It’s really hit and miss with Willis Orchards. You have to be very careful what you order from them. They ship their Fruit trees “Dry Root” They ship in the spring when the trees are dormant, but they do not perform any kind of “Live” test. Both our original Fruit trees and their replacements were dead! Three years wasted when we could have gotten our trees from a more reputable and professional grower.
Online ordering was extremely easy. It took a while for the order to be shipped but it did specifically say online that it would take up to 14 business days. The tree I received was the correct one that I ordered, however, it was in very poor condition. I contacted "willis" by phone and explained the condition of the tree. I also emailed them a couple photos. They sent me images of another tree in far better condition and shipped it out the same day for free
On Apr 22, 2014, Rekrab87 West Valley City, UT wrote:
I placed an order with Willis Orchards at the beginning of March. I was fairly happy with their selection of wine grapes as they had been difficult to find at the time. We ordered a lot of plants from them: 2 wine grape varietals, a hazelnut tree, walnut tree, dwarf peach, 3 raspberries, 1 golden raspberry, 1 kiwi vine, 1 blackberry. Everything seemed to go fairly well, although it did take awhile for our order to get shipped. We assumed it was to better time planting in our zone as other nurseries do the same thing, just with a little more notification. I sent them an email on April 1st inquiring about my order and when we might expect it to ship, but I never got a response. That was a little disconcerting, and that's when I found all of the awful reviews here...
Either way, our plants shipped the following week and arrived as expected. We weren't able to unpack all of them to check our order for a few days. When we did, all of the roots were bundled up together in the same sort of gel aquatic plants are stored and grown in. They were taped up, so it was a little difficult to unpack them. But, everything seemed to be alive and in good shape. Nice root systems on everything except the hazelnut and walnut trees. We expected a little more there, but for the price they were acceptable. They did forget to send us our pinot grigio grape vine. My fiancee called them up and even though we were outside their window for making corrections to the order, they sent us our grape vine free of charge. It's set to arrive this Friday.
I'm leaving the review as neutral due to the lack of online custom service. If you're going to do online sales, you should be a little more responsive to customer emails. But they were pleasant on the phone and the plants are in good shape. We may order from them in the future if they have something we can't find elsewhere.
Ordered two trees from this company and via email notified them that the weather in Az was heating up and if they could ship my plants sooner than what their website stated.
They agreed and sent an estimated shipping date with 3-4 shipping time.
It has now been three weeks and my order has not arrived. It will not arrive for 2-3 more days. Per the shipping company, Willis Orchard did not ship my product to arrive in 3-4 days like their salesperson indicated in her email and neither did they ship my plants early like they stated they would.
When I called them to find out why it was taking so long, they stated that I fell into their "busy" period and kept transferring me from person to person who simply stated they had done their part and i just needed to wait.
If the company had been honest in their emails regarding shipping of my plants and their arrival I feel I would have been able to make a more informed decision as to my order.
They said what they had to say to get my business and then they washed their hands when I called regarding my order.
They had their money and didn't care about conveying accurate information.
I ordered 4 PawPaw trees to be shipped to me in the Fall. I received them mid November after the ground was frozen. I had my professional Gardner come out and install them the same day they arrived. He told me that this time of year that they would not survive, they should have been shipped a month earlier.
He was right, I have 4 dead trees. I sent an email asking for a replacement & they said that I would have to pay shipping & handling charges to get replacements or send the dead ones back at my cost & they would send out replacements.
I asked them how it was my fault that they sent them out to late & they replied that this is their procedure and there is nothing they will do for me.
Its back to Gurneys for me! Their replacement policy rocks and Willis Orchard sucks.
Don't do it, not even for a second, Willis Orchard is a rip off.
I will never shop here again! Sorry I did! Last spring I ordered a pomegranate tree almost $100. Before I put in the order I read reviews of the company and as you can see here - they are mostly bad. Not using my best judgment I ignored them and put the order in. Big mistake! The tree came completely dead. I called right away and the lady on the phone told me to give it some time. So I did. It never budded at all. So I called back in May and I was told again to give it some time. Still never budded and not one leaf! I did a scratch test in different spots and the tree was not green. Dead! Just like I told her! I called back to get a replacement and was told that they do not ship trees over the summer and to call back next season and they would send a new one. I called March which is the beginning of our planting season. I was told that I would need to pay for the shipping of the new tree. Why should I do that?! I already paid for the shipping A YEAR AGO and this company sent a dead tree! I am only located a few hours away as we are in the same state so I don't believe that it died in shipping. It was dead when they sent it. Horrible customer service and dead plants - taking my business someplace else and working on disputing this on my credit card as they NEVER sent me a live tree.
