Posted on June 24, 2014, updated June 30, 2014
I placed my first order 06/06/14 and the trees were very nice, well wrapped and in excellent condition when they arrived. I was so impressed I ordered three more order#1175958 and when they arrived I was shocked. The trees were not well wrapped, the first set had wet paper wrapped around the roots that was still damp when I received them This shipment did not, no feeder roots like the first set, just a stump root, and very few buds,The trees seemed to be dead but planted them and hoped for the best.. I emailed customer care twice, but still no response. They talk up a good game saying they want you completely satisfied.....well I am not!
On June 30th, 2014, iculov changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
They answered my emails after a few days and refunded the total amount. They wanted me completely happy with my purchase. I would order from them again.
Purchased the 2-in-one Cherry tree, 25 pack of strawberries and a bareroot raspberry.
LOVE LOVE this nursery. The cherry tree showed up in amazing shape. Had a bit of a back slide since I over-watered it by accident but its really taken off now. The raspberry is leafing out very nicely now and the strawberries look amazing. With the strawberries it only took a few days after planting for them to start growing new leaves.
My only sad bit is that I don't have enough space to plant their amazing plants.
I recently purchased two fruit trees (2 on 1 plum, 4 on 1 antique apple) from Stark Bros and so far I am fairly pleased with both specimens. Both trees have started leafing out and seem to be doing well. I do have a few minor complaints, mostly slow response to email (usually 3-4 days, however they did send a coupon as an apology), and the fact that the grafted varieties on my plants were not labeled. In addition, the company was not able to tell me definitively what type of rootstock my trees are on (i.e. my apple could be m7 or bud118). However, the price and quality of their products are great. Overall, I've had a pretty good experience with Stark Bros and I will probably be purchasing some berry plants from them in the future.
I ordered four trees from Stark Brothers which shipped Nov. 11, 2012. Three of the trees, an apple, a pear and a cherry put out a little growth the first year, but it was obvious that the other apple was not doing well. I called their customer hotline, and was told that sometimes it takes the apple trees more time to get established, so I left it alone, continued watering etc.. I didn't see any life from it over last summer or fall. This Spring it became obvious that the tree was completely dead. I called them back today, and was very rudely told that I could not possibly get a refund from something which shipped in 2012 despite what I had been told in the summer of 2013.
On Jun 9, 2014, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Jun 9, 2014 1:20 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here regarding your apple tree. We apologize that you feel dissatisfied with the response from our customer support team regarding our limited warranty. Our Promise of Satisfaction states that you are eligible for a free one-time replacement -- or a refund of your full purchase price (if you don't want a replacement) -- as long as it is requested within a year of delivery.
If you would provide your customer number here, or reach out to our customer support manager, it will help us to better assess the situation and get a clearer view of the issue. We look forward to hearing from you.
On May 30, 2014, Johnaw Princeton Junction, NJ wrote:
excellent plants and service. I have ordered, apples, peachs,.grapes,blueberries, and pawpaw. They seem to arrive on Sat. for some reason when I' m home to plant !
Every plant ordered has"taken off" when planted which is a testiment to how they were grown before I recieved them.
Having a mail order plant company can't be easy, they must always balance their time to produce saleable plants,size of plants to ship, and trying to pack oversized trees etc so they arrive in good condition Three stars on all fronts!
On May 29, 2014, littlebunnyfufu South Sumter, SC wrote:
I have a very large acreage property with five separate fruit orchards with over 150 trees, a half acre blueberry patch, a half acre strawberry patch, and several acres for general vegetable gardening/extensive corn patches.
Therefore I spend thousands of dollars a year on edible landscaping from a dozen plus on-line nurseries. Overall, Stark Brothers is a good, reliable company with an ironclad one time plant replacement policy.
I've spent thousands of dollars with Stark Brothers alone this year because their plants have arrived in excellent condition still solidly dormant, and they ship faster than any other on-line plant purveyor I order from.
I've found that the key to being satisfied with a company is figuring out their strengths, quirks, and weaknesses. Then I stick to purchasing their best products.
If you want the largest plants from Stark Brothers, you need to order as early in the season as possible. As the shipping season reaches the end, the plants invariably get smaller regardless of the grade ordered. The supreme dwarf trees of every variety that I ordered during the winter/early spring were of gratifyingly large caliber. The supreme dwarf trees since the start of their end of season sales have been about the caliber of their normal dwarf trees from the beginning of their shipping season.
Currently all the trees I've purchased from the end of season sales have been slender whips compared to what I received two months ago. However, I'm perfectly fine with the smaller size since I paid $18 for a supreme Royalton cherry tree a couple weeks ago compared to the $30 I paid for a supreme Royalton cherry in March.
If you want the absolute biggest tree you can get, it is worth your while to order the supreme size as early as possible. Yes, supreme size really makes a tremendous difference.
The weaknesses that I have found with Stark Brothers are as follows:
1) Inferior blueberry plants compared to what you can purchase elsewhere for the same money. Their blueberry plants have been surprisingly small for the price. I've received several that were completely dried out and dead.
2) The honey berry plants even ordered toward end of season are expensive. I've received small plants of poor quality. Again I have received plants that were DOA.
3) The potted trees are small and pricey compared to what you get for bare root trees. The 2-in-1 cherry trees were 1/3 the size of a regular grade dwarf bare root cherry. The potted persimmons are even smaller than the potted cherry trees. Think restaurant drink straw in height and caliber. These small persimmon plants are frail and easily suffer watering insults.
4) Their customer service is currently overwhelmed/understaffed. I haven't gotten them to answer a customer service e-mail in weeks. If you want to reach a real live customer service representative right now, I hope your cellphone plan has unlimited minutes. I managed to grill steaks, eat my dinner, clean up the kitchen, and pay all my bills on-line while on hold in an obscenely long phone queue waiting for the next available representative who sounded very frazzled by the time she got to me.
