Posted on June 11, 2012, updated June 11, 2012
Posted on June 6, 2012, updated June 11, 2012
I have made a couple orders with Stark Bros. The first sweet cherry tree came snapped in half. A pawpaw tree was also broken in half in another order. The pawpaw trees that I have received have not fared well and all but one have died. The select or supposed larger superior trees are only modestly larger than the whips and they have no branches.. well they are dead. The one that did not die was the one that broke in half that I planted any ways.
I have pawpaws from One Green World that are doing super but they were not shipped bare root and poorly packaged. The replacement cherry tree is fine though the top half seems to be dead. I ordered 12 knockout roses and only a couple survived. When I contacted the Stark Bros. I got a lecture on how these were in greenhouses in Ohio and they may not yet be adapted to cold weather. Hmmm, I live in North Carolina. Better to get them from Lowes.
Stark Bros are very good in honoring their guarantee and I now have credit for the roses.. not sure what I want to order next though.
On June 11th, 2012, nukusjeff added the following:
Pawpaws in the NE are typically an understudy species but in the south they can get to 30-40 feet in height and more than a foot in diameter. I appreciate the statement that my experience was honest.
One pawpaw that is being replaced in the fall is in fact alive I discovered. Actually it is only the root stock that has life. I have moved it further into the woods in which I live. Hoping it acts as a pollinator.
The trees that came all the way from Oregon adapted well to the climate found in North Carolina and are looking super in my partial shade yard. They are planted in the same spots I had the trees that perished. Maybe they didn't have them in greenhouses? They arrived in May whereas the Stark Bros. trees I think were shipped and planted in November when they were dormant.
I am planning on buying some Pakistan Mulberry trees. Do those come in Stark® EZ Start® System pots?
All the best.On June 11th, 2012, nukusjeff added the following:
"understory"On Jun 11, 2012, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Jun 6, 2012 2:46 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Stark Bro's is dedicated to providing quality trees and service to our customers and we take pride in that. Your feedback here is always welcome because you are sharing honest experiences with our company!
Other growers and nursery stock suppliers might carry bare root pawpaws, but the pawpaw trees we ship come in our Stark® EZ Start® System 4"x4"x10" pots complete with soil and dense root systems. Bonus fact: pawpaws are also an understory tree by nature and tend not to do so well planted in full sun.
The *potted* plants and trees we carry are grown in greenhouses here in Louisiana, Missouri and, when they arrive to you, it is recommended that you acclimatize these plants and trees so that they are less likely to be shocked by their new environment.
We thank you again for your feedback and hope you enjoy the selection of products we will have available to you in future seasons. :)
On May 28, 2012, hah Waukesha County, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:
I ordered Contender Peach Dwarf Supreme and Illinois Everbearing Mulberry .
The Mulberry was in a pot, but all pruned up (so looked like a long stick). It is just a few weeks later, and it has budded huge leaves all around. A very happy tree, despite me planting it way in the back and pretty much ignoring it.
The contender tree was bareroot (also a stick). I could see leaves just starting to bud after about 2.5 weeks. They are still just starting to peek out, but the tree is green and seems to be growing. Came taller than expected.
When choosing a company to buy apple trees from, save your time and just order from Stark Bros. Needless to say, you will not be disappointed. Like me, you will be extremely pleased by the vigorous, healthy, well rooted, nice diameter trees. I would also recommend to get their supreme versions, as these are advertised to be their best of the bunch. Stark Bros also preprunes these bargain trees prior to sending them on their journey thru the mail system to your house. Just as a comparison, I purchased a similar Golden Delicious from a big box store since it was priced at only 5 bucks. The roots on the big box store tree were pathetically shallow and weak. That bamboo rod they shove in the pot is really needed to keep this tree standing. I also bought a couple of tree wisteria plants for landscaping, and they are doing well. Stark Bros already is reaping benefits from my word of mouth as my boss at work will be ordering from them based on my experience. Stark Bros has made a happy customer in PA.
I have a moderately large (25 trees) seasonal orchard in Minnesota of 95% Stark trees. I have been planting Stark trees for three years now. In all that time I have lost only 3 trees (during the summer months) and they have been replaced with quality stock -- no questions asked.
Any company can grow/ship trees and have them die no matter the care, once in a while. These are living things and you can't bat 100% all the time.
These Stark trees are ALL blooming now (3 years on most -- 2 trees bloomed the year they were planted). This is the kind of quality and customer service that makes me come back time and time again.
I can honestly say that I have ordered a few trees from other companies and it has been hit and miss. With Stark's trees I really don't have any issues.
I love Stark Brothers. I ordered 50 fruit and nut trees of various varieties last year, as well as blackberries, blueberries and grapes. Everything came in great condition. We only had 2 trees & 1 blueberry bush of the group not make it through the season, and Stark Brothers promptly replaced them when I called without any hassle at all. We ordered several new trees this year, and all are thriving.
Every thing we have received from Stark Bros. has been packaged well and arrives very quickly in tip top shape. Nut trees, fruit trees, and berries arrived looking as if they never went through transit and took off growing happily.
On Apr 28, 2012, newbie2006 Alachua, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:
I have done a lot of mail order shopping for plants, and have found this site to be be quite reliable. I wanted to take a moment to let y'all know about the *amazing* experience I had with Stark Bros. not only was the shipment delivered in a timely manner, but when they arruved they were in excellent condition, packed beautifully and the soil was still moist. To top it off shipping was even free!
This was my first order with Stark Bros, though this was not the first time I tried an "online nursery." I was worried about ordering again from an online nursery since so many others I've tried in the past were just pathetic (not to mention none of the plants from the other companies have survived).
I have to say I was blown away by the quality of their products. I ordered 23 trees (mostly fruit and nut trees) and 5 grapevines. The trees were extremly well packaged and arrived in pristine condition. We planted them same-day and the plants seem to be doing well. The trees were much bigger than I anticipated! In fact, for trees of similar size from our local nursery or home improvement store, I would have paid a signficant amount more, so I am glad I gave Stark Bros a try!
