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.
I ordered 2 cherry trees, one Stella at regular price and one Balaton at a ' Supreme" price after consulting with customer service who explained that the supreme price would insure a better tree and a special planting package. The Stella was about 3 1/2 ft tall and in good shape. The SUPREME Balaton was puny, barely 2 ft tall. The package consisted of a treeguard which was of no use since there was no trunc enough to wrap it around, and 3 plant tabs. When I conctacted customer service they said that Supreme simply meant the best available, NOT superior quality and that they would send me a replacement if the tree failed to grow. I feel that I was misled and that the tree they sent was not only not supreme, but actually SUBSTANDARD and if that was all that was available they should have notified me. Needless to say I will never order from this company again.
About six years ago I Purchased about 25 trees from Stark Bros. Since then three have died at the time of purchase there was a life time guarantee. When I tries to get the trees replaced Stark Bros. refused to comply. Excuse no.#1 The company has been sold and we don't have the records. Second call . WE now only give a one tear grarantee. Third call refer to call #2. I asked for a letter for the reason since the name Stark Bros.is still being used and how they can void our contract . Eight months later still no response.
Northampton CO. PA
On Aug 7, 2007, growingranny Dutton, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:
Three years ago I purchased asparagus, strawberries, blueberries, three apple trees and a fig tree. The only thing that lived from this whole order has been two of the appletrees, the pollinater died so I have had no apples, the fig tree which is about 1' tall, last year had 6 figs the size of peas and this year has about that many the same size. My letter to Stark Bros went unanswered in spite of the fact my husband and I had been customers of theirs for 30 years.
I will find another source for replacements for these things.
I received my order today from Stark Brothers. I am very disappointed in the paw paw tree. It was marked 4X4X10 on the box and the tree measured 3 inches! the blackberry plants I ordered in 3 packs were also very small and skimply looking. I will not be ordering from the catalog again!
On Feb 22, 2007, daedelus902 Charlotte, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:
I am listing this comment as a negative not due to Stark's commitment or their customer service. All have been beyond reproach.
However, that being said, I have noticed a reprehensible decline in their stock quality over the last 3 years. Three years ago, most of their fruit tree stock arrived well packed and at least 1/2 in caliper, (minimum). This year I ordered persimmon trees that were littel more than 6 month whip grafts. I measured the smallest at 16 inches, (that's not a typo), and 1/4 caliper at the price others are selling 4 - 5 ft trees of the same cultivar. Disappointed? Yes. My business goes elsewhere next year. Sorry Stark Bros, you got the greed bug and you will lose your cutomer base if this continues. You certainly lost my business and I am an old fashioned faithful customer.
Back in January 2005 I carefully planned out my fruit orchard and ordered all trees from Stark's to be delivered in April. I thought by ordering early I was reserving them. Well, they didn't show up in April so I called in May. "Oh, we have an order but it hasn't been completed, it is on hold"
How nice huh? and guess what? Almost half of my order was SOLD OUT! It was a big order, about 15-20 trees, all carefully selected for proper pollenation. Out of all the twigs (I ordered the better twigs) I finally received, 5 of them died. Never again with Stark's or any of their other companies.
I bought several trees from Stark spring of 2005. The fall of 2005 I had to have a peach tree replaced, which is doing fine. I had to have a cherry tree replaced this spring and it has died also. So far, I have lost 3 of the trees that they sent. The apple trees I bought will probably not make it, they are just about the as last year. I bought from other nurseries at the same time and the stock I received from them is doing excellent. I will not buy from Stark again.
On Apr 30, 2006, rcbulldog North Sutton, NH wrote:
Over several years I have had a declining experience with this company (and their affiliates). At first I received super stock with healthy roots and prompt customer service. However if you read these other experiences from fed-up gardeners you will see a pattern. This year all the Gardens Alive! companies switched to APX/DHL ( or something like that) for their postal needs. This outfit picks up their packages (probably daily) and is supposed to put them into the USPS system. However since they try to make money they don't send out a pallet to your shipping zone until it's full. So your plants sit in a warehouse drying out until it's cost effective for them to ship.
Now I had two orders coming this year from this company. One was held over from last year (since they sold my bought and paid for months in advance plants to warmer growing zones and ran out) and the other was this years. They shipped out on 4/11 and 4/12. The first came after only 8 days. I felt that was great. The one shipped one day later took just shy of 3 WEEKS! Well as experienced gardeners you know what I found. Dried up twigs. So I paid 20+ dollars in shipping for firewood.
I obviously can contact them for a refund or whatever but I think I've had enough. Besides if they send me replacements then they will just ship the same backward way and I'll have more kindling for the wood stove next winter. Most of all is the disappointment of planning all winter and coming up short when it's too late to re-order.
Follow other people's advice and find better companies with better business practices. If Stark's changes their ways I may come back, but only time will tell.
