On Jun 27, 2015, Toddott Kentwood, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:
Posted on June 19, 2015, updated June 27, 2015
I order from dozens of companies. All of the plants I order survived, except those from Stark\'s. Raspberries, Gooseberries, Pear Trees. None thrived the year planted. All died the next year. The pear trees had been \"pruned\" by their professional staff before being sent. The branches had all been cut completely off, leaving two inch stubs. They claim this is good for the trees. It wasn\'t good for mine. I waited all summer, but it never did sprout. Bought a male and female Paw Paw. One died. Not sure which one. Rasberries...dead. Gooseberries (a plant I thought impossible to kill)...dead.
Never had this problem with any other companies. Bought cherry trees, apple trees, currants, peach trees, gooseberries, honeyberries, etc. and all survived...100 percent survival.
I ordered a raspberry and they sent the wrong variety. They immediately corrected the problem...but both the correct and incorrect raspberry died. I have dozens of other raspberry plants and all thrive.
On June 27th, 2015, Toddott added the following:
They are sorry I'm having trouble with my bare root raspeberry and suggested I try a different location. Uh...it's dead. I don't think a new location will help. It arrived not as a bare root, but as a "barley" root. As for pruning the tree to balance the leaf and root, if the tree had any decent root system, pruning (butchering) would not need to be so severe. none of the other companies I order from butcher their trees and yet they seem to be the healthy trees.
They suggested contacting customer service. Are they going to send me new trees or just suggest I plant them in a new location?On Jun 27, 2015, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Jun 26, 2015 12:18 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here regarding your bare-root raspberry plants, gooseberries and other fruit trees. We take all reviews to heart, as this is our opportunity to improve our service and your experience going forward.
We professionally pre prune our trees because the digging process can break many of the tree’s feeder roots. The result? An imbalance may occur between the huge top growth and the roots’ ability to support it.This imbalance can heighten the effects of natural transplant shock. Pre-pruning our bare root fruit trees brings the balance between the roots & top growth back into proportion… ensuring the best chance for survival and transplant success. After pre-pruning, the growth will bounce right back once the root system is firmly established!
If you are still having issues getting your bare root raspberries started we suggest that you consider a new planting location. And I encourage you to reach out to customer support so that they can further assess your situation to see what can be done to help you.
Posted on April 1, 2015, updated June 25, 2015
Posted on August 25, 2014, updated April 1, 2015
Posted on August 16, 2014, updated August 25, 2014
I desperately want to like this company and be a regular customer of Stark Brothers. Everything in their catalog looks so tantalizing and they offer so many varieties at the click of a mouse, but my experience with them has been all bad. I have planted pear, apple, nut, and cherry trees under ideal growing conditions and had a 100% mortality rate. Something is wrong. The trees do fine the first summer, leaf out the second spring, then die the second summer in spite of adequate rainfall and watering and 2 summers that haven\\\\\\\'t been very hot. I spray consistently. I am losing the trees too late to take advantage of their satisfaction guarantee policy of 1 year.I have written to the company and recieved a prompt response but a very defensive one. Companion trees purchased at Lowe\\\\\\\'s are flourishing next to the dead Stark Brothers trees. I really don\\\\\\\'t believe that the cold winter or my gardening practices are responsible for 100% mortality for Starks and 0 % for Lowe\\\\\\\'s. Apple trees that won\\\\\\\'t grow in the Blue Ridge mountains? A lilac shrub I bought from (tiny, tiny) died as well. Be prepared to be disappointed and waste your money and precious time when ordering from this company. I am very sorry to say this, but it is what happened to me.
On August 25th, 2014, tooner2 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Since I posted my negative review on this site, Stark Brothers has been trying to work with me. They have offered to refund or replace the trees. I am going to accept 2 trees, plant them in pots, give them extra attention, and see if I can get them to live and grow over the next year. Will change the review to positive if that works. On April 1st, 2015, tooner2 changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
I can report that the apple tree replacement is sending out shoots from below the graft and nothing else so far. I have photos I\'d like to have attached showing the difference between the replacement cherry tree I received from Stark Brothers and the new cherry I ordered from Willis Brothers. Wow, what a difference in both top growth and root system! Stark Brothers continues to be a disappointment. It\'s good that they sent the replacement, but the poor quality of it makes me change my rating back to negative. I\'m finished with this company for good. On June 25th, 2015, tooner2 added the following:
The company has never responded to my last email about the unsuitability of their replacment tree. Before ordering fruit trees from them understand this, the tree will die, likely during the second growing season. If you complain, the replacement tree they send you will also die. In the meantime you will have lost precious growing seasons. This company is not what it used to be. On Jun 25, 2015, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Aug 20, 2014 11:56 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here regarding your fruit trees. We apologize that you feel dissatisfied with the response from our customer support manager regarding our limited warranty. Our Promise of Satisfaction states that you are eligible for a free one-time replacement -- or a refund of your full purchase price (if you don't want a replacement) -- as long as it is requested within a year of delivery.
Our customer support manager will reach out to you again after she further assesses the situation and gets a clearer view of the issue. We look forward to hearing from you.
On Jun 25, 2015, flame7749 Bowling Green, KY wrote:
Stark Bros. use to be a great company with great plants. They must have changed management or something.
In the past 3 years I have consistently gotten trees, vines and bushes from them with the roots dried out. The bare root plants come with the roots tied up with plastic and wet material around them however during shipping the boxes are always turned upside down and the packing falls off. I have complained to them several times and the same thing happens. They do replace the plant free if it doesn't live however the second plant is shipped the same way and it gets you a year behind even if the second plant lives. If the second plant doesn't live you have to reorder the plant at cost, they did offer free shipping on the one pant, but would not take the shipping cost of the one plant off of the next order even though it was a big order so I canceled it. It seems to me that someone would correct this. I contacted a representative by phone, and she was not helpful nor very sympathetic to the fact that there plants are poorly packed and refused to let me speak to a manager. She told me that she would have a manager call me, but that never happened, I have waited a month before writing this to see if someone would call back.