Everything has gone smoothly with this order, and I fully intend to purchase more trees from Stark Bros in the very near future. I would most definitely recommend Stark Bros to anyone looking for a quality product!
I am so very excited to see our beautiful new trees start to bloom and thrive!
I have ordered 4 times from Stark Bros Nursery and I had an issue with a few plants that died, probably because how i planted them and where I planted them. When I called Stark Bros Nursery about the plants, they promptly replaced them with new plants. no hassles, no extra charges, just prompt and courtious service. It has been a pleasure dealing with Star Bros Nursery. I highly recommend them.
Posted on April 3, 2012, updated April 8, 2012
I ordered a tree from them, deluxe, and it came as a horrible tree. The bud joint looked like they tried about five times before they got one to take. The scion wood was badly beaten up, with cuts, cracks, and splits running up the entire tree. I kept trying to cut it down to the good wood, but kept finding more damage, and finally just destroyed the tree.
They refunded the money, and were not particularly difficult to deal with, but their quality control is just atrocious. What is the point of having deluxe trees if they come like this? A deluxe tree should be straight, undamaged, and clean.
On April 8th, 2012, TA152H added the following:
Because I couldn't get the variety any place else (Bubblegum Plum), I ordered another one. It was not good quality, but not horrible either like the original. It's not Supreme, it's mediocre. I received four other trees the next day from a preferred vendor, and the difference in quality is very noticeable.
Still, if this had been the original tree, I would have rated them neutral, not negative, because it's not bad. But the first tree was so poor, and this tree was not great, and would recommend different vendors if you really want a nice tree. On Apr 8, 2012, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Apr 4, 2012 8:58 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
A Stark Supreme Tree® tree should be what you expected: a top-grade tree. We put our pride in our quality service *and* product so it is a true disappointment to hear that this tree did not meet your -- and our own -- quality standards. This type of feedback is much appreciated because, without this insight, we would not have the opportunity to correct our mistakes and make changes for better service to you: our customer.
You have been refunded for the Stark Supreme Tree® tree, but let us send you another one of those trees on top of that -- at no charge to you. Please give us a call (800.325.4180) or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we may have a chance to redeem our name, and our Stark Supreme Tree®, in your mind.
On Apr 6, 2012, oosa Northbrook, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
Absolutely wonderful healthy trees. Exceeded my expectations.
I ordered from different nurseries before. This year we are planting a large new orchard of over 20 trees. I ordered 5 of them from Stark Bro's. Should have ordered all 20 trees from them. Very high quality, especially compared to other mail order places. I wish I found this place earlier.
I ordered from Stark Bros. for the first time this spring, based on the information and reviews from this site. I was not disappointed! I ordered an Asian plum, which came beautifully packaged with gorgeous roots. It was a full inch diameter, and over three feet tall! I have ordered from Gurney's in the past, and based on the price, I expected a teeny stick. It's only been in the ground a week, and already the buds are swelling.
Stark Bros. has gained a customer, and Gurney's has lost one.
Stark Brothers Nursery, 11548 Highway NN, Louisiana, Missouri.
Items ordered by phone and paid by credit card. Trees shipped by UPS.
Found online. They supply bare root trees and other items for garden and orchard. I have ordered 3 trees from them; one is growing and producing fruit, the other two are not.
In 2009 I ordered 2 bareroot Honey Crisp Apple Trees. They were planted according to instructions that fall and began to grow the next year, 2010.
For three successive years now, the trees have failed to produce any flowers; flowers will bud into apples. I bought the tree to grow apples not to grow leaves. These were sold as apple trees. For three years the grees are growing branches and leaves but no flowers and hence no fruit. Trees have not been sprayed or abused that would stop flowers from forming. Trees are well fertilized.
Last year, 2011. I called the company customer service to complain. The service rep told me to cool it. She was unprepared to give any advice or help. I was told to wait until next year and see if the trees would bud.
I just called the customer service, this year, 2012, and spoke with the head of the department, Tabitha. I told her that I wanted a refund.
She refused telling me that my 1 year warranty had expired. Then the conversation got into an argument. Yet she / they tell me that I should be patient and eventually the trees (might) produce blooms. Each year gets a little farther from their one year "guarantee". This is a scam. How long do I have to wait on their trees to produce fruit?
I spent over $50 for bareroot trees that produce nothing but leaves. This company should do the right thing and refund my money, which they refuse to do. Their customer 'no service' representative, Tabitha, was rude on the phone and did not even offer any solution. In her opinion, this incident is my own bad luck.
I would not advise purchasing any products from this company. They are not customer service friendly, especially due to the nature of the product they offer. If they sold me a car, or a washing maching, I would be able to tell right away if I got good or bad merchandise. In this case, I have to wait years to find out - and that - they are unwilling to refund if their fruit trees do not produce fruit.
If they sell me a non-fruit producing fruit tree, what is that to them??
On Apr 3, 2012, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Apr 3, 2012 5:16 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Stark Bro's is dedicated to providing quality trees and service to our customers and has been since 1816. Negative feedback here always leaves us glum, but we welcome the sharing of honest experiences with our company!
Our records indicate that we have gone above and beyond fulfilling our Promise of Satisfaction (which states "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.") While the warranty is limited to a year after purchase, if, after an adequate amount of time has passed with no sign of flowers or fruit, and all our advice and your efforts to help them along were exhausted, it would be understandable and we would be willing to make an exception.
Like you said, we have upheld our warranty by replacing the first tree, and we went above and beyond our warranty by offering you a stock credit refund on that free replacement tree which you used toward another Honeycrisp apple tree. We are very sorry you are dissatisfied with us not refunding you at this point for your living trees that simply have not *yet* produced flowers/fruit. We are eager to advise you on helping your young Honeycrisp apple trees along to fruiting maturity which, with apples, may take anywhere from 2-5 years depending on their environment.
