Posted on May 10, 2012, updated May 16, 2012
Last fall I placed and received an order of a Japanese maple tree, 3 smokebushes and a abies procera. The customer and shipping services were very good. The three smokebushes were dried up twigs when they arrived. The Abies was a letdown; at $35 it was very small – but I was happy since I got the plant I wanted and they did send me a picture of it before shipping. I sent Ray an email about the smokebushes and was told that it would be ok in spring. I asked and received the guarantee/warranty in an email.
Come spring, the maple sprouts leaves. The smokebushes were still dried up twigs and the abies did not look very good and did not have any buds. I sent Ray an email with pictures and was told to wait for a little longer. The two cotinus /smokebushes then sprouted leaves and I waited till they were about 6-8 inches off the ground to let Ray know that one was not showing any signs of life and that was the same for the abies which now looks worse – again with pictures. This time there was no response. I sent another email to make sure he got the first one and also requested to know when to expect a replacement/credit for the two dead plants- still nothing.
I was hoping to get this resolved over emails but since there is no response I am giving them this negative review.
On May 16th, 2012, bloom79 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
On May 11, 2012, psychloman Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:
I ordered two hardy fuchsias, an acacia and a cardiocrinum.The plants arrived securely packaged and in excellent condition. I place an order or two every year despite the high shipping to the east coast but it's worth it. They have plants you can find nowhere else and they are always great specimens.In response to those who complain about the difficulty of unpacking the shipment I must say I don;t mind;in fact, they should give the guy who does the stapling and the taping a raise.
On May 6, 2012, rebecca101 Madison, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:
WOW I was very impressed by the quality and size of the shrubs I received. The plants were all very large (larger than what I typically find in my local nursery!) and healthy. The packaging was a work of art. Took a bit of doing to get the box open, but the plants were really well-protected in there. The shipping prices are expensive, but definitely worth it. Best mail-order shrubs I've experienced so far.
Posted on February 13, 2012, updated May 5, 2012
Posted on February 10, 2012, updated February 13, 2012
I ordered too late in the season I suppose. I got a large, oversized limber pine (columnar) in Late December. Initially it appeared okay, tall, but sparse, very thin. I know well the requirements of these plants, need for good drainage, etc. The rootball was so, so so girdled and tight, I didn't know what I was going to do. Roots also seemed too....dark (rot??), but I just prayed.... this cost a LOT plus the shipping..
I decided to store it dormant in unheated garage (good air circulaton) as I have many other plants over the years and wait until spring to try to ungirdle the roots. I figured waiting until the soil was warm would encourage quicker root growth though there would be a setback. Less than a month, with very minimal water (but not dry, stick poked down to bottom was used).
I started seeing resinous spots on the tree. Confused, I did a lot of research. It was still dormant (?), but then I noticed various little holes to the tree stem itself. Unsure of cause, unsure if there when it was delivered (I was ill at the time). I kept the ventilation going, dormant, and the tree started yellowing, dropping it's needles. Understandable, maybe, in that it was stressed... too tight rootmass, whatever, but I couldn't figure out what was happening so fast. Finally, I gave up on it, after examining it's roots once again. The resin was increasing, I didn't understand the tiny holes in the bark, and I lost a lot of money.... bigger isn't better, end of season is stupid on my part.
I did email them about 2-3 weeks ago, just to let them know. I won't purchase from them again.
I have another plant, oversized, I also got from them. Again, quite expensive, 5 gallon. Arborvitae, sunkist. It's very very skinny, and puny for the price. A tall stick with some foliage. It too is so rootbound, I'll try to deal in spring. It's been heeled in outside in protected location, it's already had spider mites, scale, aphids, and a few branches are cankered.
On February 13th, 2012, greyandamy changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
I feel very guilty as the staff at forest farm genuinely seemed not to get my email. Plus, once they heard of this issue, they were extremely committed and .. I believe ...concerned. I could tell, through dealing with many others, that this was genuine and not just "for show". They went out and inspected their stock, had numerous questions...none placing blame.