Also to make matters worse, their "free professional pruning" consist of cutting off the roots and top of the plant to make it fit a box. Not just a few roots but major roots. It is a shame because the plants look like they were great size and healthy and the solution is simple, management needs to make sure the plants are trimmed and packed properly.
I probably won't order from them again.
On Jun 25, 2015, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Jun 26, 2015 11:39 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here. We are very sorry that you did not receive a response from the customer support manager regarding your frustration and disappointment with the level of service you were provided. Your issue has been forwarded on and our customer support manager to reach out to you after your situation has been assessed.
My review is based upon Stark Bros.' customer service and business practices. I only actually received one peach tree from them and I just planted it, so I have no comments yet on their products.
My experience- I ordered two peach trees from this company during their end of season clearance. One peach tree was on sale at half price, and one was at full price.
Well of course the half price item was out of stock (even though the website still let me order it). However, the company never notified me of this fact in any way, nor gave me the option to cancel my order.
Before I knew it, the full price item was shipped alone at the FULL shipping cost of BOTH trees.
I contacted a representative by phone, and she was neither helpful nor very sympathetic to the fact that any good company would have contacted me regarding the cancellation of my sale priced item in order to give me the opportunity to cancel the remainder of my order before it shipped.
Based upon this experience, I do not recommend anyone buy from this company, and I will not order from this company or any related company again.
I will update this review should the company offer any sort of sympathetic response or at least a refund of my shipping costs.
On Jun 22, 2015, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Jun 26, 2015 2:51 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here. We take all reviews to heart, as this is our opportunity to improve our service and your experience going forward. Our goal at Stark Bro's. is to provide healthy, viable trees and plants and provide an exemplary level of customer service.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find your account so that I could ask our customer support manager to assess your situation. I ask that you allow us another opportunity to rectify this situation by either contacting customer support directly or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please mention this review when you contact customer support.
On Jun 3, 2015, Dexterity Lake Hiawatha, NJ wrote:
I purchased 4 blueberry bushes, fertilizers, coco bricks and two apple trees in November 2014. They were planted per stark brothers instructions.
I contacted them around 1/28/15 and complained early on that a few of the bushes looked dead. They said, it sounded like they died back and to give it until spring. I contacted them again in early April and didnt get a response until May 7th.
I explained the bush is still dead and there is an issue with my golden delicious apple tree. Again, emails have been ignored and I am being ripped off. I have sent pictures, numerous emails and no one responds.
The ones that died are the cross pollinators I need.
I was a repeat customer. Left yelp review and filed complaint with BBB. Cnat issue a chargeback because too much time passed.
On Jun 3, 2015, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Jun 4, 2015 9:21 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here. We are very sorry that you did not receive an email response regarding your blueberry bushes that failed to live. Customer support did respond to your email request to replace your banana plant but must have over looked your blueberry request this spring.
We are very sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you. Your blueberry plants are still covered by our limited warranty and can be replaced if you'd like.
Our customer support manager will reach out to you after she further assesses the situation and gets a clearer view of the issue.
I had ordered trees from Stark. Upon opening the box, found all four were placed into an unsealed plastic bag, two without any material around the roots, one with moist paper around roots and one actually potted up. The two trees without any material around the root system appeared dead, but I planted them. No leaves, no buds. The other two that were properly shipped have leafed out. I tried contacting the company three times by email and have had no response. I would like a refund for the dead trees; I know dead when I see it. I have many, many years experience planting trees and transplanting trees. What I would like is some kind of a response from the company. I would never order from them again.
On May 23, 2015, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Jun 4, 2015 10:07 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here. We are very sorry to hear that you are claiming that you did not receive our email responses.
Our email history shows that customer support team received an email on 4/3/2015 and our customer support manager responded with a call to action on 4/9/2015. Another email was received on 5/15/2015 by you and customer support responded on 5/20/2015 asking for more information.
Your email response that was received on 5/29/2015 has not been responded to but will be addressed today by our customer support manager.
On May 21, 2015, furrybill2000 Cape Neddick, ME wrote:
Posted on May 7, 2015, updated May 21, 2015
Outrageous customer service! I put in an order back in April, which arrived, and I quickly planted the trees. A week later I got an email from them telling me that my order was on its way! It turns out a second order had been entered into their system using my credit card. On the phone with the customer rep she made it seem as if it was my fault! Why would I make the same exact order twice within a couple weeks? The solution? I have to sit at home all day Saturday waiting for the FedEx truck to get here, refuse the delivery, then wait for Stark to figure things out and reverse the charge on my credit card. Absolutely insane! Will never do business with them again because (1) their credit card security measures are obviously inadequate, or their Web site has some major problems and (2) blame the customer for what was obviously a screw-up on their end, then ask me to fix it for them? Ludicrous.
On May 21st, 2015, furrybill2000 added the following:
So as it turns out you can call FedEx to refuse a shipment and have it turned around from wherever it might be. No need to sit at home all day Saturday...Stark may want to update their customer service rep training to reflect this...
Once Stark knew the package had been refused they refunded my money, have to give them credit for that.
Then I got an email telling me I was getting a $25 certificate for my next order. Today a catalog arrived with the certificate. Knowing that I won't do business with them any more and knowing that they would continue to kill trees by sending me endless catalogs, I called to delete the account. I was told that this is not possible. Yes, they will stop sending catalogs [doubtful] but they REFUSE to delete my personal information from their database.