Please let us offer our services to help your trees along by emailing us directly at email@example.com. We really do want them to be the apple trees you were hoping for when they're ready! :)
On Mar 29, 2012, auntnana21 Fall Branch, TN wrote:
I've ordered from Stark Brothers for years. My little orchard is now 100+ of apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and apricots. I recently moved an ugly apple tree (not a Stark but one I grafted myself) and ordered a Stark Orleans apple to replace it. Now I know we've had an unusually warm spring but their growing rate is ridiculous! I mean that in a good way. A couple of weeks after planting I was walking through the newest part of the orchard and had to think about which tree was the replacement because it had leafed out so well! I've only had to call in for a replacement a couple of times over the past decade or so and the customer service is top notch. No hassles or haggles and the replacements did well. Last year I had an unusual ailment with one of my trees. I sent pictures to Stark asking for help and advice. They responded very promptly, courteously, and were exactly right on the diagnosis! I lost the tree but the new one is flourishing.
How about the fruits? They seem to always produce within at least two years. I've now won two master baker awards at the regional fair using the Montmorency cherries in my pie! Nuf said? Although my mother was a little disappointed over the peaches last year. My father came to help me pick fruit and noticed some of the newer peach trees had their first ripe peaches. Well we stood right there next to the tree and ate them all. None left for him to take home! Maybe I'll save her some this year.
My sister thought she wanted to plant an apple tree so I gave her my catalog. She thought they were expensive but I told her "You get what you pay for. Order the Stark!" I've made the mistake in the past and bought a couple from Home Depot or Lowes. They were dug up and burned. She ordered the Stark and uttered the oh so painful "You were right about Stark" phrase. She has an all-around black thumb but her tree is thriving.
Are they a little more expensive than the local big box stores? Yes. Are they worth it? Absolutely! The customer service alone makes up for the price difference. I will be a long time customer and hope my kids will be one day also.
I have been trying to grow Paw Paw trees for about 10-12 years now (back in the day when all I could find were the little sticks in cellophane sleeves). I have planted probably 7 or 8 of the bare root variety (not from Stark) with little success.
Last year (2011), I was please to find 4 different varieties from Stark. I planted 2 of them in the spring and was so happy with them that I ordered, and planted, 4 more in the fall.
They look to all be doing well this spring (with one of the little guys even producing flowers -- I will use those flowers to pollinate one of the previous plants).
So far so good, the ordering process was definately easier than the searching and choosing parts. I placed a small order, though I could easily have placed a much larger order, I want to have a good idea of what I am dealing with before commiting a lot of my gardening dollars to a company.
I searched for a fruit tree supplier that would hae a good reputation on Dave's Garden, whihc is how I found Stark Bros at all. I crossed my fingers that they would offer fair sized, study apricot trees as this years addition to my dwarf home orchard. Since they do, I ordered two Dwarf Supreme trees at 27.99 each:
Wilson Delicious Apricot Dwarf Supreme
Harglow Apricot Dwarf Supreme
and then found some Hinnonmaki Red Gooseberries that I would like to grow too, so bought two of those at 11.99 each.
There was a shipping special that added up to free shipping on my order, which is a big plus since most companies charge almost as much for shipping per tree as they do for the trees!
Anyway, if this company pans out and is as good as I hope it is, I saw peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, cherries and currents I'd love to add to my orchard.
On Mar 12, 2012, suzyqorchids Lexington, KY wrote:
Ordered dwarf 'Blushingstar' peach. Arrived on time and roots are in great shape. However, two of the 5 side branches are broken; I planted it anyway since I think it is healthy and will grow new ones. Sure hope so! They were great about no substitutions as I requested too. Hope in a few years to have beautiful white peaches!
Posted on March 17, 2011, updated March 9, 2012
Posted on June 24, 2010, updated March 17, 2011
Posted on May 2, 2010, updated June 24, 2010
Posted on March 8, 2010, updated May 2, 2010
Posted on March 10, 2004, updated March 8, 2010
I've always been happy with their fruit trees - they really HAVE started bearing after a couple of years and have grown well for me.
I've also been pleased with their strawberry plants, bareroot raspberries and blackberries.
Not too happy with their dogwood tree, though - $20 is a lot to pay for an unbranched whip, with a trunk less than 1/2 inch diameter, in a very small (4 inch, I think) pot. It looks healthy and like it will grow, but it'll be a while before it amounts to much.
On July 9th, 2004, AS added the following:
I'd definitely be cautious about the dogwood, unless you can baby it for a year or two. Its tiny root system didn't survive a month of our hot, dry summer, even in improved soil - needed watering every other day and finally wilted irreversibly. I'm sure they'd replace it if I asked, but I won't bother since I can't give it the care it obviously needs. The peach tree, on the other hand, is now 7 feet tall in its second year and had 10-15 peaches (before the squirrels ate them all while they were still green, small and hard!) On March 8th, 2010, AS changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
Mixed experience this time, somewhere between positive and neutral. I was very pleased with the two apple trees - they were big and well-branched, like the trees I used to get from Stark. The rest looked almost as if they had chosen small stock so they could ship the whole lot (8 fruit trees) in a single, not terribly wide, box. The peach was small but well-branched - but I'll be very surprised if this one bears fruit within the next 2-3 years. The rest had trunks smaller than my little finger. A couple were unbranched whips, and the others had one or two puny branches. The roots looked decent, and provided they thrive, I'll be satisfied. I can't get these same varieties locally. But for roughly $25 a tree, I expect a bit better.