I order 7 trees, (2x20th century Asians, plum, apple,and persimmon plus 2 walnuts) they arrived very quickly. I must say I was dissapointed when I saw the box and felt how light it was but I got what I ordered and now 2 weeks after planting all seem to be doing very well. Thank You Willis Orchard!
I have read both good and bad and honestly was expecting something to go wrong but so far I'm very happy and will order again.
Don't let the package fool you, they have some sort of jelly around the roots to keep them moist and it is packaged tightly with all the roots together. Anyways it worked.
On Feb 11, 2014, mscratch Millersville, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:
Received the Garden Annie Dwarf Apricot tree
this morning from Willis Orchards. Beautifully packaged. Immediately removed it from the box and checked it over. Height is the size I ordered and no problem with broken limbs. Appears very healthy with nice root ball. Very pleased with this order.
Posted on February 5, 2014, updated February 6, 2014
I ordered 3 yr old plants and got twigs. They didn't make it and I was promised replacements in the Fall. They didn't come and when I inquired they said I'd have to dig them up and send them back or take pictures and pay shipping. Even though I'm out $50 it wasn't worth it to deal with them any more.
On February 6th, 2014, AEgarden changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I'm changing this from negative to neutral since the company has now said they will ship more plants.
You get what you pay for. If you send a message saying your plants died, you have not in fact requested the warranty replacement. At least this was my experience. Notification apparently does not equal a request. It was a small order and a 100% loss. I requested a later shipment, but got the bare root stock months before the ground thawed. I tried to nurse them, but they all died.
So, given the number of negative posts, it appears as if doing business with Willis is a crap shoot. Some posters are happy, most are not. I'll go back to buying locally. YMMV
Over the last 12 years I've ordered trees from several large nurseries and never been satisfied with what I've received. I've spent years raising some tree shipments only to find they weren't what I ordered. Things like bartlet pears that turned out to be bradford pears after eight years. Trees that arrived dead or died soon after sprouting. Two years ago I ordered trees from Willis and with the exception of two small trees that I new weren't adapted to my area all have flourished, more than doubling in size in two years. After reading their return policy I didn't bother about the two trees that didn't make it but the other trees I received were much better than those I have purchased elsewhere.
There are a few things worth pointing out about this company.
First, they are incredibly nice when you initially deal with them. However, in business, things go wrong all the time. I think it is how you deal with those things that really matter. There is no question they made a mistake when I witnessed these folks talking with a family member of mine. However, they quickly became irate and very nasty in their discussions when the family member was trying to reason with them.
The second thing made obvious is that I was amazed (with attitudes like that) at how reasonably positive the customer reviews have been on their website. It contradicts the tone found on Dave's Garden reviews. I learned how this is possible. I posted a negative review on that website, and The Willis management challenged my review. To have the negative review posted, then I would have needed to fax a receipt to show I am a customer. If you didn't save documentation or if their attitudes caused such distaste that you didn't make a purchase, then you likely would be prevented from making a negative post. That seems pretty convenient. I wonder how many receipts might be required if someone wanted to ever improve their own score and write their own positive reviews of themselves?
On Dec 22, 2013, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
"On Dec 26, 2013 12:22 PM, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
I asked every rep here to read this and give any feedback as to what this is about. We are perplexed as to what this post is referring too.
They did try to make a post on Customer Lobby that basically accused of being rude, nasty people. However when I used the name and email given in the post and checked it with our customer database, there was no match. So I did challenge the review and it was removed, as they we not an actual customer of ours. Also the post did not speak specifically to an event or critic a product or service. It just blasted us personally as being awful people. It's to bad DG doesn't have any kind of safe guards to ensure the posts are actually qualified reviewers. If it did, many of the negatives here would be gone. It would eliminate false posts by non-customers or competitors.
