assured I would get trees with branching low on the trees. NONE of the trees had been pruned 40"+ inches up the trunk - so much for the assurance. I successfully nicked the trunks and was able to encourage low branching. I agree Carrie Linden, the woman handling the phone is rude and totally not helpful. During the summer the Elberta peach never did much beyond 2-3 buds that tried to leaf but NOTHING. Dead. So out of six fruit trees - two were DOA. I tried to put in a claim for the kiwi right away, sent multiple emails, couple of phone calls and even asked for a replacement - grape and was told they would ship in fall. The two pears and apricot are growing fine and are healthy and vigorous. I think they have descent stock at good prices - I have friends who have ordered from them and are happy. The problem is who ever is harvesting the trees in not checking to make sure they are vital. So it can be a crap shoot whether you get live trees if not checked. Overall I think Willis Orchards is a viable source for trees and ordered two more trees this month - both EZ pick. I'll ship back the Meader kiwi and Elberta peach roots and ask for a couple replacements. I'll update my post with that outcome.
I received four trees last spring-
Two survived two did not, in spite of being in equal sized pots and cared for equally-
The Stewartia and the Indian Peach never emerged from dormancy.
I called and was told that I did not have to send them back- I offered to send the pictures but the rep assured me that she knew I was right and would supply a store credit-
Today I called and was told that if I want the trees I have to pay another nineteen dollars for shipping-That is their minimum-
So now I have a 20- store credit and have to pay almost as much for shipping if I want to ransom my money. Also, apparently their attitude towards items that are sent dormant is that it is my problem if nothing happens when I plant them.
Of course, too late I read all the other complaints about Willis Orchards so I guess I am out the 20- bucks.
The new rep was adamant that I had to send the two dead sticks back or supply pictures. I do have the pictures somewhere I think,
But the whole idea-their attitude is just not the way other legitimate
and reputable companies operate.
All of the other mail order companies I deal with have always acknowledged a problem, if rarely there was one.
For instance, last spring I received a dormant tree from a very reputable company- One of four and it did not emerge- The rep assured me that this sometimes happens and sent a refund nor pictures or sticks required.
If my twenty dollars is that important to them I guess they can put it toward their advertising to try to reclaim their reputation.
I would never deal with them again and will tell my garden club to think twice. Willis Orchard just bought a whole lot of bad advertising on my twenty dollars.
I tried them for fruit trees....they had a great website....and several weeks after the promised delivery date, I received the now half dead trees. I asked for a refund....I did not plant living trees and have them die by my fault...I did not receive what was promised...but NO REFUND....and the lady on the phone was pretty rude in addition.
I would never order anything from them again, and neither should you.
Doughster4 Bowleys Quarters, MD (4 reviews) August 17, 2014
I ordered three fruit trees this past Spring. They were all shipped VERY late. The size was what I expected but upon close examination I noticed that the buds had broken dormancy and had been stripped from the branches. The apricot and peach never showed any sign of life. The Bosc pear sprouted BELOW the graft from rootstock. Everything above the graft turned black. Their guarantee anad return policy is not evernbothering with over three trees. I will order from a reputable source. My own fault for not reading the negative reviews from gardeners.
I ordered an angel red pomegranate from these guys over the winter and kept it in a container indoors and then moved it outside in June. It has never leafed out but it sprouted a new stalk from the roots; the top of the tree was dead on arrival.
When I called and described the issue, the woman explained that pomegranates can die back on top and start over, much like figs. I again explained that the tree was not outdoors here in the winter, and she told me that they don't keep the trees in a greenhouse and had a cold winter...the implication is that the dieback happened on their end. When I asked why I had bothered to pay for an older tree that was dead up top, she transferred me. I explained the situation again to the next guy, and he attempted to place the blame on me for the dead top growth (my coast of maine potting soil isn't good enough?). I again noted that the tree is alive (it sprouted from the base) so the soil seems not to be an issue, it's just dead on top. He changed up their answer here and said it was grown in a greenhouse and it's not their fault...he claims I must've killed it somehow.