Plus ca change...On May 21, 2015, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On May 8, 2015 10:07 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here regarding your recently shipped orders. We take all reviews to heart, as this is our opportunity to improve our service and your experience going forward.
Our customer support manager will reach out to you after she further assesses the situation and gets a clearer view of the issue. We look forward to hearing from you.
I've just planted them, so hopefully they grow it it turns out ok in the end. I like the varieties of fruit trees available, but the "professional pruning" is a horrible misnomer! The trees were not pruned! The branches were all cut off. I bought 8 bare root fruit trees, 3 of them have 3-4 branches about 3 inches long, the other trees were straight sticks. On the website they say something like: "don't worry about pruning during the first year, we've taken care of that." All they have done is make the trees branchless and easy to ship. 9 trees, 3 grape plants and 24 raspberry plants were jammed into two 9 x 9 inch boxes. No branches at all. I even ordered the "supreme" trees, wanting to get these things growing as quick as I can. This whole first year will be used to try to get a few branches on, which I will then need to prune to what it was supposed to be like upon arrival. Super lame. My suggestion: shop elsewhere.
On Apr 9, 2015, tannatforlife East Setauket, NY wrote:
I ordered a dwarf meyer lemon tree toward the end of this winter. I was told it would ship on March 22. It did not ship. I called the company and was told it would ship on March 31, due to weather conditions in my area (I am located on Long Island in New York). I can understand that of course, as we had a harsh winter. But now it's a normal spring temperature and Stark continues to use temperature as an excuse. I emailed the company and was told it would ship early this week and I'd have an email confirmation informing me. Nothing. I called 2 days ago to check the order status and was told it would ship yesterday and I'd have an email confirmation yesterday to inform me, and the customer service person guaranteed it would be shipping yesterday. Obviously it did not. I have heard several times recently that this is how Stark has been conducting their business. 4 times they changed my delivery date? Not acceptable, and each time I speak with them, they act like I'm the one who is wrong. There are no excuses now - the temperatures are fine for shipping the plants, and I have already decided that whether the plant is in good condition or not upon arrival (if ever), I will never be placing another order with Stark again, nor will I recommend this company to anyone else. This is among the worst customer service I've experienced, and I have ordered trees/plants online before from other companies and have been satisfied.
On Mar 14, 2015, cajunmark Denham Springs, LA wrote:
I live near Baton Rouge, Louisiana where the weather can be rather intense in the summer. I ordered 11 different fruit and nut trees from Stark Brothers in the spring of 2013. Everything was fine until i planted these plants in the ground. i followed all the directions but i think the heat and humidity from Louisiana got the best of these plants. Of the 11 plants only 3 are left and 2 are barely surviving. My brother planted one of the apple trees across town and it is doing well. I dont know that it is Starks fault or just the area that i live in.
Be careful if you live in a weather environment like central Louisiana.
Here's a list of the plants and their status:
Stark Kwik-Krop Walnut - Dead
Starkrimson Sweet Cherry Semi-Dwarf - Dead
Starkspur Red Rome Beauty Apple Dwarf - Ok
Starkspur Red Rome Beauty Apple Semi-Dwarf - Struggling
Wilson Delicious Apricot Standard - Dead
Stark SweetHeart Apricot Standard - Dead
Burbank July Elberta Peach Standard Supreme - Dead
Readhaven Peach Standard Supreme - Dead
Concord Seedless Grape - Dead
Stark Bountiful Butternut - Barely Alive
Dwarf Banana - Ok
I didn't contact Stark to complain or get my money back because i felt it was the harsh weather hear the did in my plants.
I will never order from these people again, I ordered two elderberries, which they shipped OVER A MONTH before my planting season. When I contacted them to complain they condesendingly informed me they "shipped at the proper planting time for your area and if you can't plant dorment plants can be safely stored in your garage".
It wasnt "proper planting time" a little clue there is how none of the three other nurseries I had orders in with have shipped yet and the plants were NOT dorment. The plants themselves seem fine but the customer service here and level of common sense is vile.
On Feb 13, 2015, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Feb 13, 2015 2:50 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here regarding your elderberry plants that were recently shipped. We take all reviews to heart, as this is our opportunity to improve our service and your experience going forward.
Our customer support manager will reach out to you after she further assesses the situation and gets a clearer view of the issue. We look forward to hearing from you.
On Jul 28, 2014, troman1973 Bellwood, NE (Zone 5a) wrote:
I wouldnt have posted negative other than the customer service I received at the end. I ordered a Cherry Tree, A locust and 6 raspberry plants. The trees came healty enough, a bit small for the price I paid, the both of my trees are alive and seem healthy. That is all I ask from mail order I dont expect huge trees.
What I am disppointed in is the raspberries they came looking very dead, but I know with raspberries they can look like that but spring back to life when planted. So I planted the first 6 and nothing came up. I called back they said they would replace them. They did, but when I got the 6 new raspberries they looked just as dead, but I planted them any ways because I really wanted them. This time I waited over 2 months and nothing. I didnt expect ALL of them to grow but out of the 12 I got, I thought maybe ONE would have made it. I called customer service to see what could be done and was told fairly rudely that was all that could be done. So i have 12 dead sticks that I paid for. The money was not that great but it was idea that you can send someone dead stuff twice and not stand behind it. I told them I had planned on putting in future orders with the company but now I will not because I cant trust what I will get and they dont stand behind it.
On Jul 28, 2014, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Jul 28, 2014 1:44 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for leaving your feedback here regarding your bare-root raspberry plants. We take all reviews to heart, as this is our opportunity to improve our service and your experience going forward.