I don't know, the winter here in PA has been extremely odd and maybe OUR environmental conditions, or most likely that's it... I must address above issue re: arborvitae, it DID NOT ARRIVE WITH PESTS, neither did. IF I COULD EDIT ABOVE TO MAKE IT MORE CLEAR, I WOULD. There's all kinds of wierd creatures around HERE now, I can't blame F.Farm. I lost the limber.... but they don't grow well around here. I'm kind of involved in something unexpected now so I couldn't help the forest farm staff much more... but it's clear they'd do anything to keep their customers happy., Maybe I killed the limber.... However, I was reading over their feedback, comparing prices, sizes... I can say their plants are extremely well packed and there's no detail left undone. I would encourage you to go there, but you probably have. THat's why it's in top 5....On May 5th, 2012, greyandamy added the following:
I ordered more from them awhile back, not much energy but if I had it I'd scream EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT in EVERYWAY POSSIBLE....I've never been more impressed with any company.... absolutely, in my opinion, the best...
I ordered 15 European Hornbeam Fastigiatas from Forest Farm, 2-3 feet tall in March. Most of them were at least 3 feet and some were actually 4 feet. They ALL had one thing in common: They were EXTREMELY healthy. Their root systems were unbelievable. Some of them had roots as long as 3 feet. It was funny having to dig these hugely wide holes for these tiny trees just so that the root systems could fit in easily and be stretched out comfortably.
Forest Farm takes pride in their product, no two ways about it. When you call them, you actually reach someone the first time, and they take the time to answer every one of your questions.
The leaves on these trees are stunning. NO transplant shock whatsoever. They have gone through frosts and freezes every other night, temps down to as low as 19, and yes, while we covered them with 2 warm blankets each, I honestly attest their coming through all of the stress of the freezes is more because they were extremely healthy to begin with. Not one leaf turned brown, not one leaf wilted.
I am just ecstatic. I paid over $500 for these trees between their price and the shipping and I have gotten a full return on my investment.
Their packaging is the best of any online nursery that I have experienced. It will take forever to get the trees out, but it's that protection that has your trees arrive without incident.
I could go on and on. Bottom line, is if there was a star rating on here and you were allowed 5 stars, I would give them 10.
Thank you Forest Farm for giving us trees more healthy than we ever imagined and for being so nice to deal with on the telephone.
On Apr 29, 2012, Tessiess Claremont, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
I ordered 4 trees, size 1, and some smaller plants in tubes (goji berry and Rosa webbiana) last fall. They arrived quickly and were wonderfully packed, healthy, and large (at the upper end of the size range when compared to what others send out). The packaging was well-designed too so it was easy for me to get the plants out without damaging them. The trees were nicely staked. Planting instructions were detailed *and* easy to understand. I am very pleased with how my plants are doing (R. webbiana, for example, has a new basal about 5' high now) and plan on ordering from Forestfarm again.
On Apr 28, 2012, sgardencrazy Crystal Lake, IL wrote:
I just received my 2012 order from Forrest Farm. Plants were in excellect condition to to extroardinary packaging. The plants are all tubes and an excellect value. The shipping is a bit high but worth it when your see the effort made to insure their safe arrival.
On Apr 28, 2012, springlakenj Spring Lake NJ United States wrote:
In this day and age, we are all quick to complain, so we should also praise when appropriate. So.......
Being a glutton for punishment, I decided to buy an olive plant (NJ 6B now 7A I guess). I did some research and saw the Arbequina Olive was suitable for a pot, to bring indoors in winter. I ordered online from ForestFarm and a few days later, received a voicemail from them, telling me I still had a credit from 2004, 8 years ago, and after the plant and shipping, I still had a $5 credit. The plant arrived, packaged to survive a nuclear war and is doing well. Now that is customer service!
Forestfarm has a wealth of plants and plant information. Their packaging is second to none, all plants arriving very well protected.