I really wish I knew DMBerry and what this post is about so that I could better respond and attempt to make things right with them.
Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone and I wish you blessed new year."
On Dec 16, 2013, GeneDaniels Gravel Ridge, AR wrote:
This is the third time I have ordered from Willis Orchard company. I have been very pleased with the plants received. When I received my latest order I realized that two of the blackberry plants were not the 3-year old plants like I had ordered. I exchanged a few emails and pictures with the staff and they quickly resolved the matter by sending me the correct plants.
Everyone makes small mistakes from time to time, but a truly good company makes their mistakes right - and that is exactly what Willis Orchard company did. Good healthy plants and honest business practice - great company!
Christmas is upcoming, and I called Willis to schedule an appointment to pick up some plants. These plants were to be gifts for my young son who has a passion for gardening and farming. I had asked to make the appointment for this coming Saturday (called on Tuesday or Wednesday). According to their website, this is an option for orders over $200.
A very polite lady named Cynthia told me an appointment wasn't necessary. I live an hour away, and she told me to call ahead and place my order on Saturday before leaving to go to their nursery.
When I called them as requested, this nice lady wasn't as pleasant this time. She told me that picking up today is not an option. She told me I should probably get my son a gift card and pick up the plants after Christmas (out of town later and a later delivery is not an option). Very simply, this is my son's "big gift," and a gift card can't be a youngsters big gift under the tree. As opposed to what she told me earlier, Cynthia said I should have given her 24 hours notice. Of course, I would have been happy to do that if that had been her earlier instruction.
Obviously, these guys hold the cards, and there isn't much I can do. However, most nursery people are good folks and real "Mother Earth" type people. These folks (talked with 2 different people) were quite indifferent about my situation.
Trust me, go to Ellijay... The folks I have worked with in Ellijay are good "salt of the earth" and "hands in the dirt" type of kind people. I hope my comments will help others avoid the same problem with Willis.
Also, it is very interesting that Willis has such a poor rating on this website. However, the reviews they post on their website are all so positive. I posted my negative review on that site as well. It will be interesting to see if it is displayed.
On Dec 14, 2013, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
"On Dec 16, 2013 10:17 AM, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
Normally to call ahead in the morning and pick-up a couple hours later would be fine. However, on this particular Saturday, it was raining cats and dogs so we let our outside crew off for the day prior to receiving his call. Christmas is still a week and a half away so he could have decided to come another day when the weather wasn't so bad. We're sorry he doesn't understand our position and is angry at us."
On Dec 12, 2013, dogdoc01 Oklahoma City, OK wrote:
Made a small order of bare root trees. Three apples, one crabapple, and one pear tree. All trees arrived in great shape. The roots were packed with moist clay/mud and some type of gel balls and in excellent shape. I was actually surprised at how well the roots looked and the amount of roots on the trees.t The trees were the size advertised and a few even larger. Will definitely order from Willis Orchard again!! Highly recommend.
I made an order from this company becuase they had a great price and an awesome selection.
I went into my order knowing that I was not going to get a nice tree like you can get at the big box stores on every corner. I had experience from Arbor Day and their little twigs and I was hoping that thats not what I was getting. I guess I was hoping for something in between. I called them a few weeks after I placed my order and they answered imediately. Answered all my questionbs about what trees they were waiting on and assured me within the week they should be shipped.
The big day finally came and I saw from the tracking number that I got my trees. I rushed home and there was a HUGE box waiting. I excitedly opened the box and there were the best looking bare root trees I had ever seen. Well bare root is an understatement. they still had dirt around the roots unlike arbor day with no sign of any dirt. The trees were awesome and well pruned for the next growing season. I can't wait for this spring so I can see how well they flourish.
By the way I ordered a peach, nectarine, two blueberry bushes, and a kiwi. The Blueberries were still green with two feet long branches and the Kiwi had numerious two to three feet vines.
I found the staff at Willis Orchard friendly and easy to work with. There was an issue that came up regarding my order and it was resolved to my satisfaction. Because of their willingness to work with me this time, I plan to return in the future.