Our bare-root raspberry plants are dormant when they arrive to you. The new growth often comes from the roots of the bare-root raspberry plants (a difference from most other fruiting plants and trees) and not always from the canes above the ground. What stimulates the new growth is pruning at planting time. Were you instructed to prune your bare-root raspberry plants’ canes back to 2-inches above the soil on your replacement plants? We apologize that you feel dissatisfied with your raspberry plants and also your experience with our customer support team. While we have upheld our warranty* when we replaced your raspberry plants, our customer support manager will be reaching out to you regarding your issue and we hope we are able work with you to improve your experience with our company.
*Our Promise of Satisfaction states that if for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, let us know within a year of delivery and we will send you a free one-time replacement or refund your full purchase price if you don't want a replacement.
In 2013 I placed an order 976465 with Stark Brothers for two grape plants "Somerset Seedless". This year the vines had grapes and every grape has at least two large seeds in them. So either Somerset was really not a seedless grape or they supplied the wrong grapes. I e-mailed them about the problem several days ago (twice). They have evidently decided to ignore my e-mail. It would be nice and only fair to hear from them and either get replacement "seedless" grapes to take the place of these or a credit. At this point I have to say my experience is ***NEGATIVE*** due to misadvertised product and unresponsive customer service.
On Jul 23, 2014, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Jul 28, 2014 12:55 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
We apologize that you did not receive a timely response to your inquiry. Our customer support manager has replied to you as of last week in regard to your seedless grapes developing seeds. We hope the information you were provided helps alleviate your concern about the product. We apologize again for the delay in response and hope our customer support team can work with you to improve your experience as our customer.
6 years ago I ordered and planted 3 Heartnut trees from Miller's Nursery. It was listed that they would produce in 3-5 yrs None of these trees have ever produced nuts. Stark Brothers, who now own Miller's, refused to take any responsibility for these infertile trees and would not give me a credit or refund.
I 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.
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. StarkspurÆ Red Rome Beauty Apple Dwarf Supreme
3. StarkÆ Golden Delicious Apple Dwarf Supreme
4. StarkÆ Tree Guards 40"
5. StarkingÆ 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
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
On Apr 9, 2013, happyroots Averill Park, NY wrote:
Posted on April 8, 2013, updated April 9, 2013
I am VERY angry regarding my recent order with Stark Brothers. I placed my order in February and everything was listed as in-stock. I was sent a message saying they would ship on April 1st. Today I get a bill stating that my order was supposed to have shipped two days ago (April 6th) and one of my items is out of stock. The missing tree is needed to pollinate one of the items that shipped two days ago. The tree is useless now! What a con! They wait until the in-stock items ship before they tell you they are out of stock on the others! Now I can’t cancel an order for a useless tree! Grrrrrr! I should have the right to know about an order that cannot be filled correctly BEFORE it ships. They certainly have enough time to send me spam up until now, trying to get me to buy more stuff. I even ordered from one of these spam messages. That’s doubly infuriating now. I will NEVER order from them again! EVER! Now it is too late to get the missing item somewhere else. I ordered in plenty of time to get available stock. I don’t want them telling me that this is normal to run out as they are shipped. I ordered early. WE HAVE INVENTORY SYSTEMS THESE DAYS STARK BROTHERS! If you can’t figure out inventory until they day you ship things, then you are pretty sorry. How can I expect good plants if you can’t even count trees? I urge anybody reading this to hold onto you hard earned cash tightly. They will take your money and not provide the plants you ordered and wait until it is too late for you to do anything about it. Buyer beware! Other nurseries were honest about their inventory even back in February. If these other nurseries can keep track of inventory, certainly Stark Bros. should be able to. Talk about misleading practices to get you to order a bunch of stuff without being honest about what they could deliver! There should be a law to protect us from fraudulent practices like this! I plan to fight my bill tooth and nail! I will not pay for a useless tree; especially when their advertising tells me to buy the pollinator that doesn’t exist.
On April 9th, 2013, happyroots added the following:
I called to argue my bill based on the problem with their stock and shipping trees that could not be pollenated because of their lack of inventory control. I was told that the tree that was not available on my original order did not grow well this year and they were too small. (How do they not know this until they were ready to ship?) They then tried to sell me the shorter version of the tree at a lower cost (non-select). So what would I be getting; a less than vigorous plant that wasn’t healthy? I also found out that my order had not been shipped, as the invoice I received in the mail had implied that it would. I pushed to get a confirmation that the non-select tree would actually ship. They would not commit themselves. They kept saying that the tree was in stock “today.” Right! Been-there-done-that. I then ask when the order would “really” ship. I was told that it “should” ship within another week. (but again, no solid commitment) Okay, so now shipping is pushed back for a third time with no guarantee of anything. I cancelled that order and another order that still had not shipped. If a business cannot tell you for certain what they have in-stock, then they have no control over anything including quality. My best guess is that this company may be a middleman that peddles trees from other suppliers. There is no other reason for not knowing what your inventory is or what the quality of your plants are. That also jives with the delays they experience in shipping. If their suppliers don’t ship to them on-time, then they in-turn cannot ship to us. I ran into this problem with another supplier years ago.
At least I have one good tree this year. At the same time I ordered from Stark Brothers earlier this year, I ordered a different type of tree from another vendor and I already have it in the ground and the buds are already swelling. They are a smaller nursery and they grow everything themselves. What a difference! I wish I could order more from them, but they don’t carry the other varieties of trees I was looking for. Oh well.
Maybe I can find another good vendor on this site that has the varieties of trees that my good nursery vendor does not carry. But now, I have to wait until next year.
Stark Brothers cost me a whole growing year and my time dealing with this problem. I won't forget that. On Apr 9, 2013, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Apr 9, 2013 5:42 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
On behalf of all of us at Stark Bro's, please accept our sincerest apology for not properly communicating with you when items on your order became unavailable for shipping. You can be sure that your feedback is something we take to heart and we will work earnestly to improve our communication methods to better suit all customers going forward.