My review is neutral rather than positive because of the condition of some of the plants received. We have ordered nine plants in the last few months, and most are well grown and robust. However, we were disappointed with two crape myrtles. One arrived suffering from a fungus. It has been a very wet spring and that is perhaps the cause. The other crape myrtle, "Tonto" ordered as a tube actually came in a two inch deep plastic pot, and the plant itself looks to have been just barely rooted, and without significant roots. I am babying it in hopes it will grow, though it does look dead.
Perhaps that "Tonto" was one of the last ones in stock, but I would have preferred an email stating "sorry, we only have small plastic pots available with recently rooted plants. Would you still like to receive it?"
All in all, though Forestfarm has a rich assortment of plants. I had no problem using the web site and researching plants for my conditions (110 degrees in the summer and 110 deer in the winter.)
On Apr 9, 2012, jqpublic Cary, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:
This is my second time ordering through ForestFarm. I bought 5 small trees last fall and all five are sprouting. I had some concerns over 1 tree in particular. I emailed FF and they provided reassurance and advice on how to guarantee it to leaf out in the spring. The advice paid off! I'll be coming back if I can find more room!
On Apr 6, 2012, blueschiz Landenberg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:
Gorgeous plants arrived in the mail today from Forestfarm. They were well rooted, perfectly packed and arrived with all the soil in place and not too dry. Some of the best plants I've gotten in the mail to be sure!
On Mar 31, 2012, eminkler Pawleys Island, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:
I have been ordering plants from catalogs for over 30 years. I have never received such large and beautiful plants as I did from ForestFarm. The plants were packed so perfectly that they couldn't possibly have been injured in their journey across the country. They are extremely healthy, one already blooming, one still with it's winter berries, and two ready to burst with leaves. Specific planting instructions were included that I appreciated.
I am very pleased with ForestFarm and will be ordering from them again and again.
On Mar 30, 2012, Fracture Auburn, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:
I have so far had a very good experience after having just received my first order from this company. When you check out, they ask if you have a desired delivery date and they wound up being one day early. It's nice to not have to go to any lengths to get a certain delivery date.
It has been a few years (3-4) since I ordered trees via the mail, but these were by far the best packaged ones I have ever received. I am on the other side of the country from them, so I'm always a little leery about plants being in shipment for very long. It was 8 days from the UPS pickup in Oregon until it was delivered to my doorstep in Georgia. But there were no dried or withered leaves and the soil was still very wet.
I ordered 5 trees and 1 perennial (sunflower). Of the 5 trees, 4 were size 1's and the other was a tube. The sunflower was a tube. I must say I am surprised at how tiny the sunflower is. It should do fine and maybe it will really explode, but I will probably get perennials elsewhere in the future.
One last thing I wanted to mention was in regards to their shipping. They advise you to buy 4 of the same size so that you can fill a box and save money on shipping. At one point while playing with my order, I had 3 size ones and 1 tube. I don't recall the specifics, but whatever the tube was, it also had a size one option. So you would think that if the size 1 was, say, $6 more than the tube, and that you save money on shipping if you fill the size 1 box, that it would be at most about $6 more to upgrade from the size one to the tube. But nope! It added about $15 to my order. I think it saves them more money than it saves the customer to fill a box!
On Mar 19, 2012, Old_Gardener Calabasas, CA wrote:
Posted on March 12, 2012, updated March 19, 2012
Posted on March 6, 2012, updated March 12, 2012
I discovered ForestFarm through Dave's and placed an order for (18) trees/shrubs (all tube sized) on Thursday (3/1). I received notice of shipment on Monday (3/5). UPS is due to deliver tomorrow so you can't beat the quick turn-around! The shipping cost is very reasonable when purchasing in quantity - $21 for this order (about $1.16 per tube). Thank you, ForestFarm!
On March 12th, 2012, Old_Gardener added the following:
I received my order on Wednesday as promised. The plants were packed extremely well!! The (8) Columbian Hawthorn are fantastic. They are, on average, 18-20" tall, well branched and look close to breaking dormancy. The (3) Maclura are 18" tall and the (3) Western Mayhaws are 10-12" tall, well-branched, and leafing out. I did find whitish/translucent "worms" in the soil.