My experience with Stark Brothers has been awful. We ordered 19 trees in March and I requested a ship date of mid-April for my zone 5. They charged my credit card in April for $73 more than the order. When I called the company about this they informed me their computer system had a glitch in it and they would credit my credit card the $73. They also said they shipped my trees on April 12th. On April 24th, when I still didn't have my trees, I called the company and was informed that they would have to re-ship them but they didn't have 2 of the trees that I had ordered and one of the trees I was never going to get anyway because they were totally out of it and I couldn't even get it shipped in the fall. They informed me that they hadn't billed me for this tree. However, when I told them they most certainly did because the total on my credit card included this tree, they disagreed and said they would send it to accounting to investigate. I emailed them with a list of the trees I ordered and the cost from their catalog with an offer to fax them the original order form with the costs they charged me, but I have not heard from them. Now it's April 29th, no trees, I've been overbilled and no one will contact me to rectify this situation. It must be nice to have someones credit card number and charge whatever you want to it without providing the merchandise.
On Apr 27, 2006, beckyleach Aurelia, IA (Zone 4b) wrote:
I'm fed up with Starks. First, if you're a northern gardener, it doesn't matter HOW early you order and pay for your items, you're left to FATE to determine whether you receive them or not. Stark has admitted that they ship via gardening zone, and do NOT reserve pre-paid plants. So, if you're in a zone with a late start to planting season, you're likely to get screwed, as I did last year: they completely ran out of a variety of blackberry I PAID FOR in January, by shipping them to customers in other zones--even when they purchased late--and not reserving plants for MY zone's paid customers.
This year, we're playing "Where are the fruit trees?" games. I paid for two fruit trees on Feb. 2, and was given a ship date of April 10th..later changed to April 13th. Well, THAT date was changed to April 17th, and here I sit, on April 27th, with no trees. I could have walked from Missouri to Iowa in less time!
I've called Customer Service twice, and both times got rather frazzled and terse help...both times they said, "Sorry! Not allowed to look into this matter, track the shipment, or save you some replacement trees until TEN working days have passed."
If I get dead trees after their long journey (ha!) from the state below me, I'm sure that, by then, they'll have "sold out" and can't replace mine, either. I'm 50 years old and can't afford to keep waiting year after year while Stark gets their you-know-what together.
I will *not* do business with them again. Miller Nurseries in NY offers nearly identical stock, and MUCH better shipping and customer service.
On Feb 8, 2004, ceresone Willow Springs, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:
I ordered quite a number of fruit trees one january. since i wanted the best, i ordered the "supreme" pruned and all. april came--no trees. they told me they had been shipped-but had no tracking number. the post office finally convinced them the trees had never arrived. so, in may, late to plant trees here, i recieved my order. the most twisted, puny, disreputable trees i've ever seen.and, as for the lifetime guarentee i purchased my trees under? forget it, the company filed bankruptcy. so, my beautiful orchard of stark trees,( in my dreams only)is something i'm sure to show people who want to start a "Starks" orchard. i'd reccomend going to your supermarket trees first.
On April 13th, 2005, ceresone added the following:
well, it looks as if they wait long enough, the negatives MIGHT "fade away" never on mine. it is said the employees are still there--well, they know how bad they ripped off some of us--so it looks to me like if they want to clear up their reputation, they would make the bad orders right.i ordered between 20 and 30 trees--sorry mess. after gardens alive bought them, i decided to take a chance again, and ordered fruit tree spray--mixed EXACTLY as they said, it has killed at least 2 of my remaining trees, their reputation is shot with me--i'll still go to walmart for trees!!On November 26th, 2005, ceresone added the following:
well, now its a long time later-and i still feel the same.
my oriental persimmon began to bear this year, after waiting several years for the "large oriental" persimmons--its the same ordinary persimmon tree that grow wild in this area!!about the size of a nickel! do you think it would do any good to take pictures of these scruffy trees, and show them?i asked them to come see them, since we're in the same state--but no answer. i have ordinary persimmons, my seedless grapes are tiny wild grapes with seeds, my trees- the problems i've had with these scroungy trees, you wouldnt want to know. most are dead now anyway--my expensive lifetime guarentee orchard--no, i wont go away like my trees have, i want everyone to know how disreputable the company is---
I ordered 15 fruit trees from "STARK NURSERIES" I WAITED AND WAITED BUT THE TIME I WAS TOLD THEY WOULD SHIP TO ME CAME AND WENT. AFTER 4 CALLS APPROXIMATELY A WEEK APART EACH DURING EACH CALL THEY TOOK FOREVER TO FIND MY ORDER DUE TO THE FACT I ORDERED OVER THE INTERNET THEY COULD NOT FIND IT THEY KEPT SAYING THE NUMBER I SUPPLIED TO THEM WAS A COMMERCIAL ORDER! WELL THE POST OFFICE CALLS ME AND SAYS I HAVE A PACKAGE TO LARGE TO BRING TO MY HOME? I CAN SEE NO SENSE IN SHIPPING AN UNDELIVERABLE PAKAGE THRU A SERVICE THAT IS NOT EASILY TRACKABLE- THE TREES WERE A MONTH LATE, HAD SPROUTED 5-6 INCHES DURING THIS LONG ORDEAL AND THE "FREE" GIFT WAS A MOULDY PILE OF GOO!