As with all on-line nurseries, I've received orders with missing plants or plants that I didn't order. I probably get an unusually high number of errors on my orders because I tend to order 10-30 plants at a time. The current tally is two missing trees and four fruit tree varieties that I definitely didn't order.
Actually errors in plant orders are so common from every company that I've bought large and repeated orders from that I have an "oopsy section" in my orchard at the very back of the property for orphaned trees dropped into my care.
It's rather remarkable how many plants in fact have the wrong plant tags on them.
I've found customer service prompt and very responsive in between shipping seasons. I just batch my issues with orders for one involved phone call to customer service during their slow times.
Besides great quality bare root fruit trees from Stark Brothers, I've gotten large, top notch filbert trees as well. I only wished that I had ordered a couple more for my nut grove before they ran out this year.
The end of season sale that Stark Brothers has every May along with their no hassle one time plant replacement policy will insure that I'm a repeat customer every year.
I bought 13 trees from Stark recently. The tree's I ordered were mostly the supreme variety. All tree's that came were a bit "wimpy", but three trees were (below) were much smaller and thinner than the others.
1. Bartlett Pear Dwarf Supreme
2. KinderKrisp Apple semi dwarf Supreme
3. Golden Delicious dwarf Supreme.
The fourth kind, of which i bought two, had no branches and no buds. I dont think they will produce.
4. Hardened Nectarine Dwarf Supreme
I planted all of them immediately and most seem to be waking up from their nap and travels.
I wrote on the online forum about my issues, but didn't get a response. when I called about an inquiry about a sale, the people did assist me...so I have mixed reviews when it comes to the service. I'd hate to lose a growing year because i got bum plants.
the list of tree's i planted are below, in case anybody is interested....
1. Honeycrisp? Apple Dwarf Supreme
2. StarkspurĘ Red Rome Beauty Apple Dwarf Supreme
3. StarkĘ Golden Delicious Apple Dwarf Supreme
4. StarkĘ Tree Guards 40"
5. StarkingĘ Delicious? Pear Dwarf Supreme
6. Bartlett Pear Dwarf Supreme
7. KinderKrisp Apple Semi-Dwarf Supreme
8. Ozark Premier Plum Dwarf Supreme
9. Superior Plum Dwarf Supreme
10. Hardired Nectarine Dwarf Supreme
11. Blackgold® Sweet Cherry Semi-Dwarf Supreme *
12. Emperor Francis Sweet Cherry Semi-Dwarf Supreme
13. Starkrimson® Sweet Cherry Semi-Dwarf
Posted on April 21, 2014, updated May 24, 2014
I am not new to gardening, but I am new to buying plants online. I decided to take a chance on stark bros because of the good reviews on here, figuring that even the bad reviews mostly had good ending.
I will not order from here again.
We live in the wonderful era of computers and potential for automated systems. A company the size of stark bros has a responsibility to it's customers to have a record of what's going on with their order, and to provide as accurate as possible shipping times. Add me to the list of those who seem to be on the back burner and unimportant to Stark. I'm not an unreasonable person, I don't mind waiting for my plants. I would however, expect a response to an email inquiry and not have to telephone the company multiple times to try and get an answer. I also expect the customer representative I speak to to have information AT LEAST about how their system works and how long I can typically expect to wait for my order. I also expect said customer representative to not be rude to me when I ask questions trying to pry an answer from their unwilling self. How hard is it really to tell someone "Typically, we ship within x amount of days. My apologies for it not shipping when we said it would, we are doing out utmost to fix the problem and will have your plants to you as soon as possible."
Honestly, these could be the bestest most award winning plants ever and I STILL would never purchase from here again. I'd rather have less unique plants and support my local, friendly nursery than deal with "customer support," who care nothing for customer service. Stay away.
On May 24th, 2014, Kbearda changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
After this review, within hours actually, StarkBros responded here, and sent me an email apologizing for the issues and sent a $25 gift certificate. On top of that my other plants shipped almost immediately.
Once everything arrived a few days later I must say I was rather unimpressed with the packaging. The elder berries and gooseberries were stuffed into a bag with a few damp newspaper clippings around the roots and were looking fairly dried out, the boysenberries looked sick, and the strawberries had nothing protecting their roots. I planted them all anyway since upon scrapping them I could see there was still green.
And oh my, the transformation. I am still in shock at how quickly all the berries took off! The elderberries especially are looking gorgeous! The boysenberries needed some love and serious tlc, but they're also looking fabulous now. I truly expected this to be a total bust and an expensive learning experience, and now I am very happy I ordered from here. I'm fairly convinced the issue I had over the phone was an anomaly, admittedly a very rude and upsetting one, but none-the-less an anomaly. And while I wasn't impressed with the packaging, I cannot in any way argue with the health and vigor of the plants I received!
After seeing how well the rest of my berries were doing, combined with the very kind help after my review here I decided to go ahead and try ordering some honey berries. After all, they were nearly free. This time, everything shipped right on time, no hiccups, and the plants arrived looking fabulous. Can't wait to see how well these babies grow up! (and to make some honey berry wine.)9On May 24, 2014, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Apr 21, 2014 4:57 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for your feedback and for sharing your experience here. We dedicate ourselves to providing quality product and service to all of our customers, and it is something we take seriously. It is our goal not only to meet, but to exceed your expectations, and we would like to sincerely apologize that this did not happen.
Because we are shipping living product, the shipping dates we provide are only estimates, and they may change. We apologize that we didn't communicate this to you in a more timely manner. Our customer support manager will be reaching out to you shortly so that we may work with you to restore your faith in our company.
We appreciate your feedback and want to thank you again for taking the time to leave your thoughts here. We look forward to better serving you in the future should you choose to shop with Stark Bro's again.