So for now, I'm withholding judgement. If the tiny trees do better than I expect, I'll upgrade to positive.On May 2nd, 2010, AS added the following:
Most of the trees leafed out nicely, though a third of them (the whips) look like bushes rather than trees and will need a lot more training than I expected. As I expected, I'm very pleased with the apples and one peach. Most of the others are healthy, and satisfactory except for the small size for the price. But one tree, which had a very crooked graft and a poorer root system than the others, is sickly and looks like it's trying to die. On June 24th, 2010, AS changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
Most of the trees did about as I expected. The sickly one never managed to leaf out, but Stark gave me no trouble about scheduling a replacement for this fall. The 3 biggest trees are doing great - they remind me of the old Stark trees I used to buy. Of the whips and smaller trees, one impressed me by growing to almost the same height as the apples, so far. The others are maybe a year or two behind. I can live with that, though I wish they grew their smaller stock for another year before selling it. Provided the replacement for the dead tree is fine, I'd call the experience mostly positive. The size was a mixed bag, but most were very healthy and the problem tree (which can happen with any company) was replaced without hassles. On March 17th, 2011, AS added the following:
Final impression is still "mostly positive." Got a replacement tree that was unbranched but with much better roots and a much thicker trunk than the original tree (which was pretty puny).
After their second spring pruning (this year), I'm definitely happier with the 3 big trees than the rest. I had an abundance of new branches to work with on those, and it was easy to pick good branches to keep. The smaller trees still have only a few branches, and some never developed one in the right direction to use as a central leader. With good pruning, that should change this year. Still, it's a nuisance. A pity they don't offer more than one size, with different prices and a description of the caliper on the trees.On March 9th, 2012, AS added the following:
Final update: Mostly positive, but with caveats.
The apples and peach did very well, and are turning into nice, big trees. Looks like they might even have fruit this year. Most of the others (which arrived as thin whips) are growing well enough, though still quite small. Right now, they're mostly about the size I could buy at our local stores - so basically, I would have been better off buying locally, as long as I wasn't too picky as far as variety. The pear whips are still ridiculously small. I'd forgotten that pears are slow growers. Definitely wouldn't buy those again as whips from Stark unless there was something I absolutely had to have and was very, veeery patient... On Mar 9, 2012, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Aug 9, 2010 1:25 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Please be sure to let us know the condition of your replacement when you receive it this fall! Customer Service can be reached by phone (800.325.4180) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
So glad to hear your other trees are growing strong and well. : )"
Posted on March 7, 2012, updated March 7, 2012
I purchased 3 Pink Lady dwarf apple trees. I was completely satisfied with the transaction. Their website is well organized and their order process simple and efficient. The plants arrived promptly, they were as described, well packed and in excellent condition. I asked their customer service when when the plants would produce first fruit (I didn't know if they were 1 or 2 year stock). They answered promptly (2 to 3 yrs, which i hope may be a bit pessimistic) but nevertheless a prompt answer.
Now then, when i asked them what is the rootstock for these plants, i got crickets. Nothing. Zilch. I asked again same thing. Silence.
I paid $27 each for the plants, i think i am entitled to simple answer. It cannot be that difficult!
On March 7th, 2012, RidleyWalker changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
On Mar 7, 2012, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Mar 7, 2012 12:44 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
You are certainly entitled to an answer! Please accept our apologies for failing to give you a timely response. All of our dwarf apple trees are budded to either M26 or M9 rootstock. We do not sell our trees specifically by their rootstock, and our Customer Service representatives do not know which of those two are exactly on the trees shipped to you. You can be sure that your Pink Lady dwarf apple trees have either M26 or M9 rootstocks, though.
Has your question been answered, or can we explain this better? Please feel free to email us directly at email@example.com, or call our Customer Service Manager at 800.325.4180. However we can be of help, we'd like to be!
I have been a stark customer for many years, my beloved late grandfather was a lifelong stark customer and when I decided to grow a small orchard on my farm,just like he did, he said these words to me, boy you need to order your new trees from stark brothers ,here is my catalogue they are the very best trees money can buy I only grow stark here,his trees are still producing to this day,my trees are doing well, now my son has purchased four apple trees from stark last fall, I told him the exact words my grandpa told me,,,three generations of stark growers ,,anyone reading this can feel safe buying stark,they are the best trees money can buy. thank you stark for all your good work.
I ordered some Asian Persimmon trees from Stark Bros. year before last. I got them shipped in fall, since I am in zone 8, and the trees looked great when they arrived. Well 2 out of 3 didn't make it through the harsh winter - but I had no problems getting Stark to refund my credit card.
I ordered replacements this past fall, but soon after ordering I unexpectedly had to move to another county (long story). I forgot to email them and when it came time to ship, they of course shipped to the address I had given them - my old address. Oops. Well I contacted them just to see if the person at my old place had maybe called them about getting plants they didn't order - no such luck. However, they were generous enough to reship my order to my new address free of charge, no questions asked. And it was totally my mistake for getting swept up in the drama of life and not emailing them my new address. I'm awestruck. You just don't find that kind of customer service these days. I'll be a customer for life.
On Feb 24, 2012, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Mar 2, 2012 12:02 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Your review gave our Customer Service Team all smiles! : ) We're so happy you'll get your order this spring. Thank you for letting us grow with you.
I have been ordering fruit trees from Starks for about ten years. Ten years ago they were just a mediocre nursery but they were bought by new owners a few years ago and since then I have gotten quality stock every time. Their website is much improved from the old one and their variety selections have improved as well. I wouldn't quite go so far as to say they are top-5 but they are definitely above average and a place I don't hesitate to order from if they have what I want. Their shipping rates are also very reasonable, lower than most places.
This was my first fruit tree order from Stark Brothers. I have purchased fruit tree from several sources over the years so I was surprised that Stark Bros. trees were so much better than the others including other high rated fruit tree suppliers.
I wished I would have started ordering from Stark when I first started my home orchard.