SEVERAL OF THE TREES DIED WITHIN A MONTH DESPITE CARE OF A TYPE THAT HAS GROWN FABULOUS TREES IN THE PAST IN A LOCATION/SUN/SOIL AAAAA++++. WHEN I CALLED IN TO CLAIM THE REPLACEMENT THEY TRIED TO TELL ME TO BEAT ON THE DEAD TREES WITH A ROLLED UP MAGAZINE! ONLY WITH GREAT INSISTENCE DID THEY AGREE TO REPLACE THEM IF I AGREED TO PAY SHIPPING NEVER NEVER NEVER DEAL WITH THESE PEOPLE THEY ARE NOT! THE STARK OF OLD.
A couple of years ago I bought some currant bushes, several strawberry plants, a "fruit cocktail" tree, a necterine, and an apricot tree from them. They sent everything in one shipment, but when I got my credit card statement they had overcharged me. So I called them and they argued that There had been two shipments and the charges were correct. They refuesed to remove the charges. I contacted the credit card company who promised to take care of it. Stark Bros. challanged the credit card company and I had to fight them for months, they could never be bothered to check their shipping records for the mystery second order.
My family has bought from them from years, but that was the last order we will ever place with them.
Oh yeah, the strawberry plants died within a month, different plants that I bought locally at the same time are still thiving. The currents looked dead when the arrived and never produced so much as a leaf. The fruit cocktail tree hasn't grown an inch in almost three years. I would contact them to complain, but I can already see where that would go!
Placed my first and last Start Bros. order. I ordered 6 roses. Received duplicate order. Called them and they requested that I package the duplicate order back up and ship back to them. Spent approx. 1 hr. one night packaging the order back up like they had it, didn't really expect the tiny little roses to survive another shipment though.
Husband took the box to the Post Office. Once I realized they had refunded the charge for the roses, I requested a refund of the shipping charges (used the same amount they charged me to ship the first time). They told me before they could refund my shipping, they would need a receipt for our shipping charges. My husband did not get a receipt. "Customer Service Rep" said she would see what she could do for me after speaking with her supervisor - did not hear back from them. This was their mistake. I didn't charge for my time and mileage, etc., for shipping the plants back. All I wanted was refund for the same shipping charge that they charged me. In trying to do the "right thing", it cost me for their mistake in the first place. Buyer beware!
About five years ago I ordered 2 hybrid elm trees. they sent me two trees, but one turned out dead (they replaced) the other was a poplar. When I complained they said the popular was a type similar to the elm. Silly me I believe them, assuming they meant some special hybrid poplar. But no it was the usual tall stick, ugly as sin and awful looking next to the elm (i had wanted two matching elms.
I also order a sycamore and the y sent me something, that looks and grows like a poplar (tall and narrow).
On Jan 25, 2003, vieja albuquerque, NM (Zone 7a) wrote:
Several years ago I bought a dwarf peach and apricot tree from Stark's by mail. The trees arrived in good condition and grew well but have never blossomed! One call to Stark's and I'm told to use nitrogen, another call and I'm told NOT to use nitrogen,another call tells me it is a pollination problem .... how can it be pollination when I never had any blossoms to pollinate to begin with?! A Bonanza genetic dwarf peach from Home Depot is in the same area and has always blossomed and bore fruit.
I have heard from others with this same problem with Stark's fruit trees ... are they sterile or what?
On April 4th, 2009, vieja added the following:
I ordered a dwarf Elberta peach tree from Burgess ... a spindly 12 inch twig arrived not bagged inside the outside wrapper & the roots & stem bone dry! They say to 'give it 6 weeks & it no doubt will live' (!!!!) No way!. I just ordered the same now from Stark's & it arrived (though the bag inside was slit & wet newspapers loose!) a 4 ft. tall, good caliper tree with buds showing & green twigs ... now that is one I truly believe will grow!
1.)I ordered two apricot trees: their special 'Stark Sweetheart apricot' 6 and 5 years ago respectively. The trees are huge (were supposed to be dwarfs) but not only they did not fruit, they have never even flowered. The advice given by their horticulturist was to hang Christams lights on the branches to protect the flowers from late frost. She did not seem to understand that there is nothing to protect!!!