I ordered a Cherry Tree, A shade tree and 6 raspberries from them. The trees were packed well, although some of the papers surrounding the roots was off. I liked that they pruned my Cherry tree so I didnt have too. It was a good size, with buds swelling. The shade tree was in a container with a bamboo shoot holding it straight. The tree doesnt show really any life, but it might be just trying to come out for spring. The raspberries seem to also be alive. The roots on them were very long and thick. Customer service has always treated me very well anytime I called. I hope everything I planted survives, I am not sure what kind of guarantee they have?? If everything survives I will definitely order again from them. First time ordering here. I also ordered from Gurney's and their trees died on me and were not half as nice as these.
I don't often go through the trouble of leaving reviews, but as I order more plants through the mail and realize others rely on such reviews or bbb ratings or whatever, I should say the following: I have now ordered from Stark Bro's 4 separate times over the course of the past 3 growing seasons, and each time I am at least satisfied, and recently impressed. I've ordered fruit trees, several fruiting shrubs, and strawberries. My most recent order this past week was several small 2-year old blueberry plants, and they arrived larger and more vigorous than I had hoped. The trees I ordered last season (American persimmon and fig) arrived healthy and are still doing extremely well. I was surprised to see some negative experiences because I can say with a good deal of confidence that Stark has reliably delivered for me.
Ordered a winter banana apple tree and two elder berries. At first they pushed my order back saying my ground was not ready to plant yet I live in alabama and ground has been above seventy for a month. Then I called and they changed my shipping. Upon arrival I get my banana apple tree and elder berries and they all have ten to fifteen spots where the bark was cut to see if they were alive which is a joke if they had any horticulture skills this would not be needed. The roots were hanging out of the the bottom of the box and were dried out. The winter banana apple tree was one vertical whip with no branching when I called to ask how such a old company is still in business when they ship such subpar plants this is what she told me word for word( some trees don't develop branches in two years of growth would you like me to send a replacement) so I said yes then she said( that is not the quality of plants we send out but if I send another tree it might not have branches either) I don't know about y'all but it seems kind of weird that if that is not the usual quality that you would send out why would my replacement be just as bad as the first. So finally the gave me a refund on my apple tree and if these elder berries are damaged by the green house people cutting on them to make sure they are alive. So probably gonna be calling them back soon for another refund. So only thing positive about this company is there not afraid to give your money back on these subpar plants. So needless to say my days of doing business with such a joke of a company are done before it ever really got started
On May 3, 2014, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On May 6, 2014 10:30 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for informing us of the condition your shipment arrived in, and we regret any inconvenience this experience has caused you. We know that the packaging is important in shipping living product from us to you, and we take these issues seriously. If you managed to take any photos of your shipment like this, we would be grateful if you could send them to us via email at email@example.com so we can address how to avoid this happening in the future.
It is true that some varieties of fruit trees are shipped as unbranched "whips" and even replacement trees of that variety would likely be unbranched. However, we are disappointed to hear that your product arrived damaged. It is very likely that this damage to the product was related to your package arriving damaged.
We appreciate you taking the time to share your experience here so that we can address these issues. We want to apologize that we did not meet or exceed your expectations. Our customer support manager will be reaching out to you shortly to see what we can do to improve your experience with our company.
I've ordered a total of 6 fruit trees from this company in three separate orders; all have established and grown well. I wish Stark would provide online information about the type of grafted root stock used for their semi dwarf and dwarf trees (allow gardeners to assess fit with their soil, regional root diseases, etc.) so I don't have to call, but other than that, I like everything about this company.
I've ordered fruit trees from Stark Bros in both of the last 2 years, and each time I've been very pleased. Both times the trees have arrived in good condition, with good root systems, and they have been packed carefully and well for transit.
On Apr 28, 2014, naturegirl85 Skaneateles, NY wrote:
I'm really surprised at the number of negative experiences! I ordered 11 fruit trees and 1 fruiting bush from them in February. They had originally planned to send them to me at the end of March. They did delay sending them to me, which I was grateful for. The weather in central NY has been miserable (very cold and wet (snow & rain) for spring). I did receive the trees last week. I was as pleased as could be as to the condition of the trees when they arrived.
I have to say I am surprised to see the negative comments here especially with customer service. they have always been helpful and friendly with me. I ordered from them in 2013 twice and again this year.2013 contender peach blushing star peach goldcot apricot and a halls hardy almond. the two peach did great growing about 21/2 ft last year and have buds on them now. the apricot is doing good also despite deer getting in my yard and eating most of the leaves off it and all but a couple leaves off the almond plus what looked like a possible almond. the almond had quite a few blooms not long after planting. I was impressed with these trees. I also ordered a butternut that has done ok as well. unlike some of the comments here they shipped my stuff black berries sure crop and hardy giant pecans and English walnut early this year.so far everything is looking ok except the black berries as the weather has turned cold again low to mid 20s at night. iv'e been covering them but I don't know we'll see. also as a side note I used their tree pep stuff on the trees last year and this year when I planted them. the English walnut seedling wasn't as big as I was hoping but I would definitely order from them again. I also noticed they supply a big northwest coast university with some of their plants. this was the best company I ordered from last year out of 6.
Posted on April 24, 2014, updated April 25, 2014
Let me start by saying I am not a negative person who likes to complain. I had extremely high hopes for Stark Bros when I read all of the reviews, and I wanted to do most, if not all, of my future business with them.
My main problem is that they have changed my order not once, but twice. I ordered last summer, and even prepaid for one of my shipments. I just got a letter this weekend saying that they were out of order on certain items I bought. How does that even happen when I already paid for my order last summer?? Mind you this is the second time that they have sent me a letter saying that they are canceling things I have ordered. Around half of the things I ordered are now canceled, and I went ahead and dug holes and mapped out everything I ordered, so I am pretty angry. Each time they have given me some excuse, and I understood the first time, but the second time is a bit much. To top it off, I ordered from three different companies, and Starks is the only company to do this to me.