Here at Stark Bro's, we have been growing and selling our own trees since 1816 -- almost 200 years. Our Stark Supreme trees, and Select EZ Start® Potted trees, are handpicked as top-grade and, rest assured, our regular-grade trees are just as healthy as our Supreme and Select trees, just of a slightly smaller caliper. But, all trees must meet Stark Bro's quality standards before we deem them salable.
Nonetheless, we want to make this right and encourage you to please contact our Customer Support Team [800.325.4180] and speak with our Customer Support Manager regarding your order with us in an attempt to resolve your issue and restore your faith in our company.
Bad control of their inventory. I'm very upset with Stark Bros, a few months ago, I wanted to get the 2-n-1 cherry tree, but they were not available at the time so I signed up to get an e-mail when they got some. Shortly after I received an e-mail saying they had some in stock, so I went online and placed an order. I received an e-mail confirmation with a ship date and estimated delivery date. Both dates came and passed and nothing. I waited another week thinking it was going to be late and nothing. So I decided to call to see what was going on. I called one day and was on hold forever, so I hung up and called the next day. The next day they answered and told me that my order had been canceled because they ran out of trees. They could have at least e-mailed me right away to tell me about this. Instead they made me waste my time and money preparing a spot for me to plant the tree and buying good soil. I will never order from them again.
On Jan 13, 2013, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Jan 14, 2013 9:46 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
At Stark Bro's, we are dedicated to providing quality product and service to our customers, and we take pride in that. Your feedback here is appreciated, since you are sharing your honest experiences with our company.
We sincerely apologize for the lack of prompt correspondence about our product, the 2-N-1 Cherry tree, becoming unavailable before we could ship it to you. We understand your frustration in this situation. Please contact our customer support team [800.325.4180 | firstname.lastname@example.org] with your account information so that we may have the opportunity to rectify this with you.
Thank you again for your feedback and we hope to hear from you soon!
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 (email@example.com) so that we may have a chance to redeem our name, and our Stark Supreme Tree®, in your mind.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We really do want them to be the apple trees you were hoping for when they're ready! :)
On Mar 28, 2011, badcyclist National City, CA wrote:
Posted on March 26, 2011, updated March 28, 2011
I thought for a long time whether to rate Stark Bros as neutral or negative, but decided that my experience was, on balance, negative, or at least after more than a month it still grates on me.
I bought two apple trees from Stark Bros, which promised "professional pruning" for both trees with a long explanation about how the tree would be carefully shaped for perfect form, vigorous growth and maximum fruit production.
What I got was two sad, skinny, 3' long sticks attached to small root balls. There was not even a hint of a branch anywhere on either tree. As I wrote in my note to their customer service, my dog could have pruned the tree better than their "experts," just by gnawing off anything that stuck out. These were not cheap, either-- they were $27 each, plus shipping.
Assuming that they live, which I doubt, it is going to take many years to make even a small tree out of them, and who knows how long before they can bear fruit. They are truly pathetic specimens-- they make Charlie Brown's Christmas tree look wonderful.
Stark Bros. responded to my e-mail with their stock answer that they have a one time replacement offer if my two twigs die, which I appreciate, but are they just going to send me two more pathetic little branchless sticks? That isn't very reassuring.
I strongly believe that their advertising was deceptive, and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I have ordered fruit trees from several other mail order companies, and never been stuck with anything so pitiful or so far out of line with what was promised.
On March 28th, 2011, badcyclist added the following:
Thank you for your thoughtful and constructive response to my critical review. If I had received your response to my initial inquiry to customer service, I would have been a lot happier-- or at least I would have been reassured and at least somewhat mollified.
I went back and checked my records, and I ordered the $22 standard trees, not the supreme trees. That said, both promise professional pruning, not whips. The trees I ordered were the Cinnamon Apple and the Chenango Strawberry (the Chenango was on sale).
I am absolutely willing to see how the whips do, and I definitely appreciate that you will replace them if I am still dissatisfied within a year.
It still irritates me when I look at them, because they just are so pitiful compared to my other young apple trees. But maybe in a year, who knows? Even under the best of circumstances, however, it is going to take years before they amount to anything.
I do think that your company should be more honest in its description of what you send. If you are going to send whips instead of properly pruned trees, you should say so.
Alternatively, if I received whips when I should have received professionally pruned trees (as your website clearly promises), then I think that your customer service department should step up, admit the screw-up, and send proper replacements.
Thank you again for your helpful response-- it makes a difference to know that you are listening.On Mar 28, 2011, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Mar 28, 2011 7:50 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
It's always disheartening to read a negative review here on the Garden Watchdog, but we do appreciate you stating your honest opinion about your Stark Bro's experience. Without this kind of insight, we do not have the opportunity to correct our mistakes or make changes for better service to our customers. Sincerely: thank you.
If you have not been asked already: which 2 apple trees did you order? It's true that some trees grow more vigorously than others, but at the price you quoted, yours definitely should have been our most vigorous, well-branched & 4-5 ft. tall. i.e.- our "supreme" trees. (Most of our regular apple trees start at $22.99: http://www.starkbros.com/products/trees/apple-trees.) It is unacceptable for you to pay $27/tree and receive unbranched twigs! Your frustration is completely understandable.
And you are right, we DO state that we professionally pre-prune all of our trees before shipping. We believe this is vital to the trees' transplant survival and overall health. We fully stand behind this principle because, as a mail order nursery, we know what kind of things can both benefit and harm a tree when it's transplanted. We pre-prune every tree because our heart goal is YOUR success as a grower. These are the main reasons we pre-prune: http://growingwithstarkbros.com/?p=1843
Many of us in the office are not privy to viewing each tree before it ships, but we were fortunate enough to have an overall look at our tree crop last fall: [HYPERLINK@www.facebook.com] These photos do not represent our entire inventory, discernibly, but they are a good representation of our 2010/2011 tree crop. And now knowing you received your trees without branches, with only their main leaders, is discouraging in light of them.