Two other pieces of advice offered in the same breath: a) stop fertilizing - soil is probably 'too rich' AND b) buy their super rich Nitrogen fertilizer... No comment
The weather cannot be blamed because while we had no flowers on our 5 and 4 years Stark apricots, my neighbor had millions of flowers on her newly planted flowering apricot -she did not purchase that tree from Stark.
2. Also purchased their special "Blue ribbon" prune tree. First prune died, second is alive. It flowers madly but not one fuit. They admitted to a friend of mine, who ordered the same from them - silly me, I reccommended Starks to many people based on postings found on this site!- that the tree is not self -pollinating. But they still advertize it as such.
3. I also ordered two sour cherries from them. The Balaton died, the first North Star died, second, the replacement is alive but produces tiny fruits and not much of that.
4. The blame could be on me if other fruit trees I purchased from others would have failed, too - but my Nectarines and Peaches had a very heavy load of fuits on them, so did my figs. And my two new Japenese Persimmons (purchased from One Green World) had fruits though they are very young, only 3 and 2 years old and tiny compared to Starks huge "shade trees- with- no- fruit" specimens.
5. I find more and more people who are just as disappointed with Starks as I am. Maybe the old reputation lives on (without any basis in my experience), and no one wants to say that the king has no clothes?
I bought 17 fruit trees from Stark in October, 2000. 9 never leafed out. I called Stark in early April 2001, I was told the trees were still dormant. I called again in June. An answering machine told me that the company was out of business. When I received a catalogue in December 2001, I requested a refund. It was not honered, only replacements would be. I decided to get replacements. April 2002 came, but no trees. I called to find out what happened to my replacements. Stark did not have my order. I faxed them copy of my request and original invoices. 6 trees arrived with no explanation why 6, not 9. Another call resulted in a promise of shipment within 2 - 3 weeks. No trees. After another call, I was told a credit had been given to my account to apply to the next purchase. I just placed my order for the replacements. Let's see whether I'll get another run around. It will be 3 lost growing seasons from the original purchase.
On February 11th, 2003, nunoi added the following:
I will never order anything from Stark Bro's again.
They would not honor my replacements. The reason? They would only replace the plants shipped last year. Since my request was for replacement for trees that NEVER CAME last sprin, no dice from the company.
Good luck to those who want to deal with this company.On February 17th, 2003, nunoi added the following:
I will never deal with this company again. Just tossed out all their catalogs.
Last spring, Stark Bros' promised to replace 9 trees. Only 6 were shipped. I was told a credit was given to my account for future order.
Now I am told they are not going to replace the 3 trees that were omitted from last spring shipment. The reason? They would replace the trees sent in 2002 only. Since there was no records the trees I wanted were sent in 2002, they cannot replace them!
Good luck to those who want to order anything from this company. On August 22nd, 2003, nunoi added the following:
This spring Starks' sent me an itty bitty Viburnum with no explanation. It probably will take ten years before it blooms if it survives. Two weeks ago a check was sent with no explanation either. They probably read my comments on this website. I still will not deal with them ever again. Tossed out any catalog that came in the mail.On November 29th, 2006, Pitimpinai added the following:
I am surprised people still deal with this company. The "dwarf" peach tree they sent me reached the telephone line long ago. I had to trim it down every year. I will cut it down this winter because of gumosis.
None of the columnar apples have born fruits. I'll keep them and use them as trellis for Clematis instead since there is no hope for any fruits.
I purchased raspberry plants from Stark's 4 years ago. They did not produce the first two years (I thought I would give them plenty of time to become aclimated). All other raspberries that I have planted in the past have borne the first year after planting (fall planting). The third year, when they still did not bear, I called Stark's to complain. I was told that they were under new management, and to call back in about 3 months. When I called back, I was told that their warranty covered only one year. I tried to complain to the customer service rep's higher up and was told that he was not available. I will never buy from Stark's again, especially since I have discovered Millers.
I have ordered a total of about ten fruit trees from them. All arrived in good shape. One nectarine turned out to be a peach tree. I bought a pluot and aprium set that were sold as a pollinating combination. Years later I found out that pluots and apriums do not pollinate each other. Repeated calls and letters yielded nothing more than an offer to sell me a plum for my pluot and an apricot pollinator for my aprium.
I ordered last year before they filed bankruptcy and received an order full of moldy and dying plants. I complained, was told my order was being resent, and waited until I heard of the bankruptcy. This year I recieve a catalog almost identical to the previous years. I read the new warranty and called customer service. I told them my name and they had my address and everything. They then stated the replacement would be sent when the weather was right. Weather got right and I got a form letter that they didn't get order records (apparently they did get mailing lists) from the former owners and asking me to prove I ordered. I sent packing lists and still no reply. If your'e not going to honor a warranty, don't offer.