When I was young, I worked in the food service, and when we made a customer angry we asked them, "what can we do to make this right." Well, let me tell you, Starks has not asked me this. Their attitude has been "oops, sorry, excuse excuse excuse" Well that doesn't make me feel any better. If I were running a business and I upset a customer I would provide them a discount or a free item or something. I have sent several emails to the company and the responses have been pretty sparse which also upsets me.
I haven't even gotten my plants yet, and I hope they are great. However, even if they are great, I will not be giving this company any more of my money. Like I said earlier, there are three other companies I ordered from that seem to know how to treat their customers. These are Hartman's Plant Company, Arbor Day Foundation, Cold Water farms. I will be doing my business through these companies from now on, and I would advise everyone else to do the same. I am hoping for a good resolution to these problems, and I would like Starks to reach out to me to make this right.
On April 25th, 2014, avery1pj changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I changed my rating to neutral from negative because the company reached out to me and offered a resolution that I think is acceptable, and that is all I wanted :-) I will change my neutral rating to positive if i get some awesome looking plants, and I am sure I will. I'll keep updating. Thank you. On Apr 25, 2014, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Apr 25, 2014 11:08 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your recent feedback here and we apologize that your experience with Stark Bro's was not a satisfactory one. We are dedicated to providing quality product and service to our customers, so we take all feedback as a learning experience in order to improve our efforts going forward.
Since we are working with living product, availability of certain items is not guaranteed. We are truly sorry that we did not properly communicate with you regarding items on your order becoming unavailable. Growing our own product is a two-year process and, if plants or trees do not meet our expectations, we will not ship them. Some items may not be available to ship to you due to your state's restrictions as well. This is why we typically don't charge you for your order until it is ready to ship.
We would like you to know you do have a credit on your account for the trees that we were unable to ship to you this spring. We are happy to rebook these trees on an order for you to ship when they are available again -- as early as November this fall if you'd like. Our customer support manager will reach out to you regarding your order issues, but if you have any questions or concerns, please contact our customer support team at 800.325.4180.
Posted on April 25, 2014, updated April 25, 2014
I frequently order things (not just plants) online from various websites (usually 2-3 times per week) and never have I EVER had such a poor experience from any other company. I have received orders coming from China in less time that it is taking Stark Bros to send my shipment to me.
Normally, when I have not ordered from a company before, I will put in a small order to try them out before throwing a lot of my money at them. So, I purchased some strawberries and a raspberry plant from Stark Bros on April 5th, and on that order confirmation it stated that the estimated ship date was April 10th. Which honestly to me seemed like an excessive wait when we live in a world of competing online retailers who try to get your order in the mail by the next business day. So I braced myself for my 5-day wait. Little did I know that nearly a month later, I still wouldn't have my shipment.
I have contacted the company by email twice. Once on April 11th (the day after the "estimated ship date"), and once on the 23rd. To their credit, the response time was quick enough, but I still have not been given a solid answer about WHEN my order will ship exactly, and what the holdup is. The most recent email says that it is processing and "should go out in the next day or two". We'll see about that.
Okay. I am a patient person. I do not mind waiting when I expect a long wait. As long as a company is honest with me about it, and follows through on the promised date, there are no problems. And when I find a company that conducts their business quickly and professionally, I am a loyal customer and will frequently order more products from them.
What Stark Bros is telling me by delaying my shipment so much and not even giving me a good reason for it is that they don't care about me as a customer, and they do not want my money in the future. That's fine. There are hundreds of other online retailers that will take my money, deliver what is promised WHEN it is promised (and often quicker than promised), and even follow-up with me to make sure I am happy with their service.
Judging by the other negatives recent reviews here, I'm not the only one who is having problems with them. They really need to get their act together.
On April 25th, 2014, rnbee added the following:
In response to Stark Bros reply:
- I did not receive any shipping confirmation email. I should not need to call the company by phone in order to receive a tracking number.
- If the reason for the delay is simply because you are shipping live plants, then why bother including an estimated shipping date along with the order confirmation? Why not predominantly display this information in your ordering process, that people can be aware that it may take several weeks to receive their orders?
- To add onto the above point, how come I have never had this issue with ANY other company I have purchased live plants, or even live creatures (ladybugs, worms, etc) from over the Internet? Delayed shipment based on live plants being the product is kind of a poor excuse. At the very least you need to make sure you are doing everything you can do to make potential customers aware of the delay so they have the choice to go elsewhere if they want to do so. On Apr 25, 2014, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Apr 25, 2014 12:18 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for your feedback and for sharing your experience here. We dedicate ourselves to providing quality product and service to all of our customers, and it is something we take seriously. It is our goal not only to meet, but to exceed your expectations, and we would like to sincerely apologize that this did not happen.
Because we are shipping living product, the shipping dates we can provide are only estimates. An estimated shipping date may change, especially if the weather is unfavorable for plants and trees to be in transit to your location. That aside, we apologize that we didn't communicate this to you in a more timely manner. We are using this as a learning experience, and we are working to improve on this sort of communication with our customers.
Our shipping department is working diligently to ship orders in a timely manner. Your order has shipped to you as of 4/24 and is in transit. You should have received a shipping confirmation email complete with tracking information. If you did not receive this email, let our customer support team know (800.325.4180) so we may send it again.
We appreciate your feedback and want to thank you again for taking the time to leave your thoughts here. We look forward to better serving you in the future.
On Mar 31, 2014, RedClay007 Richmond, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:
I've received 2 separate orders from them, and I've had nothing but positive experiences. They packaged my trees well and shipped them at the right time for planting. The quality of both the plants and the packaging were better than many of the smaller, specialist nurseries.