On Feb 23, 2012, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Mar 2, 2012 11:58 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
It's true that customer satisfaction is our highest priority here, so you've no idea how *good* it is to hear that your first-time order was so pleasantly received! : ) Thank you for sharing. We're proud of our stock-- and it sounds like it's in good hands in your home orchard. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to grow with you! : )
On Dec 26, 2011, camdenguy Stoutland, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:
I ordered 13 semi-dwarf supreme apple trees on Nov. 17 and 6 dwarf supreme peach trees on Nov.19 2011. The avg. cost was $24 each (Stark's offered FREE shipping) I dug my holes on Nov. 21 and then waited for my trees. When I got home from work on the 23rd, there were three large Stark Bros. boxes sitting on my west porch. We had family come in from out of state for Thanksgiving so we could'nt plant the trees until Sun. Nov. 27. My wife and I planted the trees in about 2 hours (it was raining, she was cranky) all trees were packaged good, looked healthy, well labeled, pre-pruned, and with large root systems. I should mention that I am now the fourth generation of my family to plant Stark Bros trees in SW Missouri. When our children and grandchrilden came home for Christmas, they insisted on going to the "instant orchard" to take family pictures. Stark's may have helped us start a NEW family tradition. We will order Stark Bros. blueberries and grape vines for spring 2012 delivery. We could'nt be happier with the service and product we received. Thank you Stark Bros. for helping me continue our family tradition!
On Dec 26, 2011, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Mar 2, 2012 11:51 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
And what a wonderful family tradition to have! The Stark family started with only a small apple orchard back in 1816 and continued *their* family tradition for nearly 180 years. : ) We know how exciting it is! So glad we could be a part of it with you. We'd be honored to see pictures should you ever want to show off the beauty of your home orchard. : )
I have to say I've been buying from Stark Brothers for 4 years now and am consistently pleased! This company always has great offers and prices and GOOD QUALITY trees. I ordered some blueberries this year and was discontent with the size for a few selections in 1 gallon pots. I called customer service and they apologized for the matter, told me to keep the selections i was discontent with, and refunded my money the next day! I also have NEVER had anything I've ordered from them fail to grow and I've ordered alot over the years. Stark trees grow and grow! For real!
I ordered from Stark Brothers for the first time this Fall - five apple trees and five cherry trees.
I was very pleased with the excellent communication from the company when I placed my order and again when it shipped, but even more pleased with the order itself. The packaging was wonderful, and each tree arrived with lovely moist roots and a very professional pruning job. The trees were nice size and very sturdy. I'm looking forward to watching them grow and bear in a few years.
I will definitely order from Stark Brothers again!
On Nov 19, 2011, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Mar 2, 2012 12:07 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
10 trees... you've started a mini-orchard! : ) We're so happy to know that your experience was a good one-- thank you for letting us grow with you. Fruit trees and plants have been our pride & joy for almost 200 years, and we love sharing the passion! Please keep us updated on how your apples and cherries fare. : )
Another wonderful nursery- among the best in customer service and quality- if a plant does not grow for some reason, let them know and they reship, no hassle whatsoever- most of my fruit trees have come from here and i will continue to order from them without any hestitation
Posted on June 18, 2011, updated August 24, 2011
Posted on April 9, 2011, updated June 18, 2011
In the midwest (Marion, IA), I have ordered and received the following bare-root trees from Stark Brothers' nursery:
Dwarf Goldcot Apricot (qnty = 2)
Hardy Giant Asian Pear (qnty = 2)
Dwarf Chojuro Asian Pear
Dwarf New Century Asian Pear
Dwarf Shiro Plum
Dwarf Starking Delicious Plum
All were received the week of April 2 (Wed, April 6) and immediately soaked in water. Four trees were soaked for 6 hours, the remaining five were soaked for 20 hours.
All nine bare-root trees had been pruned (both above ground vegetatively and roots). All nine were planted into self-watering 16 inch containers with Miracle Grow Plus Potting Soil with micronutrients. This was amended with Oscomote (slow-release fertilizer with micronutrients). Finally, worm bedding, Plant-Tone organic fertilizer and Bio-Tone natural Starter. The amounts were appopriate (per the stated guidelines) for the volume of potting soil in each container.
I expended great expense and effort in this "experiment" to reduce variables. The soil is NOT contaminated (assumption: commercial products mentioned above do not contain disease-producing elements or micro-organisms).
All nine self-watering containers have a one to two layer of mulch on the top surface.
All nine bare-root trees are what is commonly referred to as "whips" (few, if any, lateral branches).
This common practice improves space utilization for shipping purposes.
In addition, I have several purchased potted trees from last fall that I have potted in a similar manner, but with commercial-grade pots (large drainage holes) rather than the self-watering pots.
One variable I will NOT be able to control: the proliferation of Japanese beetles during the growing season and the possibility of disease infection resulting from their feeding on leaf tissues.
As the growing season progresses, I will provide updates on this review (leaf bud growth, flowers, size, diseases, etc).
On June 18th, 2011, pchinski added the following:
An update to the progress of the trees on June 18...
The two Korean Giant Asian Pear trees have "died back". A more definitive description: initial leaf and stem growth took place on several (2-3) buds along the whip, but have recently discolored and dried, curled up and no longer exist on the main stem. Thus there is no growth along the main stem or "whip" as it is commonly called.
I had initial doubts for all the trees the first few weeks as a few had no "branches" but were the "whips" and the length of time it took for new growth to appear seemed rather long...
But all trees (minus the two Giant Korean Asian Pears) have had new growth along several "buds" of the whip which I was surprised to see. All trees are still in the self-watering containers. I had to drain out excess water for some periods of time as we had quite a bit of rain and the soil within the containers was rather saturated.
No insect infestations of any sort.
As stated previously, no soil borne diseases since potting soil was used.
Soon our population of Japanese beetles will appear.
No flowers on any branches (not to be expected first year).
The overall "vigor" as demonstrated by the new growth is good, with the exception of the two Giant Korean Asian Pears.
The success rate so far: 7/9 trees surviving.On August 24th, 2011, pchinski added the following:
An update to the progress of the trees on August 24, 2011....