I have to admit, i was a little concerned about this company because i was paying extra for larger trees, and there were some negative comments. However to my delight, the trees came as promised, fruited the first year as promised, and grew really well. We had an exceptional growing year, but trees were as promised and healthy. I have no concern about purchasing from this company in the future. I used to by cheap small trees when i was younger, now i by older, larger trees that i am older.
Willis was good by me and i am not an easy to make happy.
On Oct 3, 2013, Neworchardowner Pulaski, TN wrote:
I ordered nut and fruit trees and grape vines from two separate Georgia orchard companies last fall. Several trees from one supplier never leafed out and were apparently dead when I received them. The other company was Willis Orchard Company. The trees I received from Willis arrived packed well and were healthy. Since planting, all my trees from Willis Orchard are doing great and I anticipate my first small harvest of apples next year. I just ordered additional nut and cherry trees from Willis to be shipped during the coming season. I am pleased with their products and customer service.
In the spring of 2013 I ordered an apricot, a blueberry, and three muscadine vines from Willis Orchards. The plants arrived promptly, packed with gel. I planted the apricot and the blueberry, but ended up leaving the muscadines on my back porch in a bucket of water for a week. I thought one of the muscadines had died, but three weeks after the other two had sprouted leaves, the third did as well. All of the plants are healthy and thriving, and survived the Texas summer (not an easy feat). I plan on placing another order with them this fall.
I was nervous about placing that second order after reading all of the reviews on here, and other forums, but the issue seems a lot more complicated than just some unsatisfied customers. In 2012, Willis' business partner was arrested for embezzling over $40,000 from the company. Also, the infamous TyTy Nursery is located near Willis. TyTy has a reputation for poor service, launching negative review campaigns, has over 40 false names for its business.
It is very hard to know what to believe and not believe. I'm sure some of the reviews here, both negative and positive, are legitimate. I've had a good personal experience, and will continue to do business with Willis until I have a poor one.
would like to submit a complain regarding Willis Orchard company.
I had to cancel my order and they insisted I still pay 10%. I cancelled the order b/c it would not arrive in time.
-At no time did they inform it the order wouldnt ship for weeks.
-They stated I had to cancel the order within 24hrs. They were closed for a week. there was no way for me to contact them within 24hrs. and when I did finally get a hold of them (a week later) then and only then did I realize they wouldn't ship my order in any normal time frame.
-never the less they told me it was my error and insisted on making some money off of me for something I never purchaced
In January 2013 I ordered six wine grape vines from Willis Orchards. I live in Kentucky and assumed they would be shipped to me at the proper planting time. Instead they arrived in mid-February when the ground was frozen and there was three inches of snow. A representative casually instructed me to put the bare root vines in a bucket filled with potting soil and leave them in my garage. (Just what I wanted in my garage for a month and a half, a half dozen grape vines waiting to be planted!) I planted them in late March. Five of the six have done quite well, but the sixth is dead. I contacted Jay at Willis Orchards. He told me he would give me credit toward another vine but I would have to pay shipping (which would cost more than the vine itself, plus he would charge me $1 to use my credit card to pay for shipping to replace a vine that quite possibly died because Willis shipped the vines about six weeks too early. Willis is a very amateurish business. They are not people-friendly and do not stand behind their product.
I had placed a order on 3-20-13 with Willis Orchards consisting of 20 assorted fruit trees/vines before i had found the reviews on Daves Garden. I thought to myself i am in trouble now!,but everything went like clockwork and the order arrived soon after. Everything was packed well in the gel and shipping price was reasonable. I had dug 18" holes in the center of 5'x5' tilled beds before the tree's arrived. I took them out of the gel packing and put them in a water bucket for around 45 mins. as I planted them.
I mounded the beds in the center , added a raised border of dirt around the beds and backfilled the holes to get all the trees at proper depth, and watered them in well. The only thing i added was a shovel of fully composted cow manure and azomite rock dust to each hole and used the original dirt from the holes.
I set up drip irrigation to all of the trees and mulched the beds with wood chips. The mulch works wonders and keeps the bed moist for a long time so they dont need water as often as without mulch.