Of the 18 plants ordered, the worms were contained to the three opaca which have since been rinsed and repotted in sterile soil. I emailed Forestfarm on Friday, 3/9, for further suggestions and received a response from Ray within an hour (remarkable turnaround time - especially this time of year!). He was very helpful. Per their investigation, the worms are feeding on the mulch - no treatment necessary. As for the rest of the plants, the three Aralia spinosa are 1" tall but have thick stems (not spindly) with a 3" root system and the Paulownia kawakamii, although it has a dead (not dormant) stem, appears to have a healthy 4-5" root mass with a possible/probable budding point. I know that it is recommended to coppice Paulownias for the first 2 seasons to encourage stronger trunk formation so I am comfortable that it will re-sprout in a few weeks. I would order from Forestfarm again - exceptional packaging, delivery time, and customer service coupled with some really nice plants. On March 19th, 2012, Old_Gardener added the following:
Although it has been but a week, the little Paulownia is indeed pushing up growth (3 new growth points) and 2 of the 3 Aralia are leafing out. The 3rd appears to be trying to form a leaf bud so all looks good. Thank you Forest Farm.
On Mar 18, 2012, scleghorn Copperas Cove, TX wrote:
Posted on March 26, 2011, updated March 19, 2012
I ordered a Chilopsis last spring, and was contacted by the company and told that the ones they had in stock had been frost-damaged and weren't up to their standards. They offered me a choice between a refund and a discount. I chose the discount, and the specimen they sent was indeed a pitiful stick. The stick has more than quadrupled in size, and is growing like mad again this spring. Sturdy stock!
I appreciate a company that has enough pride in their product to set high standards for themselves and stick to them. I've bought a lot of plants through the mail and it wouldn't have been the first time a company had shipped a substandard product and waited to see if I would complain. Now I will always check them first when I'm looking to buy.
On March 18th, 2012, scleghorn added the following:
Ordered a mission olive this year as a tube (their smallest size) and I am very pleased with the sturdy little tree that arrived. As usual, their packing job is a little frustrating to get the plant out of, but obviously designed to keep the plant from being damaged in transit and successful at that.
The chilopsis flowered like mad all last year, grew another couple of feet, and is trying to eat the sidewalk.
On Mar 18, 2012, bluntforcemama Bothell, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:
I ordered a little under $150 worth of plants from ForestFarm, and all of them arrived in wonderful condition, well packed, and already had vigorous growth. Patti even contacted me personally! I highly recommend them for any Pacific NW gardeners.
Forest Farm is one great mail order company to purchase plants from. I have ordered from them in the past and I have had great service. Came home today and found my box of woodland gems waiting for me on my front porch, right on schedule. All plants ordered were accounted for and packaged extremely well without peanuts and fillers used by others. Happiness found in a box of carefully packaged, great looking plants from Forest Farm!
Posted on April 15, 2010, updated March 16, 2012
Quick delivery and plants in nice condition--you'd never guess they were shipped the entire way across the country! Catalog is amazing. I will order from again.
On March 16th, 2012, agroff added the following:
I've now ordered several times from Forest Farm and always have a great experience with them. As far as I can recall, the plants always arrive on the date I request and the size and health of the plants is wonderful. This time I ordered a large (5 gallon) Aesculus flava, and 1 gallon Eleagnus commutata, Ulmus rubra, Magnolia acuminata var. subcordata, and Fraxinus profunda. All arrived in great condition. The Ulmus is probably 6 feet tall, much larger than expected. The other sizes are as stated on the website. The website is very easy to order from, and I will again! A+
Posted on April 21, 2007, updated March 15, 2012
thier website is my first stop If I want to research a new genus. huge inventory, their catalog would take months to read and must be four inches thick. thier tubes have been shoddy for me; but a one gallon redbud of theirs has the shaping and pruning of a true master.