The two Korean Giant Asian Pears have died. No new growth has returned. The Japanese beetle infestation really took its toll on the leaves of the trees. Insecticide helped at times, but the numbers were so high and their presence so unpredictable, it was difficult to prevent them from consuming the tree leaves.
The stretch of hot, humid weather (approximately three weeks) in July ended up reducing the growth rates, but the recent moderate, average temperatures has spurred new growth.
I will now inform Stark Brothers of the two Korean Giant Asian Pears having not survived early on and reference the timing of the loss of the trees.
Success rate up to this point: 7/9 trees surviving.On Aug 24, 2011, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On May 23, 2011 11:01 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
We look forward to hearing about the progress of your fruit orchard! : )
Posted on May 16, 2011, updated July 30, 2011
First time i have ordered from stark bros... 1 walnut,1 almond,1 cherry,1 pear ,1 plum ,1 seed grown pecan and 2 pawpaw trees. All but the pecan tree are growing vigorously. Champion english walnut has grown by a third in height!! I was a little worried ordering through the mail but these trees are great . well maybe not the pecan lol but we'll give it some more time before sending it back.
On July 30th, 2011, maland added the following:
Crazy , Pecan tree sprouted in the third week of july , learn something new everyday.Other trees are still going strong...On Jul 30, 2011, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On May 23, 2011 10:51 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Welcome to Stark Bro's! And thanks for stopping by the Garden Watchdog to leave a comment. : ) All of our trees are grown right here in our orchards, & we take a lot of pride & love in getting them started for you. Every plant & tree that you order is covered by a 1-year warranty, too: should anything not live, *for any reason*, we'll ship you a free replacement.
It isn't the easiest thing, growing your own fruit, but it has a lot of delicious rewards! Thanks again for leaving a comment here, & please keep us updated on the progress of your trees. : )
On Jul 3, 2011, StevenColorado Englewood, CO wrote:
I have used Stark Bros several times. I don't like that I am not buying local, but that's my only complaint.
I find the prices a bit high, but the plant quality is always good. I have had to call customer service several times and have found the support staff intelligent and very well informed about plant growing.
Occasionally I have had a plant die and Stark has replaced it promptly with no hassles.
The order tracking is good, and I received emails stating when the order shipped, so I was given a few days' notice to prepare.
On Jun 25, 2011, ErockRPh Glocester, RI (Zone 6a) wrote:
I'm just starting my first garden this year, so I ordered a 10-pack of Purple Passion asparagus crowns, three thornless boysenberries, and a Raspberry Lover's Assortment (3 each of Heritage, Caroline and Anne) to get started. I was very happy with the price, even compared to my local big-box stores.
I did not get to plant everything out until a few days after I received my plants. Despite this, and despite our swampy spring up in the Northeast, my plants are all doing great. My asparagus are sending up a second set of shoots right now, and they are all thick and healthy. I can't wait to harvest some next spring.
I found their website to be very professional-looking, easy to use and well laid out. I have not needed to contact customer service for anything at this point.
Overall, I am very satisfied with my experience with Stark Bros. I will definitely be buying more asparagus and berry plants from them next year, and I will stongly consider using them if I decide to add some fruit trees to my yard in the future.
I bought two grafted Paw Paw trees. One has lived and the other has died. I contacted the company and they are replacing the tree this fall. I had no problems getting the replacement tree. They were very helpful.
On Jun 15, 2011, urbangratitude Clearwater, FL wrote:
We bought our first home 8 months ago,we are in the city close to the beach in Florida,the property has lots of shade trees,not many fruit trees.So looking add more but still being a newbie to this,I searched and searched online,and kept going back to Starks,I have seen many great reviews,a few negatives,but I went ahead and took my chances.I am so glad I did.I got 1 semi dwarf crab apple,1 almond,2 pecans,2 kiwis,2 grapes.My crab apple has only been planted for a week,and its full of new leaves,my almond trees have beautiful buds growing,my grapes are growing fast.I am so happy,I am so pleased.Now,being a newbie,I never seen a bare root tree before,never knew pruning could mean not a single branch left on a tree,so fearing the shock of opening my box,I researched bare root trees and prepared myself,and had I not,I probably would have had a heart attack.I planted these sticks in the yard with love and faith,I knew they were gonna grow beautifully, and they are,right now looking healthy and happy.I can't wait to order a gazillion trees for my yard,I wish I had ordered more this spring...Thank you Starks!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted on June 9, 2011, updated June 10, 2011
I had hoped to be able to write a positive or even a neutral review regarding Stark Bro’s. This will not be a rant about how I believe they run their business or how things are done there. It is merely how I felt from start to finish with my first order from them.
When I was looking at placing my order for what I wanted online; I was very pleased with the level of user friendliness the site had to offer. I was even pleased when I called into customer service to ask them some questions regarding a few of the fruit trees I was thinking about purchasing. They seemed very knowledgeable and answered all of my questions, and I was satisfied with this portion of my experience. This experience made me comfortable enough to order the products from them online.
During my order, I wanted a product added to my order but was not sure if it could be done due to the fact that I had already completed the order. I called customer service and asked them if it was possible and they handled the changing of the order right over the phone without any problems. Again, I was very pleased with the service. The following day, after doing some research on a couple of the trees I added to my order, I decided to again change them. I called customer service and once again they helped me without a problem. All was completed, the order indicated that all items were in stock and would be shipped out in the next few days. All I had to do now was wait for the shipment. I was a happy man, after all everything seemed to be going as smooth as possible.