I ordered some products from Stark Bros on 02/17. Even though my zone schedule for shipping was 03/03, I specifically told the person I wanted my product shipped right away. She said OK. I hadn't gotten a shipping confirmation email (which they said I would) by 02/24 so I called again. I was told my products would be shipped. Still no email so I called again 02/27. When I asked specifically when my order would ship I was told that there weren't any problems with back order but my order as of yet hadn't been printed off to be filled and was listed in the computer as "on hold". I should have asked for a supervisor but I was at work and in a hurry. I believe this is only the 2nd time in my life I have ordered from Starks. It's one of the oldest names in the garden business. I don't know why it's so difficult for them to ship a simple order of less than 1 dozen plants. It's VERY frustrating. I could have already gotten an order from someone else and planted my stuff.
On Feb 28, 2014, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Mar 4, 2014 10:18 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for your feedback! We are sorry to hear that your order was not shipped as expected, and that a reason was not clearly communicated to you. We strive to ship your order within the estimated shipping window, or the shipping date you request if it differs. Please contact our customer support team (800.325.4180) with your order number handy so that we may work with you to get your order shipped immediately.
I would just like to put out there that if you have recently ordered the All-Season Blueberry Collection to check to see what varieties you are going to get as the website listed two different combinations on the same order page and when I contacted the company at the end of last week here is their response
"I see 2 Chandler, 2 Sweetheart and 2 Herbert when I go to this item. You would receive these three varieties, but not the Elliott. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you."
This is different from the catalog which list the Elliott and not the Sweetheart. I sent them another email after the response to further explain their mistake and have yet to receive a response however notice that their website is now changed to reflect the Elliott and not the Sweetheart. I have a screen shot if anyone needs it.
I am mostly writing to complain about Stark's complete lack of an inventory system. Last year on 2/13/13 I put in my order for 10 items. Everything showed in stock and the order was processed. A few months or so later I received a letter showing all but 2 of the items were cancelled...one of which was a Bubblegum Plum Dwarf Supreme tree. This tree was the reason for my order and I just added the rest. I called to complain asking why they were just cancelled and was told that they were just out of the stock. After discussion I found out that I could get the same tree...but just not "Supreme." The rest of the items were just out of stock. VERY frustrating.
This year I decided to give them another chance and sent an email after my order asking that if I could get better service. This was my email:
"I am writing to you in hopes that I will be put on a priority list. Last year I ordered early and over half my shipment wasn't available at the time it was to be delivered. Nobody called, they just cancelled it. I am giving you another chance. This is my order this year: Thanks"
This is the reponse I received:
Thank you for your email and for your recent order. I'm sorry, but we don't have priority list with our items. They are priority in the order they are shipped out and we cannot guarantee any item will remain in stock at any given time. I can change your estimated shipping date to earlier April if you think you can plant at that time.
Please let me know if you wish to make any changes to your order."
What I don't understand is why people who live in zone 3 or 4 can't receive priority based on their order date and not the suggested shipping date. Although abnormal, last year in April we still had snow on the ground. Sure I could keep them in the house and try to keep them healthy, but why should I have to?
On Feb 12, 2014, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Feb 14, 2014 2:20 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience here! Your feedback is useful for us to address and improve things on our end in order to meet, and exceed, your expectations! We have been in contact with you via email and hope we have a solution that meets your satisfaction.
If you have any questions or concerns, our customer support team is here to work with you! You can reach us by phone during business hours at 800.325.4180 and of course by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
On Feb 4, 2014, mscratch Millersville, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:
I spent 90 minutes on the computer to choose and order from this company, only to discover when checking out that because I have a rural address I would have to call the company and pay extra because of separate handling. Well, that's just not going to happen. This is the only company that I have ordered from so far that requires me to do this. Sadly, I will choose from the other catalogs. I took their catalog over to my neighbors this morning and suggested strawberry plants for him to order. Now I will have to go back and tell him to look for another nursery or buy local. Very frustrating and time consuming! I didn't see any small print or any print that said I would have to call them to place my order until the very end when I clicked continue to check out and of course after I entered my address. etc. Just because I live out in the country??? We don't have streets out here.
On Feb 4, 2014, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Feb 4, 2014 3:05 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
We're sorry for any frustration you've had trying to place your order on our website and we would like to help! Please contact our customer support team (contact information below), with your customer number and address handy, so we may work with you to resolve this issue. Sometimes the system has trouble recognizing rural route numbers -- but this isn't something that you are charged extra for. If you have questions about your order total, please let our customer support team know!
On Nov 25, 2013, taufgardner American Fork, UT wrote:
Posted on July 21, 2011, updated November 25, 2013
Posted on September 25, 2010, updated July 21, 2011
Posted on June 23, 2010, updated September 25, 2010
Posted on June 9, 2010, updated June 23, 2010
After my Elephant Heart Plum that was purchased locally (not through Stark Bros.) had not produced after the fourth year, I found it needed a pollinator. I don't like other plums, but Stark Bros. had a variety (Delicious) that looked similar and could pollinate my Elephant Heart.
Of course, my other trees are in full leaf and so my order was VERRRRY late. In fact, I was told I called it in on about the last day Stark Bros. would even ship bare root at all. They recommended waiting until fall so I would have a better experience with the tree. But I could not wait and ordered anyway...
Well, the tree came today. I was expecting a leftover that I could nurse in a corner of my property for primarily pollinating purposes.
What I got was better than the description in the catalog. The tree was well proportioned, the roots well developed, and there were clear indications of life, including new root shoots and swelling buds.
I normally buy my trees from a friend who is a commercial grower and who gives me pick of his bare root stock. I have never picked a better looking tree myself than Stark Bros. sent me today.
Stark Bros. exceeded my expectations in every way and I will definitely use them again if I am in the market for the products they carry. I recommend them highly.
P.S. We are having a cool spell and wet weather for the next week, so the conditions couldn't be more ideal for this tree to succeed and I have no doubt it will.