To date all the tree's have leaved out just fine and look very healthy. The apples actually bloomed but a freak late frost came and they made no fruit. the eastern pawpaw was the last tree i was waiting on to bud and it took the longest but has nice leaves now.
one of the redbuds also took a bit of time,but it too has leaved out(its later than the other redbud tree i ordered i guess).
All others(cherrys,plums,nectarine,elderberry,etc are thick with leaves
My grapes have done well so far and are staring to vine.
there is even a bunch of tiny grapes on one vine so far.
the blackberry is doing well and is just now starting to vine.
The raspberries are another story, soon after i got them i noticed something boring into the top stalk and i trimmed it off about 2" to find some black fly type bug. i got rid of the wood i cut off and all seems fine now.
The raspberries have not shown any signs of life but the scratch test shows some green on the stalks still,so i have to assume that they are late to grow here- i don't have have any experience with raspberries here so this may be normal,especially with the odd weather we have had.
i will keep my eye on them and try and report back. I think they will be fine.
I ordered 2 Pindo Palms, and a Banana Plant from Willis Orchard. All three arrived in one box, and were very neatly packaged. The plants were very healthy looking, and were in great condition. My order was processed and shipped within two days. I am very pleased with the product and the service that I received. I will be ordering more tropical plants from Willis Orchard.
After reading the comments here and on another site, I was thinking twice about ordering from Willis. However, they had many of the trees that I was looking for that other orchards did not have. So, I called them first to let them know my concerns and the review I've seen and the guy made a very good point. People are 10x more likely to voice bad experiences than good. There are many people out there with good experiences that don't go around posting it on every site. Which is true. I bought, 3 grape vines, kiwi vine, golden delicious apple tree, asian pear tree, 2 paw paw trees, Quince tree, walnut tree, 4 blueberry bushes & 2 elderberry bushes. When the plants arrived all looked to be relatively healthy and the correct item. Out of all those items I have only 3 that I think may not be doing so good. Not sure if it's the plant itself, but I don't claim to be an expert so it could also be error on my part. I have not called them yet, as it's still early spring and I want to see if they are just late bloomers. My experience with them so far, has been good.
On Apr 30, 2013, Chrissy099 Burleson, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:
I purchased a Natchez Crepe Myrtle and French Pussy Willow from Willis Orchards on March 4th of 2012. I planted them straight away after receiving. After a couple of months it was very obvious these were both dead. After a series of emails that at first seemed to be helpful, I received a very rude (I felt) one from someone named "Jay Young".
I never replied to this email from him... he apparently did not seem to care that Chrissy is not "MR" Edwards. I did not "choose" to email them pictures of the dead items, I asked if I "could" take photos of the dead items. Prior to Jays email, Austin said Yes I COULD email pictures of the dead trees. Needless to say they have MY money. I donated to their fund and called myself stupid for ever ordering from them in the first place. I am not mailing them another cent. I payed $77.40 for these two dead items including shipping. And they want me to mail them MORE money?
My loss. Please beware.
To follow is the actual emails as sent with only my full name, email address and full order number removed. These have not been altered in any other way.
From: Jay Young
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2012 9:28 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: Willis Orchard's Order number 10094630XXXXX
Since you have chosen to send me pictures as opposed to the dead plants, you are responsible for the $17.50 packaging and handling fee. Please send payment via check made payable to "Jason Willis" and I will process your replacement order.
On Thu, Sep 27, 2012 at 8:13 AM, Cynthia wrote:
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Fw: Willis Orchard's Order number 10094630xxxx
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2012 16:16:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: Chris and Jerry mailto:chrissy099
Reply-To: Chris mailto:chrissy099
To: email@example.com mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
I attempted to email "Austin" and the email was returned to me. I am emailing the pictures if someone could get back to me about this I would appreciate it. I have been emailing since approx May with not much luck.
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Chris and Jerry mailto:chrissy099
To: Austin Willis mailto:email@example.com
Sent: Sunday, September 23, 2012 2:18 PM
Subject: Willis Orchard's Order number 10094630xxxx
Hello again and thank you
I have taken the pictures of the two items that are dead...and they arrived exactly as you see in the photo. They have not ever gotten a bud on them. I kept hoping and praying tho. Thought maybe they were in shock but was pretty convinced they were dead.
Please let me know if you need me to send you anything further...
