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I ordered a three year old "Duke" blueberry plant this spring. It arrived with three long canes, one of which stands on its own, two of which are laying in the grass. There were two other small sticks that never blossomed, I removed them this past weekend. One of the canes laying down had roots growing out about halfway up the branch where it had laid in the field in an attempt to root itself. The only leaf growth is limited to the top 6 inches of each willowy branch. So far there has been no new shoots of growth, only budding leaves. There are exactly 8 blueberries on two different clumps. I planted 3 other small plants purchased from other online sources and a big box retailer- all three are covered in new growth shoots and leaves and maturing berries. I did email my dissatisfaction to the Waters farm and was asked to send pics. Rather than get involved in that I chalked it up to a lesson learned. I plan on trimming it down to the ground and hoping it comes back in bush form. This was my experience.
On Jun 3, 2010, Waters Blueberry Farm responded with:
I bought 6 4-5' blueberry bushes from Waters Blueberry farm about 1.5 months ago. When they arrived, It was basically just long stems with very little root and very few leaves. The leaves were showing winter colors although it was spring and some of the tips of the plants were dying off blackening upon receipt. I contacted them, send them photos and they said it is just because it is colder where they are located and I must wait.
Unfortunately, a month and more went by and they are just dying back now with up to 2' black stems.
I called again and was told to speak to Matt. As I called Matt, he was extremely defensive and argumentative getting rude trying to talk over me with Sir..sir...sir etc whenever I wanted to say something which he seemingly did not want to hear. I made it clear to Matt that I am not looking for money back, and that I just want to get this resolved. He then blamed the soil I used which was Miracle Grow for acid loving plants such as blueberries.
He now blames all on this, never mind that I also bought blueberry bushes from SEARS Warrenton VA at less the Waters price, planted it the same way and I have a bumper crop of blueberries already.
Matt seemingly terminated the call as the phone went dead and trying to reach him again there was only voicemail and no callback showing the cut line was probably intentional.
Since I did not ask for money back, the reader can make up his mind about where to buy from. e.g. SEARS or local nurseries with proper root balls which grows happily in the same miracle grow soil or Waters Farm, where in my opinion plants die back from the day you plant them due to too small root systems and generally very weak plants.
I wrote this after trying to resolve the issue with Waters Blueberry Farms.
The webpage did look nice and trustworthy.
On Jun 3, 2010, Waters Blueberry Farm responded with:
I am sorry for your bad experience with our blueberry farm. I did personally take your phone call today and listened to your concerns.
As our warranty clearly states, you need to follow our specific growing and planting recipe so your blueberry plants thrive. We have over 15,000 customers growing our blueberry plants all over the nation. The ingredients for this recipe are found at Lowe's or Walmart type stores all throughout the nation.
You did not use the soil we grow our plants in and recommend. This specific soil has the correct acidity. This specific soil is clearly stated on our growing and planting instructions in bold black lettering. Your failure to use this specific soil is the reason your plants are performing poorly.
I apologize that our cell phone call was lost.
I am disheartened to read your hurtful comments. Our family farm happens to grow and sell high quality blueberry plants only because our primary focus is to be honest and Christ-like.
Posted on May 4, 2010, updated May 19, 2010
My experience with Matt Waters Blueberry Farm was very negative. I purchased nearly $5,000 worth of 5yr old blueberry plants from Matt back last October. THEY WERE INFECTED WITH AMBROSIA BETTLE. I took a sample to the U.K. research center and they identified the pest. They also said they had to be infected when I purchased the plants because they over winter in the branches and emerge in the Spring. Matt was not willing to even listen to my problem. He was in no way hepful. STAY AWAY FROM WATERS BLUEBERRY FARM!
On May 19th, 2010, johnberry added the following:
Matt, the U.K. Research Center fndings will be mailed to you today. The plants I bought from you are being destroyed due to the insect infestation. I have 4,000 blueberry plants in containers and another 1,000 in the ground. The 100 plants I bought from you are the Only ones that have the beetles. Do the math! I will gladly take a refund check and you can come get your infested plants.On May 19, 2010, Waters Blueberry Farm responded with:
I did personally take your phone call last week. I am sorry for your negative experience. I asked that you send me a copy of the University findings on a University letterhead. Ambrosia beetle is typically found in dense hardwood forests. Our farm is in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service. I personally delivered your blueberry plants in our company truck to your nursery in rural Kentucky. The blueberry plants you purchased produced berries several months before delivery. We have all of our blueberry plants State Inspected in the spring and fall every year. We have never had any reports from State Inspectors or any of our 15,000 customers of any ambrosia beetle.
Please send us your university findings.
We apologize for this inconvenience.
Thanks you for your time.
Although the owner does p/u the phone, the 3 plants I got had relatively tiny root balls. I also bought 3 potted blueberry plants from a local nursery for half the price with much bigger root balls. I had to stake two of Waters' plants to keep them upright. The owner later claimed they all have small root balls. I cared for all the plants the same, followed all instructions and two of the three from Waters' died whereas all the locally sold ones are thriving. It was maybe two-three months from delivery date hat I asked Waters' for a replacement and it was denied. He said maybe if I'd kept in closer touch letting him know of the plants' decline he may have helped, which made no sense to me. They died very quickly (within 10 days). Meanwhile the local nursery (Outdoor specialties in Watkinsville, GA) has treated me like gold (I bought several others from them since).
On Aug 10, 2009, Waters Blueberry Farm responded with:
We are sorry for your bad experience with our family farm. As we grow and sell just blueberry plants, we focus our time on providing excellent customer service. We rely on timely communications of our many thousand customers in regards to warranty concerns.
We have a very simple warranty.
"If notified within 30 days of delivery that your plant died, and you followed our enclosed written and verbal instructions, we will replace that plant. We do not refund money. We are available by phone or email for the life of your blueberry plant to answer questions."
Since you waited beyond 30 days to notify us of your plants death, we asked you for a digital picture of your blueberry plants to verify.
We are still waiting for a digital picture or polaroid of your plants as we politely asked of you via email.
After we have a picture, and verify if you followed our growing instructions, we can proceed with a replacement deal.
Thank you for this rebuttal.
Matt Waters, President
Waters Blueberry Farm"