On March 15th, 2012, 123456789 changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
forest farm's web site has often been my first stop to look at a plant picture, and the selection makes for a telephone book catalog with witty snippets through out. That said.................................................................................................The stock quality is lack luster at best. i've order multiple times and visited thier nursery in williams. it really is a 'forest farm " with dense shade cast on ther stock all day everyday making for leggy or weak stuff wacked up like bonsai. often the material is root bound like an anaconda was nesting in the pot. I say drive out to see them in williams and pick out your choice, better yet buy some seeds and grow your own its how they do it and is much more rewarding.On Mar 15, 2012, Forestfarm responded with:
"On Mar 18, 2012 8:45 PM, Forestfarm responded with:
Wow! It’s hard to know what flipped the switch to cause “Mike” to go from neutral to a negative rating. He visited Forestfarm in January of 2011 (over a year ago), when he purchased a few plants, but we haven’t had any contact with him since then.
We work hard to keep our customers happy (it’s important to us), so we sent “Mike” a D-Mail and then called him to ask what we had done wrong--what we could do to make things right. He didn’t really have an answer, but said he would amend his posting. That hasn’t been done, so we feel that we must defend ourselves with a rebuttal.
“Mike’s” comment about Forestfarm growing all of our plants in dense shade “all day everyday” is totally false. At least 75% of the nursery receives mostly sun each day. Those plants that do better in shade or partial shade are given these conditions. We certainly don’t see in our plants what he’s referring to as spindly or leggy growth, plants “wacked up like bonsai”, or “anaconda” root systems. We really wonder if he was thinking of Forestfarm when he wrote this, or some other nursery!
Some of the plants “Mike” purchased at Forestfarm were named cultivars, so obviously weren’t grown from seed. We do grow many kinds of plants from seed, and would welcome readers to try to do so also. But it may not be as easy as he makes it sound.
Since we never know what demand for a plant will be, it’s always a guess as to how many to grow. Sometimes we don’t have enough of a plant; sometimes we have too many, in which case some may get overly large. When that happens, we donate the overgrown plants to our local Master Gardener group for educational purposes, or they are used in a plant sale to raise money for the group’s activities.
As to the plant quality being “lack luster at best”, please read the other postings on the Garden Watchdog and make your own judgment. Thank you, Ray & Peg & crew
On Feb 29, 2012, crazy_for_abies Fresno, CA wrote:
Posted on April 19, 2011, updated February 29, 2012
Took the plunge and ordered 17 plants my first time ordering. Plants arrived on the exact day I requested them, and shipping was very reasonable since I purchased all 17 plants as tubes. Plants were well wrapped and wet, and those that were not dormant were much larger than I would have expected from a tube. It has been 5 weeks since delivery, and all 17 plants are healthy and have exploded with new growth. I highly recommend this nursery and I will be ordering again in the fall.
On February 29th, 2012, crazy_for_abies added the following:
I have now ordered a total of three times from Forestfarm. I give them my highest recommendation. They have a customer for life.
I am an avid plant hobbyist who has been mail-ordering plants for thirty years. As a long-term customer, I am always exceptionally satisfied placing and receiving orders from forestfarm.com. Time and time again, I'm impressed by their listing of traditional as well as rare and hard-to-find plants, such as Viburnums, Pittosporums, Osmanthus, Ilex, Elaeagnus, Photinias, Arbutus, Bay Laurels, Ligustrums, Vacciniums, and Magnolias. These are but a few of their extensive offerings which are well described. I continually visit Forestfarm.com since many of their plants are hard to find in my area, eastern coast of the US. Whenever I unpack a Forestfarm shipment, I am left breathless with the size, health, beauty, and elegance of the rooted tube plants and gallon plants. At Forestfarm.com, I receive excellent personable and friendly customer service. All of the plants that I order have full healthy growth, strong roots, and are meticulously packaged to arrive in perfect condition. I highly recommend Forestfarm.com to beginning and highly experienced gardeners alike. And to those hard-to-impress seasoned gardeners, I must say that Forestfarm.com is truly a new adventure in gardening.
I have used this company for 15 years.I have had consistantly good experiences.This time they out did themselves.I ordered three conifers I couldn't find elsewhere.All three beautiful, large and healthy but Blue Shag was huge!This is a great company.