There are a couple of things we can and will do for you:
1. You are privy to replacement trees whether the ones you received live, or not. See, our replacement policy covers each item 1 time, for 1 year, *for any reason.* Your dissatisfaction with the way they arrived is enough to warrant you replacements now, if you so choose. That's completely up to you.
2. Because apple trees may have different growth patterns, we would probably encourage you to allow your trees to grow 1 year-- to use most of your under-warranty time to let those roots sink in and take off. With fertilizer, you could see your trees' growth double within the year. We do understand the risks with this approach, one being lost time should the trees not grow well for you. Should at any time you decide the trees are not meeting your expectations within that year, you can simply call (800.325.4180) or email (email@example.com), and we will book replacements for you at that time.
We take pride in our business and in the success of those who grow our products (YOU). We appreciate you letting us know when we do not meet your -- and even our own -- standards for quality. Truly, we have nothing to offer if not quality products! Please let us know if you will give our trees a second try, either with immediate replacements or by waiting out the year and seeing how the trees grow. We'd like to ask for a chance to redeem our name in your mind.
I have purchased from Stark Bros. quite a few times. The only thing I have been disappointed in was the grapes. I ordered all the different varieties of seedless grapes they offered and EVERY single one of them turned out to be regular concord grapes. I contacted them and they tried to tell me that they got seeds because I planted them too close to a seeded variety. They sent me a 1 time replacement which I have my doubts about. I probably will end up with seeded concords...again. I won't buy from them again if I can't be sure that I am actually getting the cultivars I pay for...so now after 4 years wasted growing their grapes I am again searching for seedless grapes.
On Jun 25, 2010, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Jun 28, 2010 8:30 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for posting about your experience with our seedless grapes. Your frustration is very understandable! If we went to the grocery store and purchased any seedless variety of fruit, we would expect to get home and enjoy the fruit without the hassle of seeds - it's what we paid to enjoy! Anything less would warrant disappointment and probably a trip back to the grocer.
Since you are a fellow fruit grower, you know the difficulties (and rewards) that come from "growing your own." Those of us who set out to cultivate the fruits of our own labor, are the same people who deal with plant diseases, harmful pests, critters, Mother Nature's whims, etc. There's no easy grocery shopping for us! There is a viral disease that spreads from black raspberries to any other color raspberry, if planted within 75 ft. of the other berries. It is also true that a seeded variety of grape will corrupt any seed-less variety, if planted within too close in proximity. While this is not the only way or reason that seedless grapes develop seeds, it is probably the most common. Stark Bro's promises to deliver not only the plant(s) purchased, but also the quality expected... and we are very sorry to know that your grapes did not meet your expectations!
For the multitude of reasons that make fruit-growing so precarious, we offer our Promise of Satisfaction: if for any reason what you receive does not meet your complete satisfaction - be it the fault of Stark's cultivation, shipping, Mother Nature, etc. - we will reship anything, one time and free of charge, within a year of the original purchase. Please keep us updated and informed on your replacement grapes! We are, with you, hoping for the best; but if there are any consistent issues with the types of grapes you receive, we covet your input and feedback. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 800.325.4180. We aim to always satisfy our customers by providing them with the quality they should expect! "
I am originally from Wenatchee, Washington The 'Apple Capitol" of the United States. I know how to judge if an apple tree was well grown. I have a home orchard, and over 40 years of experience receiving and planting apple trees.
I recently ordered ONE apple tree from Stark Brothers -- the Company that heavily promotes its "legacy" of apple growing. I was shocked, and thoroughly disgusted by the POOR quality tree I received.
The tree had a root system which was so small, I doubt if this tree will survive, no matter how well it is taken care of. The longest piece of root is about FOUR inches long. the entire root mass of this $31.00 tree could fit into a two cup measuring cup!
This was supposed to be a "2 N 1"apple tree, with two different varities growing on the same root stock. What I received shows no indication of having an additional variety grafted onto the tree.
Additionally, the package was very poorly prepared for shipping. The single small tree was put into a plastic bag with no packing material and slopped into a huge cardboard box. There was nothing to prevent this tree from being slammed around inside the box.
All in all, this was THE poorest tree and the POOREST packing job I have ever seen in 40 years of growing apple trees.
I do not know how a Company that offers this incredibly POOR quality of product can stay in business!
On Apr 27, 2010, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On May 6, 2010 3:47 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
We are very sorry to hear about the condition in which you received your 2-N-1 apple tree! From the way you described your experience, we completely understand why you feel dissatisfied. We pride ourselves on satisfying customers with quality trees, and our Promise of Satisfaction guarantees any products you receive from us up to one year from shipment. Please contact our Customer Support Team at email@example.com, or by phone at 800.325.4180, and we will freely ship you another 2-N-1 apple tree to replace the original. At Stark Bro's, we strive to satisfy our customers with the highest quality trees and plants, and we will do everything we can to see that you receive one that meets your expectations!"
On Apr 19, 2010, blackiec Colorado Springs, CO wrote:
I have a Stark Blushing Golden apple tree that has never flowered or fruited in the seven years I have had it with six different blooming apples close by. It has also developed a very unusual gall- like enlargement where the topstock is grafted. It was determined this is a graft defect and or crown gall, and no fault of my own. Since stark changed ownership however they refused to help me even in any way, though I have both their tree tag, and proof of purchase. I am removing the defective tree
Many companies will work in good faith to help customers if a tree is defective or not true to name. STARK Bros. did not. If anyone gets a tree from them that turns out to be defective after their first growing season BEWARE that they may not stand behind their products. I was NOT asking or expecting a free tree, but an ounce of empathy, and maybe an offer to perhaps share some in a replacement would go a long way to avoid having to write this most unpleasant note. This is not a way to keep or get new customers.