From: Austin Willis mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 2:40 PM
Subject: Willis Orchard's
I apologize for the situation, But yes pictures would be great if you could email them to me. Also your zip code would be great as well. The tree's should be replaced in the fall during the month of November.
On Apr 22, 2013, scleghorn Copperas Cove, TX wrote:
Posted on April 15, 2013, updated April 22, 2013
I placed an order earlier this week for one item to ship immediately and two that were to ship in the fall. My account was immediately debited for the entire amount (which I'm fine with, but just so you know). The following business day a company rep contacted me and told me that if I wanted my "immediate shipping" item to be shipped immediately I would have to pay an additional shipping fee- or else wait until the fall to get my entire order. I said that it would have been nice to mention the additional fee when I was checking out using their website, and to cancel my order. The company rep them told me they would refund me minus a 10% restocking fee, which is interesting since they shouldn't have to restock an order they hadn't pulled, and the entire incident wouldn't have happened if they'd simply been honest about the actual shipping they charge.
On April 22nd, 2013, scleghorn added the following:
Shortly after I posted this review I was contacted by a company representative who told me that they had the plants I ordered in stock and would mail them all out together for no additional shipping. My order was shipped quickly and arrived in good condition, but when it arrived I noticed that they had mislabeled one of the plants. I was supposed to receive a grape and a blackberry, but the plant labeled "blackberry" looked exactly like the grape and even had climbing tendrils. I called again, and was immediately told that the plants were "dormant" and might be hard to tell apart. I explained that the plants were, in fact, already in leaf and I had enough gardening experience to tell them apart. After another phone call, a couple emails, and sending them some digital pictures of the plants in question they admitted that it was mislabeled and said they would refund me the cost of the blackberry. Good gracious.
Plants came with washed rootballs, all bundled together with sodium poyacrylate gel and a bit of rotted pine bark potting soil wrapped in black plastic. Not much to look at, but that's how they keep down shipping, I'm sure, and the plants seem to be in decent shape after being potted up. Overall, if you can find the specific variety you are looking for at a local place, you are probably better off going there, but if you are looking for less common varieties and willing to nurture small plants along, Willis has alright prices for small plants and a pretty wide selection of edible plants and some ornamental trees. Be careful on trusting their range maps - they are just the USDA zone maps, and don't really take local conditions into account (i.e. their Zone 8/9 cherries might do fine in California, but probably wouldn't produce in the humid Southeast).
I ordered five fruit trees Feb 9 (Pippin Apple, Green Gage Plum, Elephant Heart Plum, Hachiya Persimmon, and a Fuyu Persimmon). The trees shipped early March which is appropriate for my area (northern Indiana). The trees I received were in perfect shape, very healthy, good color, and the exact size I ordered. I planted them two weeks later (due to bad weather) and now they are budding, flowering, with leaves started to appear on all the branches. I will absolutely buy from them again.
Posted on April 15, 2013, updated April 17, 2013
Unfortunately I'm worried. I do not know if they are a broker... I didn't think so by the catalog on line. 3/31/13 ordered $666.20. 6 large plants. Invoice on Net/do not reply, e-mail orders. OK Money snatched out of account. 2 E-Mails latter have not heard back from them. If you have a mail order business you should have good customer contact. Beware I think they are a broker ! Will put note to shipper to require signature. Not Happy !!!
On April 17th, 2013, yodafannie changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
they are not at address listed. They are in Cartersville Georgia. They are bare-root shippers. The web site is deceiving, Beware! and they represent themselves as having large plant material. The photos are deceptive because you will receive a dormant plant. Their on line communication on e-mail is non-existent. As I researched the Co. Further I decided to cancel my order after speaking with one of the owners. I hopefully have my money refunded within 5 business days. Minus the cancellation fees. I will post on the result.
Over the winter months I ordered three pond cypress trees from Willis Orchard and they arrived with full branches and lots of roots. I ordered a fourth eight footer pond cypress and Jason called to let me know they where out of eight foot trees and would I settle for a six to seven foot and he would refund the difference. I accepted he refunded my money and to my surprise sent two six foot nice looking pond cypress trees. They have all leafed out and are absolutely gorgeous.