On June 23rd, 2010, taufgardner added the following:
Tree has been in for two weeks. Very much alive and well, with new buds and good growth happening. Absolutely nothing but good to say about my Stark Bros. experience.On September 25th, 2010, taufgardner added the following:
Fall is beginning and the tree met or exceeded all expectations. It grew well, has good vigor and I have no doubt it will be a productive part of my home orchard for years to come. I liked that the phone rep took the time to explain that I may want to wait on the order because of chance of failure for time of year I ordered, rather than to sell just because I was willing to buy. When I wanted to order anyway, they gave me what I wanted. What I received was terrific and better than I could get locally for the same price, plus I got to choose a variety that was specific to my needs, not just one of the limited two or three varieties that all the local nurseries seem to carry. In short, I am very happy with my Stark Bros. experience and cannot say enough good about them. I am also impressed that they watch the Watchdog and respond to many of the posts. They really do seem to realize that if quality service, great products and the customers are the focus, the business takes care of itself. On July 21st, 2011, taufgardner added the following:
Ordered grapes this year. All are doing well. I have no complaints about Stark Bros. and will use them again.On November 25th, 2013, taufgardner added the following:
Ordered Hazelnuts this year and got a replacement cherry tree. All did very well. Every item I have ever received (and I don't use the word "every" lightly) from Stark Bros. has met or exceeded my expectations.
My yard is limited and I find myself feeling badly I am unable to order more items from this company. They are my favorite of all the catalog companies. I went from being very skeptical of ordering live plants to fully embracing the notion because of this company.
I give this company my best recommendation. If they have a plant or tree variety you need, you will not go wrong using these guys.On Nov 25, 2013, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Sep 27, 2010 12:05 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
We are so grateful: not only has your experience with our trees and plants been wonderful, but you took the time to tell us (and all here at the Garden Watchdog) about it! We're very happy to hear of your growing success. :)
If you ever have questions or need anything, you know where to find us!
I placed an order for 16 fruit trees in early August. There were five different fruits in this order. The order was scheduled to be shipped in early November and I asked for a later shipment. That was no problem. The shipment was delayed again due to a tree not being ready. Nonetheless I was kept informed of the ship date and I must say I was delightfully PLEASED with my many fruit trees. I scratched the bark on all the bare root trees and saw green! That means they are all alive. The trees have nice labels on them which made it easy for me. They were also all well rooted and the graft area looked good. I was able to plant them all today and am really looking forward to good things from these plants. I will for sure order from Stark Bros again. Thank you!
I ordered two WineCrisp and two GoldRush apple trees after doing as much research on these two types of trees as I could without tasting them on http://www.orangepippin.com and by typing in WineCrisp PDF and GoldRush PDF for a Google search. These both seemed like really nice trees.
I received my four trees when there was a considerable amount of snow still on the ground. I called Stark to ask them how to keep my trees alive. Their representative told me what to do and if they did die, call them back for replacements. I kept them in the box in my basement wetting the roots every so often for two weeks...the ground where I wanted to put these trees was still frozen about 18 inches down. I thought they would be better in the ground than in my basement. These trees started to leaf out a bit and they were not in the spots that I wanted them because my land was still being prepared by a local farmer...so, I dug them up and put them in the spots that I actually wanted them.
All four trees made it through the first year and looked great. They were all very beautiful solid trees when they arrived.....I didn't want any replacements, I wanted these trees to make it and they did under a lot of stress.
Stark Bros sends the trees out at the proper planting time, but this spring was abnormally cold here in Michigan. They can't predict how bad it was up here for weather.
So, I just want to let people know how healthy their trees are to withstand two weeks in a box in a basement, planted in semi-frozen ground, then transplanted again and to look as good as they do.
Posted on August 21, 2013, updated August 22, 2013
-Excellent 1 Year Replacement Policy: No arguing over dead plants.
-All of the thirty-two trees I ordered over the last three years have at least leafed out, though about six didn't survive a winter (including two replacements).
-All of the dozens and dozens of berry, vine, ground cover & root plants I have bought at least leafed out.
-Good Customer Service.
-Great late season deals.
-Free shipping over 75$, and now 85$, is spectacular.
-Great, easy to use website.
-Decent, but not overwhelming number of varieties.
-I've gotten a great plum crop and a good peach crop in the third year here in Zone 5.
-Informative emails/website with special deals.
-Six berry plants arrived small and leafless (but all survived and are now doing well).
-Somewhat limited number of varieties if you are looking for something different/unusual.
-Rootstock information isn't listed -which could come in handy as some rootstocks are better for wetter grounds and some are better for dryer grounds etc.. . .
-My cherry, pear and pawpaw trees (planted three years ago) seem a long way away from fruit bearing, but they are in a shadier part of the lawn and I have had to ward off deer (which especially LOVE cherry trees).
-The listing of the size of the trees was confusing, especially three years ago: Standard Trees: 18-25 feet was what was easily found, but on another page: Peach Standard Trees: 12-15 feet. (I would get different results from different employees as well). I think Stark Bro's has corrected this now: they, as well, have added size info on their berry plants (which used to be missing).
-Probably my favorite place to do Plant Business so far: They just seem to be the most professional: I just really like the iron clad replacement policy: no wishy-washy wording or implementing of their policy.
-I would lean more towards trees than bushes with Stark Bro's, but I wouldn't rule Stark out for bushes, for, as I said, the bushes I bought, though scrawny, did survive.
On August 22nd, 2013, VonMalcolm added the following:
A couple of more Positives:
-Plants are shipped securely.
-I've had great success with their strawberries: near 100% survival rate on two orders of 25 plants each: even though I had put off planting them in favor of planting the trees and vines (I planted the strawberries about 5 or so days after arrival).