Bad tree and bad service.
Rickb2665 Brookfield, WI (1 review) August 5, 2014
Last Fall I ordered 2 Blenheim Apricot trees from Willis Orchard. I ordered 6' tall 1.25" Cal. Trees. After I ordered them, I read all of the negative feedback about Willis Orchard and I got concerned. My Trees arrived in Mid April , and in Wisconsin, We had very brutal winter and snow was still on the ground in April. My Trees arrived well packaged with Gel wrapping around the roots. and there were a lot of buds coming to fruition on the branches upon arrival . The trees were pruned nicely. and I left the trees for two weeks in the gel because the ground was still frozen. In late April, I was able to plant my trees. I used 50% tree & Shrub soil along with 50% native soil. I also used a local garden centers root stimulator fertilizer. It is now Early august and my trees are flourishing. The buds have all turned to leaves and there is easily 12" of new growth on these trees. I do admit that I have watered the trees religiously and sprayed liquid fence liberally on the trees to keep the deer away. I have no reservations about the products nor the service that I received from Willis Orchards. I couldn't be happier with the trees that I have received I would and probably will buy from them again in the future.
screwed69 Cartersville, GA (1 review) May 28, 2014
I've spent over $200 to get nothing but DEAD trees!
Posted on February 1, 2014, updated May 21, 2014
Posted on January 28, 2014, updated February 1, 2014
I purchased some 1-2' bareroot crab apple and persimmon seedlings to start in the greenhouse over winter. The customer service was pretty good in that my order was acknowledged right away and I even requested they ship it earlier than I had originally requested. When I received the order I was surprised that the stock had bascially no root structure at all. I have ordered thousands of bareroot trees in the past and these were more bare than root. I treated them with rooting hormone and planted them like you would a hardwood cutting, time will tell if they produce any buds.
In their defense I did not call and ask for replacements so I cannot say if they would have replaced them or not. The order for me just wasn't large enough to bother with return/replacement calls and efforts. I generally like to place small orders from new companies to test their stock before placing large ones, this was probably a one time purchase company for me. My experience was what appears to be decent customer service but I was not impressed with the stock received.On February 1st, 2014, Attica_Farmer changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
Some of the stock received has started to show signs of life. It is the dead of winter so there are a lot of variables at play here and user error is always a factor.
To my surprise I was also contacted by Willis Orchard. They stated that they had read my comments here and offered to replace any stock I did not feel was acceptable. I am confident that if I had notified them in the beginning and requested replacements they would have honored that also. I would have to say they have good customer service and that alone is enough to give them another shot at my next stock order.
On May 20th, 2014, Attica_Farmer changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
I did in fact end up requesting replacement stock. I received 7 new Dolgo crab seedlings ( 7 of the 8 we originally purchased) after several emails back and forth with Jay from Willis Orchard. Unfortunately the replacements had the same weak root structure as the original order.
It is now Mid/late may, of the 15 total Dolgo crabs I received and 4 persimmon, I was able to save 3 Persimmon and 4 Dolgo Crabs. I actually have Dolgo crabs larger than the Willis Orchard stock that I planted from seed in January and they look much healthier and twice the size. It is always a learning curve and every year is different but for now I will place any future fruit tree orders from another vendor. I wish I could post pictures for comparison to illustrate the difference from vendor to vendor and seed from the fridge.
Honestly, this order was the most well-packed and high-quality of any garden center order I have ever placed. I ordered 45 bare root trees, 11 bare root grapes, about 60 raspberries/blackberries, and lot more. ALL of it was large and well-rooted, and very well-packed. I was initially afraid to order from them due to reviews on this forum, so when I got such a terrific order, I knew I had better post a positive review. Don't be afraid to order from Willis Orchards!!! They are GREAT!!!
I ordered two saw palmettos from Willis Orchard Company. They sent me an e-mail to confirm the order and another when it was shipped. The plants arrived in good condition. I would order from them again.