Here is where things changed; the day my box arrived. The box arrived on time, just as their estimate said it would. Upon opening the box, I was completely thrown back by the conditions of the trees. For starters, I ordered (2) 2-n-1 Cherry Semi-Dwarf, (1) 2-n-1 Classic Pie Apple Tree Semi-Dwarf, (1) 2-n-1 Plum Semi-Dwarf, and (2) Hybrid Popular (Shade Tree). The condition of the hybrid poplars was this: both of the tree’s root were completely crammed into the box, so much so that I counted at least 3-4 (main roots) snapped off and hanging by a mere thread. Yes that’s right, the main roots, not the little stringy roots, but the roots that were at least ¼ in diameter. I was also told that the bare root trees were to be wrapped in a wet/moist material to help keep the roots from drying out. Both of the Hybrid Poplars trees came as bare root, and had absolutely NO wrapping around them. The roots felt very dry and very prone to snapping, I had to get them soaking in a water bucket right away. Another thing I noticed with the Poplars was that one had 10 nice branches and the other one had ZERO branches, it was a 4ft stick (I guess referred to as a whip). The next problem and this is the one that has caused me the most grief, was that the 2-n-1 Classic Pie Apple was completely missing from the box. I had to dig around for the packing list and there I saw that that particular tree was crossed out on the invoice and below marked in hand writing was a line that read “Sorry Item # 13896 is no longer available”. I was immediately frustrated by this because the whole time in placing the order, and being on the phone with customer service, never once was I told the item was out of stock. I was also charged for the tree even though it was never shipped out.
The following day, I got on the phone with customer service to explain to them all my concerns and to see what could be done. There was no explanation in regards to the broken roots other than if it dies then the tree will be replaced up to one year from now. When asked why the tree didn’t come with any wet/moist material protecting the roots, it was explained that, it is usually is normal for them to be wrapped but in case, the whole box is plastic lined so that should help keep the moisture to the roots. This was not an explanation that satisfied me. When asked about why one of the Poplar trees was nothing more than a stick, it was explained that it probably was due to them not having any other available. Finally my biggest concern was what was to be done about the apple tree that never came. After a little investigation, they said that well we just don’t have any more to sell. The only thing offered was a refund. I said the refund was the last thing I wanted; I wanted everything that could be done to be done to find that tree and have it sent to me. Six hours later, I got a call back stating there was nothing else besides a refund that could be done. I couldn’t even wait until next fall because they are no longer going to be selling that one anymore nor did they have any other varieties that were a 2-n-1. They mentioned that they tried to call me a couple of times to tell me that the tree was no longer in stock, even though they charged me for it. I went back through my phone call records (I have an IP phone and can track them in real time) and not once since placing the order has any out of state calls came to the house. My wife is also there all the time and would know if any calls came in.
I just wanted to state that this was MY PERSONAL experience. I wish it was a more positive one and I also had high hopes for future orders from them. I also had several people who were waiting to see how my order went with them before making future orders with Starks, which they are now re-thinking that choice. While I have nothing but good things to say about the customer service, I can’t say the same for division of the company that is in charge of putting the plants in boxes, pruning, and shipping. In all I have come away very unsatisfied with my order. I will most likely not be doing business with Stark Bros again.
On June 10th, 2011, spacemanzero changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Shortly after finishing up my review and posting it online. I was contacted by Stark Bros representative. I am not sure if it was in regards to the original post or if it was just coincidence but I wanted to share it.
The rep wanted to make sure that whatever could be done to help with my concerns was completely taken care of. I did mention that the tree that I wanted was no longer available and was of particular interest to me and that I hoped someone there was able to track it down. Unfortunately this was not the case as the tree was no longer there nor would it be coming back in stock. They did however offer me an alternative. They could ship out a different apple tree that also had two different types on it. The only downside to this was that it was not the original type I wanted and I will have to wait about 5 months to receive the tree. This was acceptable to me and made me feel a bit better that I was not going to have to go shopping around for someone else to get the tree from. They also expressed many apologies for the condition that Hybrid Poplar trees were in and said they would happily replace them if they showed no signs of growth within a couple weeks. They even offered to put another out for shipment, but I declined and said I would give the trees I have a chance to grow.
As I said in my first post, I have all the respect in the world for the customer service. They have taken what seems like a individuals attention to my concerns. Hopefully the problems I have experienced will help to resolve those issues so that future clients may not have to experience them. The customer service is what has changed my feeling towards the whole process.
On Jun 9, 2011, Pitcom Avondale, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:
Posted on June 8, 2011, updated June 9, 2011
Posted on June 7, 2011, updated June 8, 2011
Posted on May 23, 2011, updated June 7, 2011
I ordered Supreme Dwarf trees of the Harglow and Wilson Delicious apricots. I also ordered a supreme standard Santa Rosa Plum. I am disappointed with the apricot trees. BOTH trees are just a stick. That's it. They are about 42" tall and not one single branch anywhere on it. I don't understand the professional pruning of these trees as there is not one single pruned branch on the trees. The root balls are very unimpressive and extremely small. The Harglow is not even straight, it has a very definitive curvature to it .The largest root on the Delicious was no thicker than a pencil. I used the word was in past tense because the small root structure was cracked right at the base of the tree. I do not believe this to be a fault of Stark bros, as there was a crease in the shipping box. To sum these trees up, there is hardly any roots and no branches. I feel like i was mistakenly sent young trees that were not ready to be sold as supreme versions.
The customer service on the other hand was great. I called and told them about the problem with the cracked roots and was assured a new one would sent out. The women i spoke to was delightful and very courteous. They asked me to keep the box for a little bit, just in case it was needed. I have no problem helping out.
The Santa Rosa plum tree was SUPERB. The trunk is very thick and it has a wonderful branching pattern that was obviously well pruned. The root structure was fantastic. I felt proud to plant this tree in my yard. It really looked great.
I am left bewildered as to why i received one truly nice plum tree and two really sub par, and quite frankly, undesirable apricot trees. The tags on them read, supreme, but they look far from it. I will post an update when the replacement comes. Hopefully, it will be more in line with how nice the plum tree is.