I cannot say enough positive things about this company. I have been ordering from them off and on for over 20 years and have consistently received excellent service and nice, healthy plants. It's a shame that so many people feel compelled only to mention their bad experiences here while only a few give the praise that many companies deserve. Admittedly, I was one of them. But, Forestfarm truly deserves a word of praise for so many years of operation providing reliable, great service and consistently healthy plants. My hat is off to them and I will be ordering from them again this year with anticipation. Thanks Forestfarm for being one of the few reliable "rocks" in the industry. May God continue to bless you and your business.
My first order with Forestfarm and it was positive in every way. The unusual berry plants I ordered (Medlar, Japanese Raisin Tree, PawPaw, & Wintergreen) were very reasonably priced, including shipping. Online ordering was a snap and my healthy, well-packed & labeled plants actually arrived a few days ahead of my expectations. Great service worthy of repeat business.
On Nov 18, 2011, kwajcats Point Roberts, WA wrote:
An INCREDIBLE gardening resource, if FF doesn't carry it it's probably not worth having. The packaging is a force to be reckoned with, I wouldn't want them wrapping my Christmas presents, it would take half a day to open them.
And finally, there is nothing like getting the package open and seeing their label for the first time, your name "in lights" with the plant info on the tag - awesome!
On Oct 18, 2011, qoqonut Mountain View, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
We have ordered from Forestfarm for the past several years and been very happy with their plants and service. The tube-sized plants were a revelation after struggling to dig holes in our hard clay soil for 1 gallon and larger nursery plants. Now I order tubes whenever they're available. Guess what? Within a few years, they are the same size as the plants that started in 1 gallons. Our most recent order (10/11) of drought tolerant perennials, a boulevard cypress, and weigela, came in 3 ft tall boxes that looked like dioramas of the Empire State building. At the bottom of each box was a pull tab, which was a nice idea in theory but not so much in practice. You pull the tab, which "cuts" the box at, say, the 10th floor, so you can flip the other 90+ floors open and get to your tube plants which sit on the first floor. Except what happened was the pull tab broke halfway. So I had to deconstruct the boxes anyway, which is no small task. Forestfarm packs their plants to withstand a 8.0 earthquake. I tried not to hurt the plants as I hacked through the cardboard, reinforced packing tape, and wads of newspaper. The tube-sized plants come in either plastic pots or waxed cardboard sleeves. The ones in cardboard sleeves were also slipped in plastic bags. Each plant was identified with a yellow printed band. Newsprint doubled as packing material and insulation to keep moisture in the soil. And most important, all plants were beautiful and healthy. Forestfarm's website has also improved in the last year - their "cookie" for the shopping cart now has a longer shelf life so that your cart doesn't get erased after 20 minutes. What a pain that used to be, cuz you know it takes longer than 20 minutes to ponder, research, compare prices, and just shop around. Now they need to add a search bar, so that we can look up a plant without having to page through "plant search" and "botanical name" before being able to type in the plant of interest.
I have been ordering from this company for a couple of years now, and cannot recommend them enough. Product quality is excellent, as is customer service (they are the nicest people). I sent in a question once about upcoming conifer availability and got a thorough response within twenty four hours. I am so glad this company exists as they are the only means of obtaining certain trees for folks in my neck of the country. Only negative might be that you need a crowbar to get your trees out of the packaging, but that is the small price of having total confidence that your tree is going to arrive in great shape. Their catalogue is great too; I keep a copy in each bathroom;-)
On Sep 19, 2011, Youngtreegenius Yellow Springs, OH wrote:
Posted on September 19, 2011, updated September 19, 2011
First, shame on you for growing alianthus, tree of heaven.
I am in southern Ohio.
I just received my large order of 14 plants, crabs (Adams, brandywine, snowdrift,) all large five footers except the snowdrift. Also, 2 magnolia janes, 2 mop head hydrangeas, 2 oak leaf hydrangeas, and cotinus obovatus.