In 2012, I ordered three European Pears, three Pawpaws, and a Brown Turkey Fig from Stark's for fall 2012 planting. All except one, a pawpaw, survived the winter and are now thriving. I contacted Stark's about the dead Pawpaw, and they agreed to ship a free replacement for planting in fall 2013 without any hesitation.
I also ordered European Plum from them in spring 2013. It is also thriving.
Excellent plant material. Excellent customer service. I highly recommend this company.
I am a 63 year old male that has been a Stark Brothers customer for over 50 years. My Grandfather bought his trees from them and they produced great quantities of apples and peaches. I suppose he is the reason I got the bug to grow fruit.
I now have an orchard of 100+ trees and even though I have lost some trees to disease I am overall satisfied with my purchases. I can't blame Stark Brothers for a tree dying when there is info that tells me the dangers of planting some varieties in my location. It takes dedication to have solid trees and delicious fruit. Stark Brothers is the right place to start the process.
On Jun 24, 2013, Hoosierguy1986 Fort Wayne, IN wrote:
Ordered a cox orange apple tree from them during the spring sale. Awesome price. Shipping and tracking were right on. Packaging was great moisture wrapped roots inside a bag to seal in moisture inside a card board box to ship with least damage. Pruning was done by experts. Stuck it in the ground with a peat, topsoil, compost mixture and had buds breaking open and leaves shortly after.
Side note. Customer service is excellent. The were able to research info on the almond trees for me and willing to do so. I was contacted by a real person with real responses in a timely manner! They will definitely see more of my business as I turn my 6.5 acre hay field into something generations can enjoy!
Posted on April 8, 2013, updated June 21, 2013
Posted on April 8, 2013, updated April 8, 2013
Posted on April 5, 2013, updated April 8, 2013
STRONG NEGATIVE!!! DO NOT BUY from them! I paid almost $275 on around 17 tree's and few berries plants, on March 7, 2013... they said April 1st is the day they will ship, it is not 1st time they postpone. they keeps on postpone then again postpone until April 5th, checked my account again, postponed again to April 10th. said they didnt have Honeyberries. Bullcrap I read another views they already got theirs before April 1st, I WANT MY ORDER SHIP TO ME RIGHT AWAY when I PAID THEM RIGHT AWAY........ keeps on contacting customer service and talk to them about where my plant. I brought top best soil, set the spot for 17 plants (trees/berries)..... soil dried out and everything.. I felt I am wasting $450+ money and was hoping in trust Stark Brothers to send me high quality products... this never happened. I DO NOT trust them, they are my FIRST time order with them and it was $275... giant order. NEVER AGAIN with them, and WILL NEVER recommend them to all my green die hard thumbs friends/ professionals. I would recommend to go to wilson orchard instead! It is very rare that I gets angry: I am one of the most ANGRY customer with them the Stark Brother ever!! Been very patient with them. said will get my stuff in 2 weeks after March 7th, never did, then postpone another week, now another week april 1, then april 5 THEN april 10th!? WTF SERIOUSLY, they want some serious business and large $$ they better send it out right away! NEVER AGAIN...... EVER.... I was going to buy a large amount of nut trees from them next, but no its a drop it and run! DO NOT buy them if you dont have patience and expect your stuff in the mail right away less 2 weeks, this is not the place for you. I wait past a month few days for my stuff. unhappy. :( these are what I ordered: MidnightBlue & Night Mist Assortment (#131383)
$19.99 1 $19.99
Dwarf Banana Plant
Dwarf Banana Plant (#3682)
This is a potted plant. This item is self pollinating.
$11.99 2 $23.98
2-N-1 Cherry Semi-Dwarf
2-N-1 Cherry Semi-Dwarf (#3000)
This is a potted plant. This item is self pollinating.
$29.99 1 $29.99
Stark® SweetHeart Apricot Dwarf
Stark® SweetHeart Apricot Dwarf (#28779)
This item is self pollinating. This product will be professionally pruned before shipping.
$22.99 1 $22.99
Red, White & Blue Seedless Grape Assortment
Red, White & Blue Seedless Grape Assortment (#91480)
$29.99 1 $29.99
Peach Lover's Assortment Dwarf
Peach Lover's Assortment Dwarf (#28660)
This product will be professionally pruned before shipping.
$59.99 1 $59.99
Stark® Primocane Red Raspberry Assortment
Stark® Primocane Red Raspberry Assortment (#26504)
$25.99 1 $25.99
Dwarf Asian Pear Assortment
Dwarf Asian Pear Assortment (#26473)
This product will be professionally pruned before shipping.
$59.99 1 $59.99
Stark® Crimson Gold Nectarine Dwarf
Stark® Crimson Gold Nectarine Dwarf (#28778)
Merchandise Total $272.91
Professional Pruning -
now you see it is a LARGE order.... got NOTHING from them. I am their first time, new customer. Wished I never brought anything from them! Not recommended.
On April 8th, 2013, Moonshine84 added the following:
Postpone AGAIN: until April 13th!? ...... never again they lost me as a customer once I get my stuff, never will buy from them again.On April 8th, 2013, Moonshine84 added the following:
I called this afternoon, already agreement to split the order: The reasons I declined the offer because they are making me pay for the shipping at the first time we talked about split order. I should not be paying for shipping AT ALL since I paid 3x of $85, $273 around total......... Split the order today after I called they now said will ship it for free so I accepted the offer... which I expect them to ship the rest BY TODAY after I called in...... but no what I see is date to be shipped again postpone to April 13th..........On June 21st, 2013, Moonshine84 added the following:
Since they fixed the problems and all. I been working with Tabitha, she fixed most of the issues. Most of my tree's are doing well over here but no fruiting yet....
Honey berry is what I am also crazy about. Few did not make it.
I am also pure in berries. Goji first pack did not make it, but 2nd pack they sent, was beautifully, transfer them to bigger pot. it still beautifully and green!