Posted on March 28, 2013, updated March 28, 2013
I've used Willis Orchards for many purchases: Fruit Trees, fruit bushes, strawberry plants, but mostly their trees.
In the past I've tried Gurney's trees and never had much luck. With Willis the first year I ordered 5 of their cheapest root stock of the "Red Baron" peach. I received them in the fall, planted them and in the spring only two survived. Not a good return on investment, but I REALLY wanted those peaches. The following year I bought 5 Comice Pear, and 5 additional Red baron trees but all of older root stock, maybe $38 per tree vice $18 per tree. I got those trees fall of 2011 and they did great. 10 for 10 so far.
When I first opened the boxes that I got from Willis I noticed how well they were packaged, how healthy and viable the roots are (unbelievable roots on the blueberry bushes), and the material they use to ship. The use a water absorbing gel and triple wrap that in plastic and tape, non of the plants I've ordered have ever showed up with dry roots. Mostly though, there trees are pruned to ship, but they still look like trees. They still have multiple branches, and just LOOK healthy.
The lesson I think I learned is the old one: You get what you pay for. You go cheap and get the youngest most fragile trees, the survival rate is going to be low. Spend the extra money and get the better, older, and stronger trees you won't go wrong.
I've read the reviews, and decided to try another company for my cultivar pear trees. I wasn't impressed. I bought their high end tree not their cheapest, it came in the roots are packed in wet newspaper inside a plastic bag, and it doesn't even look like a tree, it looks like I've planted 3 sticks in my yard. I was hoping I would get trees that would bloom this season to pollinate the Comice Pears, but I don't think there is a chance of that happening. I think I'll have to go back to Willis and order a couple of their 6 or 7 foot trees to get any blooms this year.
On March 28th, 2013, itsbob added the following:
So that was the trees (oh, and the Comice Pear is the Harry and David Pear)..
I've bought blueberries and raspberries from both local nurseries, and Willis. The selection locally is pretty slim, you buy one of the two varieties they have or you go without. I think, at the time, Willis had 8 or 10 different blueberry varieties and about the same if not more for the raspberry. I've planted 24 raspberry bushes, maybe 18 from Willis, and by far there's are doing great. Had berries the first year I had them in the ground, and they spread out and have new bushes coming up all around.
Blueberries, again when I opened the box, just GREAT looking bushes. Roots were amazing. I think I'm up to 15 of their blueberry bushes, and maybe 3 local bushes.
What I like the most is the variety. Blueberries I think I have 4 different varieties, and the rasberry probably 3 different. I'm TRYING to get the right mix so one plant is getting harvested, while the others haven't ripened yet.
Last summer, my then 6 year old would get home from school and head right to the raspberry bushes to get his fill.. we ran out of blueberries too quickly, but we're working on fixing that.
I wasn't real happy with Willis after I ordered the first lot of trees, but I'm real happy I went back to them. Have not been disappointed since.
Now I have to add some apple trees to my "orchard".
On Mar 17, 2013, CFLGardener Kenansville, FL wrote:
I had already placed my order of trees before checking Garden Watchdog, which immediately after was a big red alert. I thought "Oh No! I have just given these people close to $400 for trees that are going to be totally dead". I placed the order in September I think, and once I read some comments on here, I called the company (I had ordered two mission olive trees, and 2 medjool date palms among other trees). I asked that those two trees be shipped before winter if possible so that they would have time to take root before the winter set in (never know with Central FL which type of winter we will have). Charged a little additional shipping, which was fine, and the trees arrived in no time, beautiful, and nicely packed. Planted and they are still going strong even after a few frosts this winter. Much to my surprise, however, I received the rest of my order (which I thought I would get in the spring) about a week before Christmas, which was one of the coldest weeks we had here this winter. I was appalled that they had shipped it, since Moultrie isn't too far from where we live (we often go up to the ag expo in October). Although I was a little upset at first, I quickly decided that it wasn't too bad, since a couple of the muscadine vines I had planned to give as a Christmas gift (and they are all budding out right now). I put the things inside that I knew might not be okay outside as a transplant. Other than that all is well. Ordered a total of 12 trees/vines/berry bushes (I think) from them, and all my trees are growing, budded and have fruits forming on some of the older ones. None arrived with dry roots, and were all packaged fine. When I had called them in the fall, they were fine on the phone, and very helpful, I even emailed them after the plants arrived to thank them for the beautiful trees. I would probably order from them again. Have no complaints, they even sent two more palms and olive trees (although the palms were way smaller than the first they sent, but I think they might not have realized they sent the others in the fall).