Colorado Springs, CO
On Apr 19, 2010, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Apr 21, 2010 9:33 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Stark Bro's stands behind our products, but more importantly, we stand behind our customers. We understand that planting and growing successfully is dependent upon many different factors, some of which are out of anyone's control. In light of this, we have a Promise of Satisfaction for all of our customers regarding every order: if for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with your products or your experience with Stark Bro's, we will send you one-time free replacements or issue a full refund within a year of shipment.
We are very sorry to have lost your trust! It is true that Stark Bro's is under new ownership as of 2002. We firmly stand behind our guarantee for all orders placed under our new ownership. For orders placed with Stark Bro's prior to 2002, we promise to review each individual case when presented with the appropriate documentation. We encourage any customers who have issues with their products (purchased prior to 2002) to send us a copy of their proof of purchase, along with any other documentation they may have (i.e. - tags, pictures, etc.). All pictures of abnormal growths, deformities or diseases are reviewed by our Product Specialist for professional advice, and all of these concerns are reviewed on an individual, personal basis by upper management. Please feel free to send the documentation you have to our office! You can mail it to:
Stark Bro's Nurseries & Orchards
PO BOX 1800
Plant arrived with a dime sized hole in bark down to central core. Also, root stock was like a carrot with NO side roots.
Called Stark Bro's - they claimed thats how the trees roots are supposed to be. ( I think not). Also said the hole was caused by insect damage.
On the positive side they did offer to replace tree but I would have to pay shipping costs again ! They should have inspected the tree before being sent.
On Mar 26, 2010, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Mar 29, 2010 10:21 AM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for sharing your honest experience with Stark Bros. We apologize for the condition of the tree you received - it is true that sometimes insects can get into the packing and damage the leads. We try to offer the highest quality plants to our customers but understand that dealing with green goods can be very tricky. This is why we cover your purchases with our one-year Guarantee. We want to make your growing experience the best it can be!
Our Promise of Satisfaction here at Stark Bros states that if for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your order, within one year of shipment we will: refund you the full merchandise amount or will send you a one-time free replacement. That includes free shipping!
If you would still like your black walnut replaced, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Customer Support Team at 800.325.4180.
As I look at all these positive reviews, I am so sad to write a bad one. Last may I ordered a Canadice seedless grapevine, Typar tree circles, and a 2-N-1 classic pie semi-dwarf apple tree after I was referred to by another customer. I got the typar tree circles along with the Stark growing guide, but I have never received to this date my apple tree and grapevine. Rather than call and see what the matter was, I looked at other websites to see if they have better and cheaper stuff. So, last week on Thursday I ordered 3 trees, 2 grapevines, and 1 banana plant from Willis Orchard, I received my trees today. They were nice and healthy and significantly cheaper than the 2 plants I ordered from Stark Bro's. I am sad to write this review, as so many other customers had better experiences with this company, but I think people would want to think a 2nd time before they order more pricey plants from this company. Good thing they only charge the credit card when they ship.
On Feb 24, 2010, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Apr 7, 2010 5:00 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
We are sorry you were dissatisfied with your experience with Stark Bro's! There are several possible reasons why you never received your grape and apple tree. Our Customer Support Team is here to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your order last Spring, and we extend our hours during our shipping seasons so that every concern or complaint can be quickly and satisfactorily addressed. We strive very hard to please our customers and give them the best growing experience possible. We would be happy to address your issues from last year if you would like to inquire at email@example.com or call us at 800.325.4180."
Being from the South I could never emphasize enough how fanatical we Southerners are about Peaches. I have been married to a Georgia Peach for 27 years. When I looked at http://www.starkbros.com and saw all the varieties of Peach Trees they offered I quickly began filling my shopping cart with Blushing Star Peach Trees and the Stark special hybrid Saturn Peach Tree and a few Blackberry Bushes. I bought a few peach trees from a local nursery also and planted them close to my Authentic, Hybrid, Saturn and Blushing Star Peach trees so that I could more easily keep them sprayed as my local nursery had instructed. I watered and trimmed all trees the same, keeping a close watch for the growth buds that Stark Bro's Nursery promised would be popping open any time and that was back in mid April! Now I have 3 peach trees from my local nursery that are lush and green and 5 brown twigs from Stark Bro's Nursery. I should have known when Starks would not advise me about how to spray my Saturn and blushing Star Peach Trees that my local nursery was right and I should have bought locally. I will NEVER make that mistake again!
On Jun 3, 2009, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Apr 7, 2010 3:37 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
Thank you for letting us know of your disappointment with our peach trees, we are very sorry to hear they did not meet your expectations! All of our fruit trees are two years old when we ship them, coming to you on average 3-4 ft. tall. The trees may look like sticks (especially if they've been pre-pruned) and that is mostly due to their young age. The strength and quality of our trees is in the root system. It's from there that the tree tops will grow and mature.
It's been about a year: are you satisfied with the growth of your peach trees? If not, please notify us and we will gladly send you free replacements. We want your peach harvest to be abundant and your growing experience, exceptional! Our Product Specialist can assist in any spraying information you may need. For replacements on your peach trees, or for any inquiries, comments or critiques, you can contact our Customer Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800.325.4180. Your satisfaction is important to us!"
On Feb 7, 2009, DennInMI Manistee, MI (Zone 4b) wrote:
Just a comment about their website shopping experience. Stark Brothers DEFINITELY needs to add a mechanism to retrieve a forgotten password on their website. It's simply not possible, and it requires a call to customer service to do so. Almost every company out there on the web that has login information has a simple mechanism to e-mail forgotten log-in info to your e-mail address within seconds. Stark Brothers should seriously consider updating their website to allow this, since it would save everyone time and trouble.