One another thing I am MOST amazing impressed with BLUE MOON Honey berry, they arrive thick lush, sweet! Beautiful new green leave keeps on coming up. However the rest; start to turning brown on me. quite few of it died. :(
Ordered few cherry trees as well. Two is not seems doing good I will be contacting Tabitha soon in two months IF it doesnt show anything. no leaves yet on the Starkrimson's, and White Gold Cherry tree at this time.
One most big concerned and disappointment Raspberry seems are sick; thriving like crazy with new green stalk then end up start to purple at the bottom spread all way up killed the new stalk, turn to black and drop like dead. has to pull all out. I am waiting for Tabitha to contact me back about it.
Since they truly do care about their customer and try their most best effort to take care of them, myself including after myself post this negative comment first place was NOT very happy with them until Tabitha done super well job to take care of me. I will rate their company A* at this time as positive rate. MUCH BETTER at this time. Fyi Stark Bro, I have all pictures. I DO take pictures OF COURSE to prove the process and all.
Thank you for taking care of me from the day one u found out the bad negative rating. As you can see this year I brought so MANY plants from you. :) Please do continue taking care of me as a customer, might coming back next year for more honey berries and cherry tree's. Got to take care of these order that I purchased from you that did not make it.
~ me.On Jun 21, 2013, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Apr 8, 2013 10:10 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
We dedicate ourselves to providing quality product and service to our customers here at Stark Bro's, and we take pride in that! We are able to improve this when folks like you share your feedback with us here. Your honest experiences with our company are appreciated.
We sincerely apologize for your frustration with your order, especially since it is your first experience ordering with Stark Bro's. It is our policy not to charge you for your order before it ships out to you, because it is sometimes the case that product becomes unavailable before it is able to ship. This is the nature of dealing with living product. Our Dwarf Banana Plant states in its description that it is unavailable to ship before April 1 -- this is to protect the plant's cold-sensitive leaves from damage occurring in shipping. Our records show that we offered to split-ship your order so that your plants and trees that are available now will ship, and your back-ordered items will ship when they are available. We know you originally declined this offer, but we would like you to know we can still do this for you, since your order is still waiting to be shipped to you. Please contact our customer support team [800.325.4180 | email@example.com] so that we may have the opportunity to work with you.
Thank you again for your feedback and we look forward to hearing from you.
Super company. Friendly and knowledgeable advice over the phone, efficient and professional ordering process.
Best of all, everything I've ordered from them (over 100 fruit trees and berry bushes) has been vibrant, and of superb quality.
I will never roll the dice with any other nursery. Cant imagine improving over what Stark Brothers offers
On Jun 16, 2013, backyardgrowing Littlerock, CA wrote:
As of today, this is the best online nursery i have experienced with. the packaging of their box is outstanding, so don't worry that they will arrive broken. My dwarf Suncrisp apple tree arrive at about 3 feet tall and had over 20 BUDS. i was impressed with the quality of their trees A++. My kiwi vine was healthy and about 16 inches tall. However, its been a month and the vine as not produce any type of grow (leaves or branching). It looks like if its stunted. Does anyone know why? are they slow growers?
Ordered a bunch of trees and berry bushes from them this spring. Everything arrived in great condition (they easily have the best packaging of any online nursery I've ordered from). All the bare root trees are just starting to sprout and look thick and healthy.
My only beef with them was I had ordered one variety of blueberry bushes. Well they must have sold out of the bush, and cancelled them from my order. While they didn't charge me for them, they never let me know that they had cancelled them. I only found out by viewing my order status on their website. By the way. Their website is the best in the business (I say that as a web designer).
I plan on buying all my fruit stock from Stark's from now on.
On Jun 10, 2013, joebvet MOUTH OF WILSON, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:
Have ordered several Stark select fruit trees each of the last two years.
First year grapes, Stark Gold Cherry, two apricots, Plumcot. all arrived healthy and growing as of second year . This year new order of Black Gold cherry, Pawpaw and Itchy persimmon, former two select. Former two arrived with top 6 inches or more bent and broken. Called to inform, and immediately they offered to send replacements, Replacement of the persimmon arrived healthy, pawpaw due to arrive in the fall. This is a company that prizes customer service and I am very satisfied with size and healthy of the trees, responsiveness to correcting problems, and would not hesitate to order from them.
I only ordered one thing to test the waters so-to-speak.
I ordered a 6 pk. of Boysenberries and I am very pleased at
the condition of the plants, roots, and fast shipping.
I ordered thornless and I wouldn't call them thornless, they do have small thorns and my brothers don't (I called him to ask) so don't know why mine have thorns.
But the plants were beautiful and I will order from them again. Thanks
Ive ordered from Stark Bros twice, and was happy with both orders. Their pawpaw trees were taller and their cherry trees were thicker in diameter than expected for the price. Ive only had one plant from them die so far, but all the others are as healthy as can be.
On May 16, 2013, Cymbelina Prattville, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:
I ordered several hundred dollars of plants by mail this year and Stark Brothers is a company I will do business with again. I ordered the dwarf peach collection and a southern blueberry collection. The blueberries arrived about a week or so before the peaches but both arrived within a fast-reasonable shipping time. Having never really grown anything bareroot, I believed the Watchdog rating and took the chance. We planted the peach trees and within a week or so, all had new growth. Amazing! The potted blueberries are up and growing as well. Everything was well packaged and didn't lose a grain of soil during shipping. Great company and thanks to Garden Watchdog for pointing me in the right direction!
I ordered a Honeycrisp Dwarf Apple Tree from them in 2008. I planted it and babied it and it seemed to be doing well until last summer it just died on me. I thought because of the weather last year that it might have gone dormant early so I waited until this year and it never came back. I went to take the tree out and it broke off right at the base of the trunk, so I knew it was dead.