On Mar 5, 2013, pocketwatches Beaverton, OR wrote:
ordered 8 trees. They all showed up in about a week. I liked that the roots were packed in jellies. There were still wet when they got to me. All the trees were the correct side. All but one had good roots. One was a little smaller than i would have liked. For the price i dont think i could ask for more.
On Feb 19, 2013, courtneylassite Socastee, SC wrote:
In January of 2012 while in Valdosta Ga visiting relatives I went to Willis Orchards Nursery in Berlin, Ga near Moultrie to purchase some bamboo. Upon arriving I was greeted by Garrett and shown the different types of bamboo they had to offer. We chose Moso, Timber, Black, and Blue henon but the clumps had to be dug and shipped which was ok with me. Mr. Garrett took my name and address and said to expect delivery within 5-7 days. My order total was over $600 but I only had hundred dollar bills and since the owner was away Garrett could not make change for 700 and said 600 was fine- no tax since it was a cash sale. Happy that I got a cash discount I left and eagerly awaited delivery. Roughly a week passed and I had not received my plants so I started calling Willis only to Find out they had no record of my order. They asked for a copy of my receipt which did not have since Garrett needed it for shipping. After numerous, UN-returned phone calls to the owner, Joy finally got my order shipped but when it arrived it was not as described to me and looked nothing like what I saw growing when I was in Berlin. Reluctantly, I planted the 14 clumps of dirt and by no surprise to me only 3 of the clumps ever sprouted. Knowing what a pain it had been to get the order shipped I decided to return the dead plants in person the next time I went to visit relatives in Valdosta- Again after the way I was treated last year it was no surprise to me when I arrived in Berlin to find a closed and abandoned nursery. I called the local nursery number 2293243045 and surprisingly someone answered. Apparently they had moved. I asked where and to my amazement they were in Euharlee, Ga, near Cartersville, Ga. Wondering if I was being jerked around I went to the sheriffs office to see if they had been run out of town and they were very little help but a deputy sheriff said the Colquitt county tax accessor told him that Jason Willis had moved his Willis Orchards Nursery to Euharlee ga. Does anyone have any insight about this Nursery or why they moved? I bet they had too many complaints if they treat all their customers like they treated me and after reading on the internet about Mr. Adkins forging checks at Willis Orchards I think he pocketed my money and the only reason I got plants was because he was afraid of getting caught. I do not want anything else from this company and have since replaced my bamboo with some from a reputable daves garden recommended nursery. I am writing this to save other gardeners from being fleeced by Willis Orchards.
Bought about 600 worth of plants from them. One year later with good care only a handfull are still alive. My rural king trees are doing better than anything I bought from them. I received horrible looking plants in shabby packaging. You could tell they did not care for their customers. WILL NEVER EVER BUY FROM THEM AGAIN.
Bought some Reliance peach trees (1000 chill hours) in March of 2010 in hopes of beating the late frosts we get in my area. They produced first last year and I blamed it on an early spring. February 6 this year they are already in pink bud. I called Willis. Seems as though their Reliance trees have a lower chill hour requirement than anyone else's in the world and ripen in June. Could be I really am as dumb as I look. I was in March of 2010 but not this week.
I would like to very HIGHLY recommend Willis Orchard Company for any interested customers. For many years now I have been purchasing fruit and nut trees, grape vines, berry bushes, etc. Of all of the on line companies I have dealt with, Willis Orchard Company has always proven to be the most dependable and willing to work with me. They always have great products and are friendly, helpful, and accommodating depend upon the customer's needs. Other companies have brushed me off in the past, but not Willis Orchard Company. They have very helpful and easy to read and understand maps showing what zones are appropriate for each item, which really helps take out the guess work in determining what is safe for your zone. They are also the only such company I am aware of that offers Mycorrhizal Fungi which really does make a difference in root growth.