On June 7th, 2011, Pitcom added the following:
Well, i got my replacement. This tree was undamaged, but was not much better than the original that was damaged in shipping. There is zero branches on it. The Harglow and Wislon Delicious trees i bought are whips, and the Wilson is half as thick as my pinky finger. I could have bought whips anywhere. the reason I ordered from stark was because these were supposed to be "supreme" trees professionally pruned. I really wanted to order more trees from Stark bros, especially considering how nice this plum tree is. It already has 6" of new grwoth on all 12 branches. But I feel duped on the apricot trees. The only reason i am not giving a negative is because of this plum tree. I will however be calling Stark bros to give some feedback.On June 8th, 2011, Pitcom changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
After talking to customer service at Stark bros, I have decided to change my opinion on my order. The customer service rep, was nice, just as the last time. She stated that I should have received well branched trees, which fit their description as "supreme", and the only reason she could think as to why I did not, is because there may have not been any left. If this is true, then the vendor should have contacted me, to let me know of the situation, and asked if i wanted to cancel the order, or receive whips. They offered no resolution, and in my view Stark bros does not stand by their product. When you buy something online and are given a clear description of what that item should be, you do not expect to receive anything other than what you ordered. If all of my trees were as nice as the plum tree, I would be ordering a dozen more next season. But as it stands Stark bros has lost my business and any recommendations i would give to friends.On June 9th, 2011, Pitcom changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I wanted to thank Stark bros for responding and addressing the issue that I had with my order. Once again, the Customer Service was top notch, and it was a pleasure to converse with them. I declined accepting a refund, as i intend to keep the trees.
After talking to the Manager, I was informed that NOT ALL varieties of the premium trees will have branches. It was explained to me that I may have received one of these varieties. It was also explained, that perhaps in the future, the website may indicate this to be the case with the premium trees. In my view, that is false advertising, when it clearly states on the website, that the trees will be well branched and professionally pruned. There is no excuse to justify trees that are sold as supreme and do not come that way. The way I see it, they sold all of their nice supreme trees, and they shipped out the ones that they had left in stock. I bought over 20 trees this spring from various vendors, and every single, plum, apricot, and apple tree had branches on them, except the Stark bros apricot trees.
I think the customer service at Stark Bros is top notch. I appreciate the time they took to try and rectify my problem. This shows me that they care about their customers. I hope the whips, and the nice plum tree I have grow well. if they do, perhaps I will try a second order with this company based on the good customer service they have shown. On Jun 9, 2011, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Jun 8, 2011 8:21 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
We do state that our "supreme" trees will be well-branched, so we take full responsibility for giving you that expectation. Your disappointment is completely understandable! : ( Our Customer Service Manager has looked into your situation personally. Humans err, and we do have people filling and packing each and every order sent to us. Since we sent you unbranched trees when you paid for well-branched ones, we take full responsibility! And we sincerely apologizing for not meeting the very expectations we gave you.
Our offer for a full refund stands, and we hope you will consider allowing us to correct our mistake in your personal situation. Your complaint has been logged, per your request, so that we may work hard to avoid this same issue in the future -- but if you would still like the full refund for your order, please let us know; we feel that is the only other option we have to rectify this situation.
Our true goal is to exceed your expectations... not fail to meet them. : (
Thank you for your review -- such honesty keeps us working hard to correct our mistakes and satisfy our customers.
Posted on May 20, 2011, updated June 7, 2011
Posted on April 11, 2011, updated May 20, 2011
I received a NICE apricot tree today. The tree is 5-ft with the most INCREDIBLE rootball. The rootball is a foot wide and and 8 inches deep. That is before the stragglier roots. The dry root raspberries have just about the same size rootball!! I have to believe these plants will do very well in a mix of sand, compost, topsoil, with starter fertilizer in a couple months. Thank you Stark Bros.
On May 20th, 2011, gracesplants added the following:
What is more positive than positive????---OUTSTANDING!!! The Harglow apricot, the Methley plum, the Starking Delicious plum and the Jaclyn raspberries are leafing out beautifully. Customer assistance is AWESOME! They have answered all my numerous questions politely, helpfully and pleasantly. Everyone who I have been in contact with has been wonderful. Again, thank you Stark Bros.On June 7th, 2011, gracesplants added the following:
Stark Bros.---you are Wonderful!! I just planted the Candy Crisp apple this morning. The tree arrived superbly boxed but the wet shredded paper that usually covers the roots had come off and left the roots dry ( I must point out that this is an anomoly, not the norm). I immediately placed the tree in a bucket of water, and, soaked it overnight. This is my testament to an EXCELLENT tree: The tree is 4.5 ft tall with 7 pruned branches and a 8-in wide by 12-in deep root system. After soaking the roots were moist and pliable. The GREAT kicker was that 22 green leaf buds sprouted in the time the tree soaked. NOW THAT IS ONE HECK OF A TREE!On Jun 7, 2011, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On May 23, 2011 10:36 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
You are so welcome! Your fruit tree selection sounds delicious! Thanks for letting us know how your plants are faring, & please feel free to contact us anytime if you ever have questions or issues. : )
On Jun 8, 2011 1:30 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company added:
Your enthusiastically sweet words were shared with our Customer Service Team, and what smiles appeared! : ) Thank you for sharing, you've brightened many people's day! We are proud & honored to have you as a customer.
On May 27, 2011, ashmeadskernel Indianapolis, IN wrote:
Stark Bro's has one of the widest selections of fruit and nut trees I have found. Unfortunately, they don't have some of the harder to find varieties I am most interested in. Cool thing about them is their website, ease of ordering and the fact they sell supplies as well. I wouldn't hesitate to buy from them again.
I started a small home fruit orchard 3 years ago, and have ordered fruit and nut trees from Stark Bros ~6 times since starting. Most of the trees I have gotten have done very well, and I have been happy with them.
While I've had a few cases where trees did not make it through our cold winters, Stark Bros. has been good to their word and have honored their 1-year warranty. So they have earned my respect and return business!