All my plants were perfect out of the box, shipped very well with great care, the best I have seen from a shipping nursery. I couldnt be more happy with my purchase. Great stock. Shipped wonderfully.
People on the east coast should know how expensive it is to have these large orders. My order shipped at 215 lbs! It's coming from oregon people, so don't complain on your shipping costs. If u cant afford it go and search your local nurseries for these plants.
Tree of heaven is like a blight here. It rarley reaches 50 years of age and seeds huge areas prolifically. Not a single person should ever ever plant this terribly invasive semi native garbage tree
Thank you all at forest farm! You are the best I have seen
On September 19th, 2011, Youngtreegenius added the following:
ailanthus isn't available from forest farm it's isn't listed on their site....I'm also glad all my large trees are really well staked, I won't have to go buy more large pine stakes and cut them down to size! Thanks
On Aug 8, 2011, sarahbud Maywood, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
Posted on September 10, 2007, updated August 9, 2011
Based on the many positive reviews for Forest Farm, I took the plunge tonight and browsed their web site at length, intending to place an order. What a futile, frustrating experience it was.
1) Their web site is (to put it kindly) sub-standard, with a query engine that’s not even set up for returning a list of “shrubs” but will give you “basket-making” (?!) – and not even the ability to choose your Zone. The plant descriptions and photos are among the poorest I’ve ever run across, and I’ve probably been to 1,000 online nurseries over the years. Google was getting a workout during this time, filling in all the blanks that Forest Farm was neglecting.
2) Shipping costs: I should have paid attention to those of you who complained on this subject. The first gallon on my order would cost $12 to ship by ground; the second gallon I added took the shipping cost up by $16 (!), for a total cost of $28 to ship two plants to me. That’s purely nuts. I removed one of the plants from my order and plowed ahead with the processing……only to find out on the next page that between June 1 and Oct. 1, Forest Farm will only AIR ship to my zip code – to the tune of I don’t remember how much, but it was a lot more than the $28 I’d refused to pay. I cancelled my order. There’s something very wrong with that picture, and I’m not buying it.
I do a lot of shopping online for everything from towels to tulips. This summer alone, I’ve spent several hundred $$ online on landscaping shrubs – coming from all over the U.S. and yes, from Oregon to Chicago, too (none of which, by the way, ever took more than 4 days in ground transit – USPS, UPS, or Fed Ex). There’s quite a bit of variation in shipping costs between different nurseries, but Forest Farm has shot way over the top.
I should have avoided the headache and gotten out of the Forest Farm web site as soon as I saw The Sign: They are actually offering for sale, the tree of heaven/stink tree (Ailanthus), the pestilence that’s changing the face of the U.S. Now that’s unconscionable!
On August 8th, 2011, sarahbud changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
This review is an amendment to the less than positive review of Forestfarm that I filed at Dave’s Garden on September 10, 2007:
I’m happy to say that there have been big changes at Forestfarm in the past few years, and they’ve all been improvements. Their web site has become more intuitively navigable, it’s neater and a more pleasant experience to browse than ever before - and they continue with the effort to include better plant photos and more pertinent plant information.
Based on the hint of better things to come from Forestfarm’s interface with the public, I ordered a Hydrangea anomala petiolaris (Climbing Hydrangea) from them on 7/24/10 – a 5-gallon, 4’ tall plant - for $59 plus $28 shipping. Ray and I communicated regarding shipping time, and since he was concerned about shipping during hot weather, it was decided to hold off sending it until late August. The plant was in transit, then, for a very few days, and an undamaged, good-sized, fresh plant arrived on Aug. 27. We planted it the next day in the ground, in a large bowl of amended soil at the southeast corner of our house - and kept it well-watered until it began to go dormant for the winter (location Chicago). Meanwhile, for the remainder of the growing season there was no sign of new top growth but no sign of stress, either. We were confident that there was plenty of activity going on underground and that the plant was reestablishing itself. After a typical Chicago winter but a protracted, cold spring (2011), the Hydrangea produced new growth starting mid-June, and as of this date (8/9/2011) it remains strong, healthy, and headed towards the roof. I can say now with conviction that this Hydrangea from Forestfarm was raised well, bore its transition to our house in good health, and it will grow and thrive here for the next 50 years or more.