IF you forget your log-in information, you CANNOT order again until you retrieve the information via a phone call.
I haven't had major problems with their products, and order quite often from them. Just wanted to post this to encourage them to make their website more user-friendly.
On Feb 7, 2009, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
"On Apr 7, 2010 2:19 PM, Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards Company responded with:
To all of our customers who made us aware of the changes you wished to see on our website - thank you for telling us how we could make your online shopping experience better! We do listen to your suggestions and have made some changes based on your advice:
1. We have included an automatic email retrieval of password information that no longer requires a call to our Customer Support Team.
2. The checkout process has been modified and updated to be quicker and more self-explanitoy.
3. You can now search for products based on key words or item/catalog numbers.
These are only 3 of many new changes that occurred in 2009, thanks to your suggestions and honest critiques. Look for many more changes to come in 2010.
Thank you for taking part in the creation and development of our website! Your comments are always welcomed by our Customer Support Team at email@example.com or toll-free 800.325.4180.
On Jan 10, 2009, GideonOrchards Springboro, PA wrote:
I have ordered several times from Stark over the years. Plant health is always good. The last order, however, was disappointing. I ordered several Persimmons, Paw-Paws, and many Walnut and other nut trees.
The Persimmons and Paw Paws were twigs. The caliper was no more than 1/4 inch, and the "trees" were, essentially, 1 year's worth of growth twigs.
The nut trees were somewhat better. They were, typically, short, but at least looking like more than 1 year of growth in the root stock.
In short, they would sell a lot fewer trees if they were honest in their catalog about the stature of the trees; 1/4" caliper, 1-3 feet tall. In other words - twigs.
I'd rather have had the information before I ordered the trees, because once you unpack 60 trees you are pretty much committed.
My opinion now is that Stark is borderline deceptive with their catalog - deceit through omission.
On Aug 28, 2008, trainsplanes51 West Milford, NJ wrote:
bought 15 raspberry plants about 5 years ago, approx. 8 did not grow, company gave refund for failed plants but would not refund the total bill. sent plants a month before spring frost dates. last spring pulled up all remaining plants due to desease. would not reccomend.
I am not totally displeased with this company by any means, but I have noticed a dropoff in quality compared to the good ol' days.
I first planted 12 Stark Brothers Dwarf and Semi-Dwarf fruit trees when I moved here 31 years ago. They all grew great, gave great fruit and (I still visit the old place even though I have moved) are ALL still thriving all these years later.
3 years ago I moved out of town to 35 acres to start my semi-retirement. I planted 26 Stark brothers trees over the three springs I have been here.
I never had a problem with the old Stark trees, but I have had THREE of these new ones break at the graft! (It does get a little windy here, but I only live 5 miles from where my original dozen trees are still going strong.)
Two of the trees were less than a year old and Starks replaced them, no problem. However, today I found that one of my original apple trees, unfortunately with quite a few small apples on it, had broken off at the graft. Now that's a tragedy!
Since it's over a year old, I won't be able to get it replaced, but I don't really care about getting a new tree free. I care about a tree that was doing GREAT suddenly dying on me.
Contrary to some of the other folks here I have had NO problem with their customer service people. What I am worrying about is if they are cutting some corners somehow? No sense in going to all the trouble planting these, spraying, watering, just to have them break at ground level! It seems to me that a grafted tree in its third summer should have enough new wood not to do this.
I'm just hoping no more die.
As far as them getting started out of the box, I have NEVER had a Stark Brothers tree do less than really thrive even the first year, but I do takes pains to plant them right.
On Jun 16, 2008, throneofyord College Station, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
I really am quite upset by these people. The impression I have gotten from them is that they think I am trying to scam them. They really don't want to take care of the issue. The issue is that I got two trees that were dry in a box. The plastic wrap inside the undamaged box, was not sealed. I got two crippled trees that suffered because they were baked dry. When I call support, the feeling is that I am lying or incompetent. If the bag had been intact, then maybe I would not be complaining. If their support had handled the problem I would not be complaining. Instead, they know that what they sent was perfect.
I ordered two trees from them in March. They were both pretty small but since I usually have pretty good luck with smaller trees over the long run, I didn't have a big issue with the size. I really wanted an Everbearing Mulberry and a Van Deman Quince. The Van Deman Quince is one of Luther Burbank's varieties, so, for me, it has an extra charm.
I called their support when I got them and was assured that they were perfect in every single way. Seriously. They were absolutely sure they were fine. So I planted them. I also planted two pears, three jujube trees, three quince, five plums, four peach trees, a persimmon, a mayhaw, a hawthorn, three elderberries, a goumi, an olive, a russian olive, two mulberries, and a few other fruit trees from various sources. The jujube's are growing slowly, but they are growing. The rest of the trees are doing great, except for the two trees from Stark.
I don't want to waste good tree locations on trees stressed beyond their ability to recover gracefully. I especially don't want weakened trees promoting disease in those locations.
They still have what looks like live growth spots on the trees. . It is June, there is no healthy growth on these plants although they are alive. So I will continue nursing and watering two trees that have small chance of thriving. I really don't expect them to become nice healthy fruit trees after what they have been through. I am not at this point interested in their sending me a replacement at the end of the year so I can have a repeat of the issue. I garden for the beauty of it, the fun, food and relaxation. I have gotten none of these things out of this experience.
I will be ordering from someone else to replace these trees. I really don't want to have any further relations with these folk. I will continue to water the sad sticks, in hopes that they will make it. I probably should dig them out, carefully wash the soil off the roots, and remove the sections of root that are dead.