The bottom line: Ray (ergo, Forestfarm) cares about his plants and his customers, fair business practices, and the ideal of filling people’s gardens with healthy, beautiful plants. He appears worthy of our trust and our money, as he exhibits a reluctance to sacrifice good gardening practices for the sake of a quick sale – e.g. on his web site he judges most of his Buddleia varieties to be hardy to Zone 6, or even Zone 7 and 8, which is far closer to the truth than most nurserymen bother with. I have discovered this truth the hard way by losing three Buddleia varieties to Zone 5 winters after believing the fudging techniques that even some of the largest, most respected plant producers employ. What more can you ask of a nurseryman than truth, good ethics, fair pricing, and his vision of thriving gardens?
We live in Northern Ohio and love trees and plants.
I began looking for Columnar Swedish Aspens and
had significant difficulty finding them.
Even on-line I found it difficult to find anyone who would
consider shipping a reasonably sized tree.
Then I stumbled on Forest Farms. They had the Aspens.
Their price was reasonable. I read their reviews at this site
which were overwhelmingly positive. But being a careful shopper
I emailed Forest Farm several questions after placing the order.
The owner Ray personally answered my email within a day or two.
He addressed my concerns, even sent me two photos of the
trees he was sending. He explained how he was shipping them
and that this was being done in an economical manner that
did not jeopardize the trees.
The trees arrived when Forest Farm said they would. They
were packed by individuals that truly cared about the condition
that their plants and trees arrived in. I followed Ray's instructions
to allow the trees to readjust to the sun by leaving them in the
shade of a large oak tree for several days while I prepared their
Ray then emailed me to see how they have arrived and are
This guy and his nursery are terrific. It is like shopping down
the street. He could teach Amazon some things. My two
Swedish Columnar Aspens are settling in just fine, they stand
about 5 feet tall. From Oregon! Now in Ohio. Imagine that...
I ordered several heucheras and heucherellas from Forestfarm.com and it was definitely a good experience! Ray quickly resolved a shipping problem for me and sent me 5 tubes of healthy plants. They were a good size for the price and arrived in hurricane-proof packaging...not a particle of soil out of place.
On Jun 18, 2011, RosemaryK Lexington, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:
I am a fan. I am just a home gardener. I kept amending and changing my order. Then my credit card failed because of a fraud somewhere else. They were proactive and courteous about organizing my order, answering questions, and getting it to me on time. The plants are incredible--amazing variety, value, and vibrantly healthy plants. Even the tubes, although tiny, are leaping with health. They clearly love their misson and their plants.
Good companies get your order right. Great companies provide top-rate service when something goes wrong.
I ordered Parthenocissus tricuspidata but received P. quinquefolia by mistake. Easy enough mistake (same genus) and I ordered early in the season so they shipped before buds formed when the plants are indistinguishable. Within days of receiving the plants they starting putting out the characteristic 5 leaves of P. quinquefolia. Oops!
Forestfarm VERY graciously recognized the error from the photo I sent and replaced the plants. All the plants received are carefully packaged for shipment and quite healthy.
I will not hesitate to order from Forestfarm in the future. Ray and Forestfarm are awesome. VERY happy to give a positive review.
My second dealing with them in as many years. I ordered tube plants from them last year and got exactly what I would have expected, and was very pleased given the cost and professionalism. This year I went ahead and sprung for larger sized trees all Japanese Maples. I was immediately contacted via email to discuss my plans. These are future bonsai projects and my requests were specific and well handled. Every tree I ordered was larger than the expected 1 gallon pot size and 2 -3 feet tall... Three of the five trees I ordered are well over 4 feet with strong branching. Outstanding communication, very personal and personable and I feel like they went out of their way to get me what I want. He was also kind enough to snap a few pictures of some other species he had in at the time that would also fit my hobby. I look forward to future business with them.